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Gemstone Equipment For Polishing .

Gemstone Equipment For Polishing Gemstone.

How to get started. How to Polish gemstone. What Gemstone Equipment do I need.

The stone  from the picture above. Where we live there is a lot of different coloured Amethyst.

This stone has been Cut, Cab and  Polished at our local club. Buy Now

Pretty Stones.

When you buy Jewellery, is it the gold/silver or the gemstone/stones that catches your eye.

Understand about Gemstones/Rocks.

How do they make it so shinny.

Learn how  to do some thing to a gemstone/rock,  cut it into two pieces, like make a different shape , polish it. and yes make Jewellery also.


Rocks/ Stones some are very hard, and some are very soft. Some stones show a pretty colour a first site, some do not show there true colours until  you either cut or polish them

My First Fossicking Trip.

The first place I  went to, fossicking,  looking for gemstones was Opalton. I came  home with all these stones, and a lot of them had lots of  pretty colours in them. The out side stone was a sandstone, dusty and muddy . The first Machine I used was  a Dremel , to sand an clean  the out side rock, so I could see the colours and shape the rock. Now I have a better machine.

Opal Found at Opalton. Qld.

When you start out looking at How to Polish Gemstones.

Want to do something to that Crystal/Stone/Rock you found.

At first you would like to get the dirt out and clean it up. Some people use chemicals, soap and water is a good start. My first rock was a creek rock. When you looked at it , it did have pretty colours. This rock I put it in a vibrator. The colour came out great, it was a pretty rock. So look for different coloured rock/stones. 

Join Your Local Lapidary Club.

This helps you find out about lots of different Gemstone/Minerals you can find.

Most clubs have equipment for you to use.

Equipment to help you see more.

The Loupe.

It   a is magnifier glass, helps you see better, by magnifying what you are looking at.

What is a Loupe

Loupe is a magnifier glass, so you can see all the scratches and flaws in your stone. There is hand held ones, which are hard to use because, most of the time you need two hands. There is the small single eye ones that have lights in them, I find them hard to look through. And you have binocular ones that are a head loupe. These have different lens, light attached. The binocular ones are great, a little bit hard to get used to them, but once you do become accustomed to them you will always use them. When Purchasing a Loupe you need a good quality one, over time we have bought a few. Remember what you pay is what you get. It is better to see what you are buying, to be able to get a good Loupe. I have bought a lot. 

Good light.

When looking at your stone you are trying to see if it is clear from  flaws and scratches. Looking at a sapphire or zircon gemstone, there is looks of marks, very hard to find a clear stone.



Using glues and wax helps in holding that small stone to a doping stick . This is when you are cabbing your stone or faceting your stone. Saves your finger nails, from grinding away.


What is Doping.

Dopping is a process of attaching a stone to a dop stick (piece of dowel) -( wooden stick) by means of a special, hard wax. This is a type sealing wax,  but with the addition of some shellac to make it hold better. Using dopping stick save your finger nails, when using  the grinding wheels with your stones

How to use Your Wax.

To Attach a stone to a stick , both must be warm and the wax hot enough to flow but not burn. Do not let the wax catch fire as this will cause it to become brittle and not hold the stone. Takes a bit of practise to get it . I still have trouble with my stone falling of my stick. You can use a High Adhesion Wax or Doping Epoxy ( Glue).


Tumbling rocks/stones

Tumbling takes about 6  weeks to make you stone shinny. Tumbler will clean your rock also, a tumbler users different grits to do this.  5 different Silicon Carbide Grit are need to get a polish. Changing your grit all the time until you use a polish grit.



Vibratory is faster way to polish a rock/gemstone. One week and you can have polish stones. These machines cost more. My machine did not last long.



There is lot of different polishes/methods in polishing a stone. 

Oxide Polish.

Cerium<Chrome, Zirconium, Aluminium.

More to Come Need help leave me a comment and I will get back to you.


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Tumbler or Vibrator to Polish Stones

Tumbled Rocks. Stone Vibrator.

How to use a Tumble or Vibrator to Polish rocks/stones. What grits to use.

Tumbled Amethyst What is a Tumbler.

A tumbler is a piece of equipment used to polish rocks/gemstones  when a rock/gemstone is found (collected) it is usually rough, and dirty, big or small. To tumble a stone takes up to four weeks to bring out the natural beauty of the stone. nice and shinny. The Stones to your left are amethyst. Tumbled.

Tumbled Gemstone is. Any stone or rock that has been tumbled, brings out the beauty of a stone, true colours. Tumbled stones,  are a rounded stone, with no sharp edges.

Tumbling Your Stone to make it look like a Polished Stone.

A tumblers is a cylinder which turns with the assistance of a small motor. I have a twin tumbler. I fill two cylinder, with stones, and they roll and roll for one week until I change there grit.


Step By Step Guide to Tumble Stones in your Tumbler

  1. Cut and shape my stones, so they are about the same size.
  2. Half fill my tumble cylinder with rocks.
  3. Add washing up detergent 1Teaspoon full, cover rocks with water.
  4. First Grit Silicon Carbide 200 ,1 Tablespoon full
  5. Let tumble for One week clean out tumbler.
  6. Put rocks back in tumbler . do step 3 again.
  7. Second Grit Silicon Carbide 600, 1 Tablespoon full.
  8. Let tumble one week clean out tumbler
  9. Put rocks back in Tumbler, do step 3 again.
  10. Third Grit silicon Carbide 1200, 1 Tablespoon full.
  11. let tumble for one week, clean out tumbler
  12. put rocks back in tumbler, do step 3 again
  13. Fourth aluminium oxide Polish 1 Tablespoon.
  14. leave for one week.
  15. If rocks are not polished enough put them in again.
  16. the end.

When I tumbler my stones. First I like to get every thing  ready. To do this I like to have them nearly all the same size stones, and the same stones, like all amethyst in the one barrel. A tumbler, tumblers your stones and put a nice rounded side on all your stones. Some stones take longer than others, to do that finial polish.

Lortone Tumbler

The above tumble is the one I have. We can do two lots of stones at once. Takes around 6 weeks to get a nice polished stones.


Vibrators Equipment is  a bowl on a stand, that shakes and vibrates at the same time. A Vibrator, will polish the stone in about a week, the stone will be polished and shine, the stone come out the way they go in, some still have there sharp corners.

  1. Cut and shape your stones.
  2. Half fill your bowl with stones
  3. Add washing up detergent 1 teaspoon full and cover stones with water
  4. First Grit 200 Silicon Carbide 1 tablespoon.
  5. Let vibrate for 2 days, Clean out bowl.
  6. put stones back in vibrator, do step 3 again.
  7. Second Grit 600 Silicon Carbide 1 tablespoon.
  8. Let vibrate 2 days, Clean out Bowl.
  9. Put stones back in Vibrator, do step 3 again.
  10. Third Grit 1200 Silicon Carbide 1 tablespoon.
  11. Let Vibrate 2 days, Clean out bowl.
  12. Put stones back in vibrator, do step 3 again.
  13. Fourth aluminium  Oxide Polish 1 tablespoon.
  14. Let Vibrate for 2 days.
  15. Stones should be ready.

When cleaning between grits.

Make sure you clean your rocks/stone of all the grit, in the bowl or cylinder. Each grit can contaminate the other. Your mix in your containers between grits  is muddy water, and it takes a bit to wash it out.

Different between Tumbler and a Vibrator.

First off a tumbler is cheaper than a Vibrator.

Second a tumbler takes a long time to shine a stone/rock, 4 weeks Plus.

Third a vibrator only take a week to shine a stone/rock.

The end polish is nothing like the tumbles rocks.

The rocks are nearly the same shape  as they went in.

What Is Silicon Carbide Grit.

Synthetic- Silicon Carbide occurs naturally as the mineral moissanite. However, it is extremely rare, only found in tiny quantities in a limited number of locations.

All of the Silicon Carbide sold as a abrasive is manufactured, It is produced by placing a mixture of coke (  a fuel & carbon source) sand ( a Silicon source) and sawdust ( another Carbon source) in a electric resistance furnace and heating to a very high temperature. The silicon Carbide is then crushed and screened into specific sizes, These Grits And Powders are used as cutting, grinding and polishing Media, The small the number the more it take of your stone. The higher the number the more shin you get.

Silicon Carbide Grit.

Is a inexpensive it Combination of hardness of 9+ and low price, make it an excellent abrasive for rock tumbling. (lapidary work).

I have used all of the above my favourite is the tumbler, it takes a long time but you get some good results when you tumbler. Our tumbler is a 2 barrel tumbler. When you go out looking for stones/rocks there is always small stones. Pick them up they are great for the tumbler, you can make,  gemstone trees with them, and lots of other things.

Below is some tumbles you can buy. They come in all sizes. The bigger the tumbler the more rocks you can do at one time, remember it takes 4 weeks to finish polishing your rocks.

Need to know more before you purchase a tumbler, ask away in the comment box.

Did you know why.

One reason people join there local lapidary club, is to use there cutting machine.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Please leave me a comment.

Bye Wendy

Silicon Carbide Grit. to used to polish stones.
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Lapidary Machine Must Have.

Lapidary Machine— This is it, must have.

Need to shape and polish your gemstone, this is the number one machine to own.

CabKings are the easiest cabbing machines to use. You’ll enjoy great performance, minimum maintenance and low cost of ownership. With so many ingenious features, it’s no wonder CabKings rule.My personal product / review:
CAB King 6″ Lapidary Rock Grinding Polishing Cabochon Machine

This machine can grind and  shape, such as oval, circles, rectangles , squares and  hearts and polish your gemstone to a shine.

Price From $1399.00


Owners:Cab King


Rock Grinding Machine

Introduction:  Lapidary Rock Grinding Machine.

I call my machine a  Cabbing machine.   It is a no mess machine what it does to a gemstone/rock is the number one machine to own.  I love my cabbing machine, it is a joy to use, gets the job done.

Using a cabbing machine:  My cabbing machine sits on a table in my spare room. It has it own power box. It has a water pump that has to be covered with water all the time. another bucket collects water from the wheels basin (dirty water) .When you use a wheel ,water runs over the wheel you are using. It has a on/off nob that lets the water run over the wheel in use. Water keeps your stone from getting hot and lubricates your wheel . this helps the wheels to last longer. Each wheel cost to replace is over $100, so you have to look after them. You have splash shields and hand rest, and a bright light that moves to where you want it.

Why 6 Wheels    All your wheels have different grits. The idea is to start with diamond wheel with a rough grit,lower numbers, which shapes your stone and gradually work your way up to a fine grit, removing scratches as you progress.  Some of the different wheels you use are, 100 hard, 280 hard, 600 hard, 280 flexible wheel,600 flexible wheel, 1200 flexible wheel, 3000 flexible wheel. These wheels are not cheap to buy. For my final polish I use a polishing pad with cerium oxide on my flat lap machine.

Using your wheels  After cleaning and cutting your stone, you are ready to use your cabbing machine/rock grinder. Lets say piece of Quarts clear crystal. You work out what shape you wont., Say round, square or cabochon stone .It does not take very long before you have your shape.

A Round Gemstone     On your First wheel start to shape your stones. Watch out for your finger nails, this machine grinds anything down. Once you have shaped your stone do the same on your next wheel, looking all the time for marks or scratches on your stone. Rounding a gemstone for the final polish you can us a tumbler. Or keep using your different grits.

A cabochon have more to do with shape, it is flat on one side and domed or rounded on the other. So you have your gemstone. Look at it work out what side you wont to be the bottom. On my machine , using the first wheel I would  shape my stone, working it into a egg shape, the bottom of the stone flat. Put your stone on two finger lightly roll it back and forth. Then I would repeat that on the second wheel. Your machine has a good light ,dry your stone and see if there is scratches on it. If there is keep going until you don’t see marks ,nice and shinny  You should only have to use one more wheel and you finished the bottom. Next Step put your stone on a dobbing stick ( piece of dowel a stick )with wax. This saves the finger nails.  Now work your wheels , kept drying your stone and checking for marks you wont a doom shape. Practise.


Cabbing or cabochon cutting is probably the most common form of gem cutting. Cabochons or “cabs” are gems that are cut with a flat bottom and a curved or domed top. If you’ve seen opal or turquoise  you’ve probably seen cabs. Cutting cabs can be profitable. Depending on the material they’re cut from, cabochons can have significant resale value. This can make cabbing a very rewarding hobby, especially if you’re cutting materials you’ve found yourself. Cabbing is more complex than tumbling, and a cabbing machine is a bit more expensive, but you can become proficient with a little practice. A word of warning: cabochon cutting can be highly addictive!

CabKing cabbing machines are warranted by the manufacturer to be free from defect for the period of one year from the date of purchase. Our warranty covers all parts of the CabKing  cabbing machines, including the motor and water pump (light bulb and wheels excluded).

This is a complete machine.

You start out at 80 grit and finish on the polishing pad with cerium oxide at about 30,000 grit

1/4 hp, 110v, 1800 rpm, 60hz motor,

A 605 GPH, 110/115 volt pump.

A powerful 12 volt, single bayonet lamp.

This Machine Features:

Direct drive motor and separate submersible pump to reduce maintenance.

Individual on/off water shut off valves above each wheel, also for right and left hand grinding/polishing pads (no cross-contamination of grit) allows easy movement from wheel to wheel to disc.

A drainage system to eliminate having to constantly discard pan water.

Heavy-duty base board, aluminum splash hoods with adjustable clear splash shields, plastic pad with drain holes, comes with four side splash guards, and two front hand metal rests.

One (1) each 6″ x 1-1/2″, 80 grit and 220 grit metal bonded diamond grinding wheels,

(4) 6″ x 1-1/2″ diamond resin bond wheels, (1) each 280 grit, 600 grit, 1200 grit, and 3000 grit,

a 6″ x 360 grit no hole 1/4-20 right hand threaded diamond flat lap and

a 1/4-20 right hand thread canvas polishing pad

Plastic apron, wrench, clear plastic goggles, complete instructions. + 3 piece jewelers set

One year limited warranty on motor and parts.

Size is 27″ long x 13″ deep x 12″ high for easy transport. 56 pounds

Overall I can not say enough about this machine, It gets a 11 out of 10 from me.

Please note Australia prices are not the same as US. I Paid nearly $2000.00 for mine.

Looking to know more about this machine leave me a comment or Question  below and I will get back to you.

Have a great day.