Polishing Will Take Patience

Jun 22, 2010 | Nature | 6 comments

Stones that have been through polishing process are photographed with candles in a dish.


Polishing takes patience

Those pretty stones that you find on the beach on your holidays are pretty only because they are wet. As soon as you take them home and they dry, they are dull, dull, dull.

So, all you need to do to restore them to their glory is polish them. But it will take 4 weeks to do it in a rotary tumbler.

I guess it’s exactly like everything we do that is worthwhile. It takes time which takes patience.

On this third day of spring, I finally retrieved my polished stones from the 4.5 week tumbling journey that they’ve been on.

Polishing - Polishing Will Take Patience

Like Jewels

How I did the polishing

1. Picked pretty stones on the beach
2. Took them home and washed them
3. Placed them in a rotary tumbler with coarse silicon carbide grit
4. Turned on machine & tumbled for a week
5. Opened tumbler, washed grit, replaced with next finer grade of grit and ran for another week
6. Repeated the previous step replacing the grit with still finer compound and ran for about one more week.
7. As above, replaced grit with polishing compound and ran for a week.


If you’ve done things right, at the end of approximately 4 weeks, you might just have some stones that look like the ones that popped out of my tumbler today. Or not. My earlier batches ended up none too bright, so I’ve had to swat up a bit more to figure out what went wrong.


Why am I doing this? I wish I could tell you. It all started with pretty stones on the beach, but, now, it would seem there’s no end in sight. I have kilos of stones to go, and just these little 3 pound tumblers on a 4 week. or more rotation schedule.

Next question: What am I going to do with them? Good question. I have been asked this before. Any ideas?


  1. well Eve….
    you know they would be perfect made into a pebble mosaic at the start of the front door steps for the full width of the step treads – say 1.2 x 950mm or as a surround for the big “O” ornament where the front sight lines converge from the street approach with the front door see http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/projects/pebble-mosaic-path/
    Beats glueing them around wine bottles unless you find yourself hankering for that particular 70’s look that goes so well with macrame pot holders, tie die T-shirts and carpeted conversation pits … :0

    • Yes, yes. That’s it! You’re inspiring. I love the look of the round mosaic disks. Would they get slippery in the rain? XO E.

  2. They look great laid gently over the surface of bark chippings holding potted bromeliads – indoor pots as well as outdoor ones. I have different coloured stones in different pots indoors. They add a regal touch to beautiful bromeliads, and colour too, when they are not in flower.

    • Great ideas, Kate. Some of my stones look like precious stones when polished. How are you? And how was your trip?

  3. Way back in the seventies when my grandpa was polishing stones in a tumbler like you have done, he and my grandma used to glue little metal legs on the bottom and two googly eyes on top and make little rock bugs. I thought they were fabulous! I had a small collection of them on my bedside table. But then I wasn’t even 10 years old in the seventies. Some things best not revisited…..

    • Oh, that’s a hoot, Jen. A while back, I ran into a stone collector on the beach who has a little home gallery at Manning Point. She collects stones that look like animals (?) and embellishes them so they look even more like creatures.
      No, I haven’t yet visited yet.
      XO Eve


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