What Are Tumbled Stones?

You may have heard about tumbled rocks before, and you’ve almost definitely seen them at some point. They are actually very common and used for a number of purposes.

But what are tumbled stones?

Tumbled stones are simply small rocks that are very smooth, usually have bright colors and patterns giving them a highly polished appearance. They start as normal rough around the edges rocks but with the aid of something called a rock tumbler can be made to look like you see in the image above.

What can tumbled stones be used for?

Tumbled stones are used in arts and crafts, for jewelry, and other decorative purposes. Here are a few common ways you could use tumbled stones:

  • Filling for flower vases
  • Arts and crafts
  • In aquariums (just make sure there are no chemicals on the stones)
  • Fill a glass jar as a decoration
  • Add in with a potted plant, I’m thinking maybe a succulent
  • In jewelry like a necklace or earrings

How do you make tumbled stones?

As I mentioned, tumbled stones can be made with a rock tumbler. Rock tumblers are machines that have a barrel for holding and tumbling the rocks that is power by a motor. You add a combination of water and coarse grit in with the rocks and turn on the machine.

It can take anywhere from a week to months of tumbling the stones in this barrel full of water and grit to get them to look like the image below.

photo credit: 88pathoffroad | CC 3.0

What kind of rocks can you use?

You do have several options here, however most rocks will not do well in a rock tumbler so you have to choose a rock suited for rock tumbling. You can read more about the best options for rock tumbling in this article.

Here are some of the best options:

  • Agate
  • Jasper
  • Quartz
  • Petrified wood
  • Obsidian
  • Feldspars
  • Hematite
  • Lapiz lazuli
  • Lepidolite
  • Malachite
  • Mookaite
  • Prehnite
  • Rhodonite
  • Sodalite

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