Hand Stamped Jewelry

by Grace

I am brand new to jewelry making. I just purchased a Lortone tumbler. I use Silver Black to oxidize the hand stamper discs. Do you tumble the jewelry AFTER you oxidize it or before. I was thinking that tumbling was the final process, but someone told me you tumble then oxodize and so I am confused. Thanks much. Grace

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Grace!

There are a lot of different opinions about when to tumble and as you gain more experience with jewelry making, you'll find the technique that works best for you. I employ a few different polishing methods to finish my jewelry as tumbling is not always best.

When tumble-polishing, I usually tumble first to polish the jewelry. If I'm oxidizing then step 2 is to oxidize, then tumble again for just 1-2 hours. This removes any excess oxidation and further cleans the jewelry. Step 3 is to rinse, dry and then buff the jewlery using a jewelry polishing cloth. If the jewlery or components are nearly finished looking after being fabricated requiring very little tumbling or finishing, then I do oxidize first and tumble for 2-3 hours or until I'm happy with the way they look.

Comments for Hand Stamped Jewelry

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May 21, 2012
tumble machine and media used
by: lex

Your the best I love your help and site. So I need to buy a Tumbler ....perfect timing. So what tumbler - vibratory or rotary and media - stainless steel shot or other? My questions pertains to L.O.S. totally and on copper and some silver like you do. Waiting for your comment to before ordering. Your knowledge will lead me along my creative path. Thanks in advance.


Thanks for the kudos Lex! This really belongs in the Q&A section and not in the Comment section, So I hope you see this. I recommend a Lortone rotary-style tumbler. The Lortone 3A is great for most tumbling needs. If you think you may need a larger barrel capacity, then the Lortone 4C may suit you better. Search around for them as Lortone prices vary.

If you would rather not spend $65 - $120 on a tumbler plus the shot, then Harbor Freight's Chicago brand tumbler may be better for you. It will be cheaper only if you have a store in your area and you use one of their 20% coupons. Paying full price with shipping is probably no savings at all. Between the two, Lortone is a better choice.

As to the Stainless steel shot, you'll get better results by using either a mixed media for jewelry (has all the different shapes of shot in the mix) or the pins. Shot with only blunt shapes will not get into all the little nooks and crannies. So far, Rio Grande Jewelry Supply seems to have the best price for the shot at $18 for a one-pound bag, $16 per pound for 2 pounds and up. The 3 pound tumbler models all use one pound of shot regardless of who makes the tumbler. Keep in mind that the larger the barrel on the tumbler, the more shot it will require. I have 2.5- 3 pounds of shot in my 4C.


Apr 22, 2013
Sanding my finished stamped jewelry
by: Sharon

Hi there, love your site. So happy I stumbled upon it. I have a stamped jewelry business and the way I finish my pieces is to ink them with permanent marker and then sand that off with a fine steel wool, and then a quick go-over with a more gritty sanding block for a satin finished piece. My hands and fingers are killing me and I am wanting to know if there is ANY other method to obtain this same finish with less manual work. I have been reading about tumblers, but will the tumbler take off the ink all the way? I also thought about a Dremel tool with a sanding tip. to sand it off, but not sure how well that would work too. If you have any tips for me I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you!

Dec 30, 2014
jewelry shape shot
by: sarah

Hello I was curious about what stainless shot for jewelry tumbling I should purchase?
What's the difference of getting 3 shapes compared to 5 or 6? does it really matter? I have a 3lb tumbler and I'll be using mostly aluminum and copper discs for my metal jewelry stamping.
Thank you in advance!

Jan 07, 2015
Types of Stainless Steel Shot
by: Stacy

No probably not! I've used just the pin shapes and the mixed media for jewelry - some with 3 shapes and some with more. They all seem to work well.

Each shape is supposed to burnish the metal in different ways. If you used only the round beads say, then recessed areas with accesses smaller than the diameter of the balls would not get polished. That's where the pins would get the job done. So an assortment of shapes is good to allow access to all of the tumbled metal's surface areas.

A 3-pound tumbler uses one-pound of Stainless steel shot. Steel shot will rust, but Stainless steel can stay wet 24/7 and lasts forever.

Stacy :-)

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