Burnishing or Brightening powder?

by Debbie Davis
(Bristol, England)

My UK supplier sells both of these, for use with steel, ceramic or stainless steel shot. No extra detergent is advised. I am guessing that the 'burnish' would de-burr and the 'bright' would polish. No technical data on pH or chemicals is supplied. Have I bought a specialised jewellery cleaner/polisher, or just paid lots of money to replace dishwashing detergent?

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Debbie!

I don't think you made a bad choice. The dish soap method is very popular, but that doesn't mean something else out there isn't better. There are different burnishing and brightening powders available for rotary and vibratory tumblers depending upon the type of metal you are using them on. Burnishing powders are mixed with water and added to the stainless steel shot as a medium for tumbling. And there are different powder compounds to mix with water for brightening metals. I don't use them and so I have never checked into what they're made of or how well - or not - they work. (too much other information rattling around in my head and I've been happy with the method I use) Basically, the powders replace the dish soap.

Folks seem to like the results but I cannot speak from experience never having used them. I do not know if they are better than or less effective than dish soap/water. I would be interested to know how you find the brand you bought to work versus the old dish soap and water method. Most of these powders seem relatively inexpensive as you use only a little at a time, so hopefully, you did not do too bad with the purchase. And, if the results are better? Well worth the purchase price!

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