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Polishing Compounds

A complete group of polishes for lapidary applications from inexpensive tumbler to the best gemstone polishes that bring up a bright, high shine of gems. For economy, dedicate a buff, lap pan or a barrel to a particular polish and simply recharge with fresh polish as required to maintain effectiveness.

CERIUM OXIDE - the best gemstone polishing compound for most uses, a mixture of rare earth oxides rich in cerium oxide. Best with opal, agate, quartz, obsidian, etc. And not as effective with very soft material or stones that tend to undercut. For lap or tumbler. Mix with water and apply paste to your buff.

MICRON ALUMINA - a 5 micron polishing powder developed for computer discs. It is the best polish for sea shells and pretty good for soft stones such as malachite and onyx, and excellent as a pre-polish in vibratory tumblers and laps, but not rotary tumblers.

ALUMINUM OXIDE, MAP - preferred by many to Linde A, this is a slightly faster and more economical rare earth polish that we call Miracle Atomic Polish.

ZIRCONIUM OXIDE - a rare earth polish that is especially good for tumblers and laps. The most economical effective polishing media. White and will not discolor gemstones.

LINDE ‘A’ - Tremendous favorite with gem cutters whether faceting or polishing cabs. Relatively expensive so you should consider polishing the stone and then giving it a quick hit with Linde A to attain a super polish. Available as powder to mix with water or an emulsified cream with the consistency of hand lotion which does not separate in solution.

OXALIC ACID - Used for polishing carbonate type onyx when mixed with another polish such as Tin Oxide. In a strong solution with water it is used to clean iron stain from specimens—i.e. quartz. Mix with hot tap water by stirring in oxalic acid crystals until the water is supersaturated and will not dissolve any more. Crystals forming along the sides of the container indicate a saturated solution and should they disappear you should add more. WARNING: While this is a relatively mild acid, you should take all precautions to keep it out of eyes and mouth.


In general - Tripoli is highly suited for cutting down metals to remove scratches and get a relatively smooth surface. Bobbing compound is made of finely ground flint for cutting down, it is very greasy and particularly suited for use with brushes. Rouges are used to produce the final high luster.

RED ROUGE - imparts the highest possible luster to your precious metal work when using at speed with a muslin buff.

YELLOW ROUGE - a dry compound for metals such as stainless steel, nickel and platinum. Good all around polish, in regular or extra fine.

WHITE PLATINUM ROUGE - superior for gold and platinum—ok for silver too. Muslin buff at high speed.

GREEN ROUGE - another hard metal polish for stainless steel, platinum and gold.

ZAM - An exceptionally fine crocus based white compound for a high finish on silver, nickel silver and stainless steel.

BROWN TRIPOLI - Mild abrasive to use with a felt or muslin buff to remove scratches. Use with a bristle wheel for satin finishes (free of scratches but dull).

(FROM Gem Cutters News, January 2010)