Have you ever tumbled a rock before? It’s a lot of fun! You can find all sorts of rocks to tumble at your local park or backyard. But what makes an excellent rock to tumble? And how do you get that perfect polished shine? This blog post will discuss the best rocks to tumble and how to get the most out of your tumbling experience!
Choosing the suitable rocks to tumble
The best rocks to tumble are those that are relatively soft yet durable. Rocks such as quartz, agate, and jasper are all excellent choices for tumbling. You’ll want to avoid rocks with sharp edges or points, as these can damage your tumbler or injure you.
When choosing rocks to tumble, you’ll want to consider the hardness of the stone. The harder the rock, the longer it will take to polish. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy polishing experience, choose softer rocks. If you don’t mind waiting longer for your results, go for harder stones.
The best rocks for tumbling are those that rank between 6 and 8 hardness on the Mohs Scale. Most of these will be different varieties of quartz, with a hardness of 7. All your roughs must have similar hardnesses; otherwise, the softer rocks will get pulverized by the harder ones.
If you’re just starting to tumble rocks, avoid softer ones as they may be more challenging to work with. If you decide to try it, make sure that there are no harder rocks in the mix.
Using very hard rocks is not advisable because they’ll need unique grit and a lot of time spent in the tumbler. If you still want to try it, make sure the rocks aren’t gem quality!
The smoothness of your rocks is another critical factor to consider. If your stones are too rough, they’ll damage the tumbler and create a lot of noise. Too smooth, the rocks won’t tumble properly and will take much longer to polish.
You may usually determine if the texture is appropriate by glancing at the rock and examining for any apparent granularity. For example, an excellent tumbling rock will be microcrystalline without visible grains. Rubbing the stones together is another method to tell if any tiny grains are produced. If not, then the texture is most likely suitable.
It’s crucial not to put any porous stones in your tumbling rough since the pores provide ideal little traps for tumbling rock. The problem is that the pores trap each step’s grits and transport them onto the following steps. If a few big grit fragments slip through during polishing, you’ll wind up with ugly gouges in your otherwise nicely polished rocks. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent this grit from being carried over if your stone has a lot of holes. Therefore it’s best to avoid them.
Lack of Fractures
If a rock has fractures or crystals, it’s best not to use it for tumbling. The reason is that when stones are tumbled, they will inevitably bang into each other. This can cause the fractures and crystals to break off, creating more sharp edges and points. These will further damage your tumbler and could even injure you.
So, break up any fractured rocks along their visible fractures before adding them to your tumbler. It’s best to use a hammer so that you don’t create any more sharp edges or points.
The rocks need to meet other criteria, and they also have to be an ideal size. The tumbling rough should ideally consist of stones that are 1/2″ to 1-1/2″ large. If they happen to be any bigger, likely, most tumblers won’t provide the proper tumbling action for them. On the other hand, if they’re too small, they’ll get ground up entirely during the process.
Having a good balance of different-sized rocks in your rough is also vital. The ideal rough will include a nice variety of varying-size meteorites. This dispersion causes more tumbling action in the barrel and increases the number of contact surfaces between the stones, making tumbling easier.
List of the best rocks to tumble by a beginner
As a beginner, the best rocks to tumble are:
- Tiger’s Eye
The most abundant mineral resource on Earth is quartz, which comes in various forms. Amethyst, transparent, white, rose, yellow, and smoky quartz are some of the most popular types of crystalline quartz.
These rocks are all relatively hard, have a smooth texture, and lack fractures or crystals. They’ll also be the right size for most tumblers and provide good tumbling action. Plus, they’re some of the most common and easily-found rocks, so you shouldn’t have trouble getting your hands on them.
Agates are another excellent option for beginner tumblers. They come in a wide range of colours and patterns and have a smooth texture. In addition, this rock’s attributes-such as hardness, density, and natural smoothness, allow it to be commonly obtained and well suited for tumbling and polishing.
In evaporation, specific minerals in the air are turned into solids. It is known as phyllite when groundwater deposits minerals in rock cavities, fractures, and bedding plane separations. It may be found in abundance in specific geological site locations near streams and dry washes due to this process.
Jaspers are also an excellent choice for beginners. They’re typically very affordable, come in many colours, and have a smooth texture. It can range from opaque to semi-translucent and forms in various fracture fillings and replacements.
Jasper is a popular material for tumbling, and it’s pretty tricky. However, the natural undertones of the rock provide a lovely foundation for brilliant and gleaming polishing, and the usage of jasper may produce a stunning visual variety in your collection.
Tiger’s eye is a type of chatoyant gemstone that’s composed of asbestos fibres. It ranges in colour from yellow to red-brown and has a silky lustre.
This rock is ideal for tumbling because it’s relatively soft, has a smooth texture, and polishes to a high shine. Plus, it’s a beautiful stone that will surely add visual interest to your collection.
Aventurine is a green-coloured variety of quartz that contains inclusions of fuchsite, which gives it a silky sheen. It’s also known as “Indian jade” and is considered lucky.
This rock is ideal for tumbling because it’s relatively soft, has a smooth texture, and polishes to a high shine. Plus, the presence of mica, iron oxide or other minerals has a unique orientation, resulting in a shimmery, glittering appearance when observed from particular angles.
Rocks for professionals
Now that we’ve reviewed some of the best rocks for beginners, let’s move on to more advanced options. These rocks are a bit more challenging to work with, but the results are worth it:
Obsidian is a type of natural glass that’s formed when lava cools quickly without crystallizing. It’s typically black or very dark in colour and has a smooth, shiny surface.
Obsidian possesses many qualities as glass, such as conchoidal fracture, hardness on the Mohs Scale of 5-6, and a vitreous lustre. Unfortunately, it is also quite delicate, meaning it easily chips and bruises. If you’re determined to tumble obsidian anyway (since it can produce beautiful products), be very careful in your work and use ceramic media or plastic pellets to cushion it.
Hematite is a common iron oxide with a red-brown colour and metallic lustre. It’s relatively soft, with a hardness of only about five on the Mohs Scale, but it’s still quite durable.
Hematite is a fantastic tumbling stone since it ends up looking like a mirror after it has been fully polished. When it’s finished, you can see yourself in the mirror.
A word of warning: Tumble hematite alone since it may stain your other stones and corrode the water in the tumbler.
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming minerals that make up most of the Earth’s crust. They’re typically white, pink, or pale and have a glassy lustre.
Tumbling feldspar can be tricky since it’s a bit harder than most other rocks, but the results are worth it. A few feldspars are popular as tumbled stones. Amazonite, moonstone, labradorite and sunstone are such examples.
They tend to chip and break during the tumbling process, which can be up. I recommend using a vibratory tumbler on this rock to minimise chipping and breakage.
Granite is a type of igneous rock composed of mica, quartz, and feldspar. It has a granular texture and can be pink, grey, or white.
Granite is difficult to tumble since it’s hard and tends to break. Likewise, it’s challenging to tumble granite, yet it’s doable and can result in some one-of-a-kind and unexpected outcomes.
What is the best rock for tumbling?
There is no definitive answer to this question since different rocks produce different results. Some of the best stones for tumbling include Jasper, Tiger's Eye, Aventurine, and Feldspar.
What are good rocks for tumbling by a beginner?
Good rocks for tumbling by a beginner include Jasper, Tiger's Eye, and Aventurine.
What are good rocks for tumbling by a professional?
Good rocks for tumbling by a professional include Obsidian, Hematite, and Feldspar.
Tumbling is an excellent option if you’re looking for a fun and rewarding activity that teaches you about rocks and minerals. The best stones to tumble are soft, have a smooth texture, and polish to a high shine. Jasper, Tiger’s Eye, Aventurine, Feldspar, Obsidian, Hematite, and Granite are all excellent choices for tumbling. So start tumbling!