Polishing rough amber brings indescribable joy and satisfaction. However, when faced with these raw stones, many individuals find themselves perplexed, unsure of where to begin and often achieving less-than-ideal results.
Let's take a look at the tools required for the polishing process:
The recommended tool for this task is the electric grinder, which is much faster in removing the outer layer of the rough amber compared to sandpaper. For those who plan to engage in amber polishing regularly, it is advisable to invest in this tool.
Rough amber has a relatively low hardness, ranging from 2.0 to 3.0 on the Mohs scale. Therefore, sandpaper alone is sufficient for the polishing process. This ease of use and minimal capital investment make DIY rough amber polishing accessible to a wide range of enthusiasts.
Considering that amber and honey amber exhibit different visual effects, I chose one piece of amber and one piece of honey amber for simultaneous processing. Let's examine the stones I have selected. The left one is honey amber, and the right one is golden amber. Now that we have all the necessary tools, let's get started!
1. Removing the Outer Layer:
Begin by using 240# sandpaper to gradually remove the oxidized layer from the surface of the rough amber. If you have an electric grinder, the process becomes much faster. Once the outer layer is removed, the stone will start to take shape. However, it's important to note that the removal of the oxidized layer is not complete at this stage. You may still see traces of red and black oxidation lines on the stone. These must be eliminated to ensure a visually appealing final result. Continue the grinding process.
2. Fine Grinding:
Using sandpaper with increasing fineness (400#, 1000#, 2000#, 3000#, 5000#), proceed to polish the rough amber. Each step should aim to eliminate the scratches left by the previous sandpaper grade. For example, the scratches from 240# sandpaper should be removed with 400# sandpaper, and so on. It is crucial to remove all traces of the previous sandpaper to avoid visible marks on the final polished product. Let's examine the result after using 5000# sandpaper. The stone appears transparent, but there might be a slight lack of luster under natural light.
3. Toothpaste Polishing:
To achieve a mirror-like effect, place the rough amber that has been polished with 5000# sandpaper onto a cotton cloth. Dampen it with water and apply a small amount of toothpaste. Rub the stone vigorously with your hand for a few minutes. This process will enhance the luster of both honey amber and golden amber.
Throughout the entire polishing process, you can relax, watch TV, or engage in conversations as it does not require extensive skills. I encourage everyone to try their hand at it when they have spare time.
Polishing rough amber can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. By following the recommended steps, utilizing sandpaper of various grit sizes, and incorporating toothpaste polishing, enthusiasts can achieve a desirable mirror-like finish on both honey amber and golden amber. With practice, individuals can refine their techniques and create exquisite polished amber pieces. The process does not demand significant technical expertise and offers a low barrier to entry, making it accessible to individuals of all skill levels. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the captivating world of amber polishing and discover the beauty that lies within these unique gemstones.
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