This is what the stones look like after they've been tumbled. The grit and water form a slurry and the rock debris gets mixed in, yuck! That's why the stones have to be washed after each tumble. The good news is the second stage is finished and the stones are coming along nicely. The bad news is I won't have any time to tumble them again for a little over a week. It's OK, I'm a professional, I'll deal with it in my own way, sniff, sniff.
Let the games begin! I finished second cut and started tumbling yesterday.
When I first heard about tumbling stones I had a visual image of rocks inside some kind of drum bouncing around and beating each other senseless. First of all, I'm pretty sure rocks don't have any sense. Secondly, my tumbler has no drum of any kind. The tumbling action is created through vibration, and the stones slowly rotate against each other. So the tumbling action is more like the episode of the Carol Burnett Show, where Tim Conway as the old man falls down the stairs in super slow motion. But not nearly so funny, and for a much longer duration.
I've finally got the first cut completed and can move on to cut number two. Pictured below is about 4-1/2 lbs. of cabochons, or one and a half Mason jars (only the best high tech equipment for me).
The first cut includes trimming the slabs and shaping the cabochons. It's really more of a grinding process. Cut number two uses a finer grit disc and is a refinement of the first cut. Once cut number two is completed the stones can be tumbled; a four stage process that also requires thoroughly washing each stone between tumbles. So there's still quite a bit of work to do before these beauties will be finished cabochons. Then there's the reality that about 15 to 20% of the stones will have to be re-cut or discarded due to imperfections (crazes or bugs) that were not visible before the tumbling began. Crazes are cracks or fissures, bugs are pits or voids. But the 80 to 85% that finish well will make it all worth while.
One of my next projects will be to update and market my gemstone website. You can visit that web site at: http://www.gemalchemy.com
The Botswana Agate pendant has been feature before, it includes one of the nicest Botswana stones I've ever cut. The Collection that includes the Picture Jasper bracelet is really great. The entire page is picture jasper items, very cool stuff.