coil silver ring - polishing metals
coil silver ring - polishing metals

Polishing Metals: An Introduction


Getting a brilliant polish is one of the most important steps to finishing fine jewelry. Learn the tools and techniques you'll need for polishing metals.

10 Minute Read

What to Look for in Polished Jewelry Pieces

If you're creating a piece of jewelry for competition, take the time to finish every detail. The same holds true if your jewel holds very expensive gems. A custom-made jewelry piece costing several thousand dollars deserves attention to every detail.

For less expensive pieces, finishing every little detail can be too time consuming to justify the labor. For example, polishing between every wire may not be worthwhile for a pair of amethysts in basket earring settings. The insides of these wires hardly show, so it makes no difference to the jewelry's appearance.

rough surface and mold marks - polishing metalsUnfortunately, some jewelers get plain lazy when finishing their jewelry. For example, cast settings have a rough surface that needs smoothing. Without buffing, they will never take a high polish. Yet, you'll commonly find this, even in jewelry costing over $100. Worse yet, I've seen earrings that still have rough metal on the back, where the mold went together. This will irritate the customer's ear. Taking such a shortcut has no excuse.

If you're shopping for jewelry, examine the polish on the store's goods. Look at the surface carefully to see how smooth it is. A well-finished piece of precious...


Donald Clark, CSM IMG

The late Donald Clark, CSM founded the International Gem Society in 1998. Donald started in the gem and jewelry industry in 1976. He received his formal gemology training from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Society of Gemcutters (ASG). The letters “CSM” after his name stood for Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter, a designation of Wykoff’s ASG which has often been referred to as the doctorate of gem cutting. The American Society of Gemcutters only had 54 people reach this level. Along with dozens of articles for leading trade magazines, Donald authored the book “Modern Faceting, the Easy Way.”

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