Gold foil in the tumbler

Hi...Is it ok to tumble an earring that has gold foil on it? The gold foil is attached using a torch and burnisher.

Thanks for your help.

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Rachel!

Is the foil on a lampwork bead or a piece of silver? If the foil is just stuck to the outside of the bead, it WILL probably and sadly come right off! If it's been melted or bonded onto the glass or metal, you're probably OK. I do know that the little beads of fine silver that look so cool on lampwork do pop out in the tumbler. Even when you can only see half of the tiny orb! I purchased a lovely and expensive focal bead and had this happen after the jewelry was completed. The ruined piece is now sporting little empty divots where the fine silver used to be. And glass dots on lampwork that are not well seated can break off also. You know, the kind that look like they're barely stuck on the bead?

Gold foil is very, very thin and the stainless steel tumbling medium has little pointy bits that can remove or damage very thin metal coatings. Plastic pellets are one option for really delicate items.

If I'm uncertain about the outcome I'll either chance it knowing that I may have to replace said item, or polish and finish the jewelry by hand without tumbling. Sometimes hand-finishing is the safest way to go.

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