Rose Quartz - Beautiful Pink from South Africa
This image shows a 5-pound bag of rose quartz tumbling rough, dumped into a colander and sprayed with water to reveal its full color. Click on the image for a larger view.
Rose Quartz Rock Tumbling or Cabbing Rough
Size: mostly 1 to 3 inch pieces
We are offering some beautiful rose quartz with a strong pink color. This material is from South Africa and is being sold in five pound bags. It is a perfect size for making large tumbled stones. You might also slice these pieces into small slabs for cabbing or tumbling with a trim saw or small slab saw. Most of the material in these bags ranges in size between 1 and 3 inches along their maximum dimension. A few pieces might be a bit over or under those sizes.
ADVANCED Rock Tumbling Recipe:
Rose Quartz (1 to 3 inches)
As a crystalline variety of quartz, rose quartz can be polished to a very high luster but many people who tumble it in pieces over about one inch in size experience a problem - tiny bruises around the edges of their tumbled stones. These bruises are caused by quartz-to-quartz impacts within the tumbler barrel. This problem is easy to solve by tumbling the quartz in a sea of ceramic cylinder media. The small particles of ceramic media smooth the tumbling action, and, isolate the pieces of quartz from impact with one another. The ceramic media absorbs much of the impact energy produced during the tumble. When tumbling the rose quartz sold here two things should be considered:
1) More Time: Crystalline quartz is hard and because of that it requires more time in the tumbler with coarse grit to produce nicely-shaped tumbled stones. For the rough that we are selling, in six-, twelve- and fifteen-pound capacity barrels, two to four weeks might be required to shape the rough nicely. In small tumblers of two or three pounds capacity, three or four weeks - or longer - can be needed. We suggest tumbling crystalline quartz in coarse grit for two weeks, clean the rough and the barrel, then run one or two more weeks in coarse grit - until you are happy with the shape. When you are happy with the shape, move on to medium grit.
2) Media Needed: You want crystalline quartz to be swimming in a sea of ceramic cylinder media. This is required if you want to avoid bruised tumbled stones. When we tumble crystalline quartz in coarse grit, we fill the barrel about a third of the way with ceramic cylinders and then add the quartz. That will give you a ratio of about 70% quartz and 30% ceramics. The cylindrical shape of the ceramic media will act like a roller bearing and give the rocks a smooth tumbling action in the barrel. The small pieces of media also deliver grit to all surfaces of the rough.
|Using Small-Size Rough Instead of Media: Some people use small pieces of rough instead of media. This can work well if your small rough meets two requirements: 1) the small pieces of rough must be blocky or rounded in shape to produce a good tumbling action - thin or flaky pieces will break up quickly and might not produce a smooth tumbling action; 2) the small pieces of rough must have a hardness that is equal to or greater than the rough that they are tumbled with - if they are softer they will tumble into mud before their job has been done.|
Recipe for Rotary Tumbling:
Barrel slurry dumped down the drain will harden like concrete.
Coarse Grit Step: Fill the barrel 2/3 full with a mix of 20-30% media and 70-80% rose quartz. Add two level tablespoons of coarse grit per pound of material and cover the rocks completely with water. Then tumble for two to four weeks - or long enough to shape and smooth the stones.
Medium Grit and Fine Grit Steps: Again, fill the barrel 2/3 full. Your rough volume will have dropped because of loss during the coarse and medium grit steps. Add some additional media to bring the barrel up to proper level. This should get the media up to the suggested 40-50% of barrel capacity. Use two level tablespoons of grit per pound of material for each of these steps. Add enough water to almost cover the rocks and tumble for one week. Don't over-tumble at this step. If you allow the rocks to tumble more than is needed, you run the risk of bruising.
Polish Step: Be sure that the rocks, media, barrel and lid are extra clean. Also, make sure that the barrel is filled to the proper level. Add more media if needed, but if you have to add more media be sure it is clean POLISHED media. Dusty media or media that has not been broken in and smoothed can scratch up your tumbled stones at this step. We use two level tablespoons of TXP aluminum polish for each pound of rock. Add water until it almost covers the rocks, and tumble for one week.
Burnish If Needed: This material usually takes a great polish. However, burnishing it after the polish step can often improve the look of the stones. If you would like to try burnishing, full instructions can be found here.
Vibratory Tumbler Suggestions:
Step 1: We fill the vibratory tumbler to the fullest capacity recommended by the manufacturer. If you fail to do that, the tumbling action will be too vigorous for crystalline quartz, and bruising will probably occur. Do this for every step of your tumbling with crystalline quartz. We use 1/2 tablespoon of medium grit per pound of material in the bowl. We also add just enough water to make the grit stick to the rough at the start, then as tumbling progresses we add water to maintain a thin muddy slurry. We rinse the rough and add fresh grit and water every 48 hours or as needed. Tumble for as many days as are needed to smooth the surfaces of the rocks. Don't overtumble or bruising will occur.
Step 2: We use fine grit for this step and tumble two days. We use 1/2 tablespoon of grit for each pound of material in the bowl. Start with just enough water to make the grit stick to the rock and tumble for two days, checking often to be sure that the moisture content is right. Your volume probably dropped during Step 1, so you should add enough ceramic media to bring your bowl up to proper operating level. This media should be broken in and free of factory edges.
Step 3: We use TXP aluminum oxide polish, but many people use #61 Rapid Polish for almost all of their vibratory tumbling. Tumble for two days in polish. Check frequently to be sure that your moisture level is right and to monitor the progress of the polishing. Expect it to take two days, but stop if you achieve a great polish in a shorter amount of time or go a little longer if you think it will improve the polish. Too much polishing will produce bruises on crystalline quartz. Burnish for 30 minutes in soapy water if needed.
Vibratory Tumbling Suggestions
We like nicely rounded stones so we usually run large pieces of quartz in coarse grit in a rotary tumbler for at least two to three weeks before switching it to a vibratory tumbler - using the instructions above. After that, we run a mix of 50% quartz and 50% small ceramic media or small rough in a vibratory tumbler. We maintain a thin mud of medium grit (about 1/2 tablespoon of grit per pound of rock and just enough water to make the grit stick to the rocks). Check the consistency of the mud a few times per day and add water if it is getting thicker than a thin slurry. Rinse the rocks and the barrel thoroughly every 48 hours and continue until the pieces are completely smooth but no less than 48 hours.
Run the fine grit step no longer than about 48 hours starting with 1/2 tablespoon of grit per pound of material and maintaining a thin mud as described above. Clean rocks and barrel thoroughly before starting the polishing step. For polishing, we use 1/2 tablespoon of TXP aluminum oxide polish per pound of rocks or 1/2 tablespoon of #61 Rapid Polish. Keep your rocks to media/small stone ratio at 50-50 but don't add any material to the barrel unless it is perfectly clean and has at least a fine grit finish - to avoid scratches. Maintain a thin polish mud for at least 24 hours and then start checking the quartz a few times per day until a nice polish has developed. Don't overtumble to prevent bruising. Burnish if needed.
Tumbled Rose Quartz is Beautiful
After you are finished tumbling you should have some nicely shaped and polished rose quartz with a rich pink color. If you prefer to purchase your tumbled stones instead of polishing them yourself, we have some nice rose quartz for sale here.
Happy tumbling! :-)
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