How to Polish Rocks

Make gems of ordinary looking rocks

Polished rocks are a beautiful addition to any rock collection. The process of polishing rocks involves using a finer and finer grit abrasive until the desired shape and smoothness is reached. Most rocks are polished using a rock tumbler and can take up to 6 weeks. Heed the following tips and unearth your own buried treasures from any pile of rocks.

Tumbler Polishing

Purchase a rock tumbler and bulk rocks and stones at a hobby store or online (see Resources).

Add rocks and coarse abrasive grit (this typically comes with hobby tumbling kits) to the tumbler and let polish for one week.

Remove rocks from the tumbler and wash thoroughly.

Put rocks back in tumbler with a medium grade abrasive for one week.

Remove rocks from the tumbler and take out any pebbles or rocks that have sharp points.

Prepolish rocks in tumbler for 10 days. Do final polishing for 2 weeks, remove and wash thoroughly. Spread out onto a towel to dry.


Unlike polishing rocks by hand, with a rock tumbler you don't have to be quite as particular about the hardness of the rock you want to polish.


Gloves and safety glasses are recommended.

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