Protecting the Stone in Wire Wrap

by Danny
(Hendersonville, N.C.)

Does anyone know of a way to protect the stone in an already wire wrapped piece. I recently had some wraps tumbled and the silver was very nice, but the stones were a bit duller than when I put them in Tumbler. Also, how long should just finished pieces be tumbled as the wire is not tarnished, but it a bit dull and not sparkling? Thanks.

Stacy's Answer:

Unfortunately, tumbling can damage some gem material. Stones such as jasper, for example, may have their shine dulled slightly, depending upon how long you leave it in the tumbler. Sometimes, a simple buffing with something like a Sunshine® Polishing cloth will restore the shiny finish.

A lot of factors can affect how long a piece should be tumbled. Things like your tumbling medium, the rotational speed of the tumbler, the makeup of the jewelry piece itself. Try tumbling it for an hour or so, see how it looks, put it back if necessary. Experiment with it.

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Jan 15, 2012
I've had some success with soft stones.
by: Angela

Hi, First- I love your site and how freely you share your information.

I have had some success with soft stones by covering them with blue painter's tape/masking tape. It starts to fall off after a little bit so you do have to keep the tumbling short. Approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on how well you can tape it. If you can only put a piece of tape on one side, like a cab, you will want to check it every 5-10 minutes. If you can wrap it all the way around a bead twice so the tape is sticking to itself instead of the bead/stone, you are usually safe for 20 minutes. Make sure you pinch the tape closed so that it is completely encasing the bead. If the tape does fall off, you will have to completely dry the stone before putting new tape on it. I haven't tried other tapes yet, but electrical tape is next on my list. It's stretchy and flexible and I'm hoping since is rubbery, the water might not be able to reach the sticky stuff as quickly as the masking tape. Oooo, I just had another thought. Nextell waterproof medical tape sticks REALLY well, but doesn't leave a residue. Oh the possibilities :)

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