Polishing Turquoise

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Fat_Daddy:
Hi,

I have some chunks of turquoise that had gotten dull.  I put them in a vibrating jewelry cleaner with some cleaning solution and they have come out even duller.  I tried buffing them with a felt on my dremel, but that didn't help.

How do I return the shine to these stones?

Thanks in advance!

Russ Nobbs:
A polishing compound called "Zam" is the right stuff for polishing turquoise on a muslin buff wheel, either on a Dremel or a larger buffer. A hard felt wheel is too hard for Zam polishing, it works better with Tripoli for initial smoothing.

You can probably find Zam at a local rock hound or lapidary supply store. We carry it at Rings & Things as item # 69-187. It's really made for polishing silver set with turquoise.

If it is natural turquoise the ammonia in some cleaners may dull the stone. Zam should bring the luster back. If the chunks have enhanced black dye in the crevices to look like matrix the Zam may polish it out.

amoro:
Special stone has a right cleaning solution for them, using alternative won't help, it might get worst. it could have been better if you ask an advice from an expert.

Russ Nobbs:
Most cleaning solutions are intended to clean gold jewelry, not really intended for stones. An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner does a good job of loosening and removing the lotions, grease and dirt that get behind faceted stones under the setting.

Porous materials like turquoise, coral, malachite, etc can actually be harmed by the ammonia or other chemicals in the cleaning solution.

If you have a lot of turquoise nuggets to polish, a rock tumbler with the right choice of polishing compounds is a better choice. A google search for "how to tumble polish agates" finds several good tutorials and videos. Searching for "how to tumble polish turquoise" finds several warnings about tumbling turquoise and softer stones with steel shot - typically used to polish and burnish metal jewelry. Tumbling turquoise nuggets with just wood media or with just pre polish compound followed by final polish compound would be the way to get th \s shine back on them.

For a small quantity, Zam on a soft wheel on a buffer is the best idea.

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