What Are Tumbled Stones?
Tumbled stones are multiple rocks and minerals put together that have been tumbled to produce smooth rounded and highly polished stones. These beautiful stones can be used for many different things, such as crystal grids or simple decor.
These dazzlingly polished pieces of rocks and minerals are made by placing rough rocks in a rock tumbler, which continuously spins them until their surfaces become smooth and glossy.
Sometimes referred to as "polished stones," "tumbled gems," or even just 'rocks,' these delightful little works of art make perfect gifts that will be cherished for years to come.
From crystal jewelry to New Age markets, tumbled stones are an exquisite and affordable natural material with a bright polish. Their captivating shapes and hues have been motivation for many people to further explore the realm of rocks, minerals, and gems. Purchased by pound or individually they make great awards, souvenirs, collectibles - all at prices that won't break your bank. They make a great compliment to your healing stones as well.
Bringing out the beauty of rocks and minerals, tumbled stones are produced with materials that have a Mohs hardness between 5 and 8. Such substances typically become lustrous when these precious gems are polished to perfection. From quartz to jasper, here is a list of some popularly used components for making tumbled stones:
- Agate (a translucent, banded variety of microcrystalline quartz)
- Bloodstone (a green jasper with bright red markings that resemble blood splatter)
- Jasper (an opaque variety of microcrystalline quartz with abundant mineral inclusions)
Crystalline Quartz Varieties
- Amethyst (a transparent purple quartz that sometimes has color-zoning or banding)
- Aventurine (a translucent quartz with abundant reflective mineral inclusions)
- Citrine (a transparent yellow to orange quartz)
- Orange Quartz
- Rock Crystal (transparent quartz)
- Rose Quartz (pink quartz)
- Smoky Quartz (a transparent brown quartz)
- Tiger’s-Eye (crystalline quartz that has replaced crocidolite)
- Yellow Quartz
- Amazonite (a green variety of microcline feldspar)
- Beryl (the mineral of aquamarine, emerald, and heliodor)
- Chrysocolla (a blue to green copper mineral usually in quartz)
- Fluorite (a colorful mineral composed of calcium and fluorine)
- Garnet (a popular gem mineral that occurs in a variety of colors)
- Hematite (a silver metallic ore of iron)
- Labradorite (a variety of plagioclase feldspar with an iridescent luster)
- Malachite (a green banded mineral composed of copper carbonate)
- Moonstone (a variety of feldspar that displays adularescence)
- Nephrite (a variety of jade)
- Orthoclase (a white to pink to gray feldspar mineral)
- Rhodonite (a pink magnesium mineral)
- Sodalite (a blue silicate mineral)
- Sunstone (specimens of labradorite feldspar with reflective mineral inclusions)
- Turquoise (a greenish blue copper mineral)
- Basalt (a black, fine-grained igneous rock)
- Granite (a coarse-grained igneous rock of quartz and feldspar)
- Lapis lazuli (a blue metamorphic rock)
- Obsidian (a volcanic glass)
- Picasso Stone (a dolomite with markings that resemble the paintings of Picasso)
- Quartzite (a metamorphic rock composed of quartz)
- Rhyolite (a fine-grained volcanic rock)
- Unakite (a granitic igneous rock containing pink orthoclase and green epidote)
How Tumbled Stones Are Made
To start the process, put rough stones that are roughly the same size in a rock tumbler. After that, fill the barrel with water, sand, coarse grit, and a variety of polishing agents.
As the barrel or drum rotates, the stones gradually lose their rough edges and become more rounded.
The smoothness of tumbled stones depends on the coarseness of the grit used. The process starts with very coarse grit and then progresses to medium and fine grit. This is similar to sandpaper where a finer paper results in a smoother finish.
The production time of tumbled stones may range from a few days to several months, depending on various factors such as the size of the rock tumbler. This can vary from small machines suitable for amateurs to industrial-scale tumblers.
It's important to consider the size and hardness of the rocks or minerals being tumbled, as well as the level of fullness of the barrel and the coarseness of the sand or grit being used.
To create tumbled stones, a rock tumbler is used to replicate the natural process that occurs when fragments of rock near a body of water are gently moved back and forth. As they move, they rub against each other and sediment, which is composed of small pieces of rock, minerals, and organic matter.
Tumbled Stones Are Usually Minerals, But Not All Of Them
Tumbled stones are typically minerals, although not all of them. For a solid substance to be considered a mineral, it must occur naturally and have a crystalline structure composed of crystals.
The word 'crystals' likely originated from those interested in the metaphysical healing properties of rocks and minerals. It is primarily used in the context of crystal healing.
Mineraloids or amorphous solids are solids that occur naturally and are not crystalline. Some examples of mineraloids or amorphous solids include obsidian (which is volcanic glass), opal, shungite, moldavite, and pearl.