The all free Rock Tumbling Hobby Site - Choosing.

On this page I will show you 14 or so different types of stones which are ideal for polishing and then using as gifts or ornaments.  The type of stone you choose is down to your personal preference, and what you want to do with the finished product.

 

Here is a collection of some of my own work - placed in a glass bowl for ornamental purposes.

Inside this bowl there are two main kinds of stone and a spurious collection of others.

The dark green stone is "Moss Agate" - which contains a mixture of greens - blues and whites and is an ideal stone for polishing due to its density giving it a superb glassy shine.  Below Left is an image of how you will typically find it and indeed all of the others in their raw state - either in the shops or out in the country.

The pink, red, browny colored stones are "Carnelian".  Whilst this type of stone can be hard to shape in the early stages, the polish stage is normally quite fast - lasting only a few days or so.  Carnelian often starts off with a redish brown coating on it which can be pitted and difficult to shape and remove - but the finished result is always very impressive, with multiple different shades of reds and browns.

Other rocks in the bowl are "Citrine" and a small piece of "Amethyst" can also be seen forming a pleasant well balanced display.

 

The Crystal Vase

 

On the left I have placed a mixture of stones in a glass vase which is around 12 Inches high and 4 inches square.  This makes a very colorful and impressive display which everyone always comments upon.

Inside the vase you can see the following types of stone :-

Light Pink - "Rose Quartz"

Purple - "Amethyst"

Orange - "Citrine"

Red - "Carnelian"

Light Blue - "Blue Lace Agate"

Brown/Striped - "Tiger Eye"

Clear - "Clear Quartz" & "Smokey Quartz"

 

This unusual looking stone is known as "Turritella Limestone".  The shapes you can see in this closeup shot are formed by the remnants of tiny shells - whose owners would have roamed the seabeds millions of years ago.  It is not uncommon to find full fossilized shells in certain specimems, and a good cross section through the twirling funnel can produce attractive results.  The stone is not very dense, and care must be taken during the grinding process as softer parts can be whittled out by the grit leaving deep scars when finished which are not possible to remove without losing more material than you would want.

 

In this picture we can see the following types of stones :-

White - "Quartz" which is heavily cracked inside.

Green - "Green Aventurine"

Blue - "Blue Aventurine"

Bandy - "Crazy Lace Agate"

Purple - "Amethyst"

The Aventurines are a difficult stone to finish, in particular the Blue - I find that they can often become pitted and only around 50% of the surface takes on a glassy effect - making it look a little "lacklustre"

For a far greater choice of  rock types - click here to visit the Rock Samples section where we have over 100 images of various types of tumbled stone sent in by  visitors.  You can get a usb flash drive here and also a camera pen

My Recommendation for starting out.

Opinions vary on mixing different types of stones of different hardness in the same barrel.  Softer rocks such as the Turritella Limestone seen above, could never be tumbled with Amethyst, which is harder and would damage the limestone.  With such a difference in hardness, it is clear that you should not mix them.

Other combinations however, such as Snow Stone and Rose Quartz, can be tumbled in the same barrel, I personally however prefer to only tumble one kind of stone in a barrel at any given time.  This way - if the results at the end are not what you expect, you can immediatly discount blame on rock hardness in a mixture and focus your attention on cleaning the barrels and ensuring that larger grits are not present in finer stages.

As you become more experienced, you can use "Moh's Scale" to determine which specimens can be tumbled together - but for 100% confidence, simply begin by tumbling one kind of rock per barrel per cycle.

 

The above samples are only a small selection of the many which are available, you may be choosing a set of Semi-Precious gemstones for tumbling because of your birthdate, or because it is believed to hold a particular healing or other magical property.  Whatever your reasons, once you have attained your first batch of rocks, click below to return to the main page to see how to tumble them correctly for the best results.

 

Rock Tumbler home page and message board links.