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Daily Wire Tip Jan. 24: Tumbling Lapis and Other Natural Stones
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
January 24, 2011
I put a lapis lazuli pendant in a rotary tumbler to harden the wire, and when I took it out, the lapis had faded. How do you know what kind of stones to put in a tumbler?
-Wanda in Lexington, Kentucky
Unfortunately Wanda, it sounds like you have either a dyed "other stone" cab or a dye enhanced/treated lapis cab, as true lapis will not "fade" in a tumbler or in any other situation short of lying in direct sunlight for many years.
Although a lot of people use a tumbler to give their wire jewelry pieces a final polish or to harden soft wire settings, I have been tumbling rocks for many, many years therefore I have never, ever, put a finished jewelry item into a tumbler! (Personal preference only.)
W-S Faculty member Mary W. Bailey interviewed several jewelry artists and wrote a great article about using a tumbler with jewelry, Tumbling Your Jewelry, and we have had some good discussions about using tumblers such as: Tumbling Finished Jewelry and Tumbling – It’s a Toss-up! that include readers’ comments about tumbling different materials.
Basically, using a tumbler on soft, porous or dyed stones is not recommended, but if you were sold an item that was misrepresented, you have no way of knowing whether or not it will tumble well except by experimenting.
Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong
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