Surprising Facts About Tumbled Stones

Surprising Facts About Tumbled Stones

What is a tumbled stone?

A tumbled stone is a small, polished rock or gemstone that has been tumbled in a machine or by hand to create a smooth, rounded surface. The tumbling process involves placing rough stones or gemstones in a barrel with abrasive grit and water, and then rotating the barrel for a period of time. This process removes the rough edges and creates a polished surface on the stone.

Tumbled stones are popular for use in jewelry, crafts, and decorative objects, and they  come in a wide variety of colors and types, including agate, jasper, quartz, and many others. People also believe that tumbled stones have healing properties and are used in meditation or other spiritual practices.

Are tumbled stones good?

Tumbled stones are good for a variety of purposes depending on the person and their intentions. They are used in crystal healing practices, meditation, and spiritual rituals. They are made from a wide range of materials such as quartz, amethyst, rose quartz, jasper, and many others.

People believe that tumbled stones have metaphysical properties that are harnessed for spiritual or healing purposes. For example, rose quartz is a stone of love and is used for attracting love or promoting self-love, while amethyst is said to have a calming effect on the mind and can aid in spiritual growth.

Others simply enjoy tumbled stones as a decorative item or a tactile object to hold during meditation or relaxation. Regardless of one's beliefs or intentions, tumbled stones are beautiful and useful additions to one's spiritual practice or personal collection.

Why are tumbled stones cheap?

Tumbled stones are cheaper than other types of gemstones because they are less rare and valuable. Tumbled stones are made from stones and minerals that are available and common, which means that they are produced in large quantities at a low cost.

In addition, the process of tumbling stones involves smoothing and polishing rough stones, which improve their appearance and marketability but do not increase their inherent value or rarity.

However, it's worth noting that there are exceptions to this rule, as some tumbled stones are valuable depending on factors such as their rarity, size, and quality. In general, though, tumbled stones are an affordable option for those who want to enjoy the beauty and energy of natural gemstones without breaking the bank.

What are tumbled stones used for?

Tumbled stones are used for their spiritual, healing, or decorative properties. They are typically small in size and have a smooth, polished surface.

One common use of tumbled stones is in crystal healing, where practitioners believe that the stones have specific energies and properties that can help balance and heal the body, mind, and spirit. For example, amethyst is often used to promote calmness and clarity, while rose quartz is believed to promote love and emotional healing.

Tumbled stones can also be used for meditation, where they are often held or placed on the body to enhance the experience. Some people also use tumbled stones for Feng Shui, a practice of arranging the environment to promote harmony and balance.

In addition to their spiritual uses, tumbled stones can also be used for decorative purposes. They are displayed in a bowl or on a shelf, used as paperweights or bookends, or incorporated into jewelry or other crafts.

What stones should not be tumbled?

There are certain types of stones that are not recommended for tumbling due to their properties, as they may break, fracture, or deteriorate during the tumbling process. Some examples of stones that should not be tumbled include:

  • Soft stones: Stones that are too soft or porous, such as opal, fluorite, and calcite, can easily break or crumble during the tumbling process.
  • Thin or fragile stones: Stones that are thin or fragile, such as mica and shale, can also break or shatter easily when tumbled.
  • Stones with fractures or cracks: Stones with existing fractures or cracks, such as geodes or agates, can further break or split apart during tumbling.
  • Stones with metallic inclusions: Stones that contain metallic inclusions, such as pyrite or hematite, can scratch or damage the tumbler barrel or other stones during the tumbling process.

It is important to research and identify the properties of the stones you plan to tumble and ensure they are suitable for tumbling before beginning the process.

Can stones be naturally tumbled?

Yes, stones can be naturally tumbled through a process known as "rock weathering" or "rock erosion."

Rock weathering occurs when stones are exposed to physical, chemical, or biological agents that cause them to break down or dissolve over time. One of the most common agents of rock weathering is water, which can erode stones through a process known as "abrasion."

As water flows over stones, it can carry sediment and other particles that can cause the stones to rub against one another, creating friction that gradually wears away the rough edges and surfaces of the stones. Over time, this can result in smooth, rounded stones that have been naturally tumbled by the forces of nature.

Other agents of rock weathering include wind, ice, and biological processes such as the growth of plant roots or the burrowing of animals. All of these processes can contribute to the natural tumbling of stones over time.

Why do tumbled stones not shine?

Tumbled stones typically do not shine because the tumbling process can remove or dull the surfaces of the stones that would otherwise reflect light and give them a shiny appearance.

When stones are tumbled, they are placed in a machine that rotates and vibrates them against each other and abrasive materials, such as sand or grit. This process removes any rough or jagged edges from the stones, making them smoother and rounder. However, this smoothing process can also remove any shiny or reflective surfaces that the stones may have had before they were tumbled.

Additionally, the type of rock can also affect its shine. Some stones, such as quartz, have a naturally shiny appearance due to their crystal structure and the way they reflect light. Other stones, such as basalt, do not have a shiny appearance because their surface is rough and irregular. Even if these stones are polished or tumbled, they may not develop a significant shine because of their natural properties.

Overall, the lack of shine in tumbled stones is due to a combination of factors, including the tumbling process itself, the natural properties of the stones, and the way they interact with light.

How can one tumble stones at home?

Tumbling stones is a fun and rewarding hobby that can be done at home with the right equipment and materials. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  • Materials:
  1. Stones
  2. Tumbler (rotary or vibratory)
  3. Abrasive grit (coarse, medium, fine)
  4. Water
  5. Burnishing compound (optional)
  • Steps:
  1. Choose the stones you want to tumble. They should be clean and free of any dirt or debris.
  2. Place the stones in the tumbler. Be sure not to overload the tumbler, as this can cause uneven tumbling or damage to the machine.
  3. Add coarse abrasive grit to the tumbler. The amount will depend on the size of the tumbler, but a general rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of grit per pound of stones.
  4. Add water to the tumbler, enough to cover the stones.
  5. Turn on the tumbler and let it run for a few days. Check the progress after 24 hours to see if the stones are tumbling evenly. If they're not, adjust the load or add more grit.
  6. After a few days, remove the stones from the tumbler and rinse them thoroughly. Discard the used grit and wash the tumbler.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 with medium and fine grit, in that order, until the stones are polished to your desired level of shine.
  8. Optional: add a burnishing compound to the tumbler for a final polish. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for use.
  9. Once the stones are polished to your satisfaction, rinse them thoroughly and dry them off.
  • A few tips:
  1. Always wear protective gear, such as gloves and eye protection, when handling stones and abrasive materials.
  2. Don't mix different types of stones or grit in the same batch, as they may have different hardness levels and require different tumbling times.
  3. Be patient! Tumbling stones can take several weeks, depending on the hardness of the stones and the level of shine you want to achieve.


Tumbled stones are used for alternative healing practices like crystal healing. However, tumbled stones can be a beautiful and interesting addition to your home decor. They can be displayed in bowls, used in terrariums or as part of a garden, or even incorporated into jewelry designs.

When selecting tumbled stones, it's important to choose high-quality stones that have been properly polished. You should also be aware of any treatments or enhancements that may have been applied to the stones, as these can affect their appearance and properties.

Overall, tumbled stones are a fun and interesting way to explore the beauty of the natural world and add a unique touch to your personal style by browsing the following links: 

  1. Tumbled Stones. geology. March 9, 2023.
  2. What are Tumbled Stones? Stone Mania | The UK's Online Crystal Shop. March 9, 2023.
  3. Are Tumbled or Raw Stones More Effective?: Village Rock Shop. Are Tumbled or Raw Stones More Effective? | Village Rock Shop. March 9, 2023.
  4. Are Tumbled Stones Valuable? Rock Tumblers. March 9, 2023.
  5. Uses for Tumbled Stones: Tumbled stones, Rock crafts, Rock tumbling. Pinterest. August 10, 2012.
  6. Best Rocks for Tumbling: Why Some Work & Others Don't. Rockhound Resource. November 24, 2020.
  7. Tumbling Rocks!: Science project. Science project | May 06, 2013.
  8. The Best Gemstones for Everyday Wear. Milina London. February 22, 2022.
  9. A Guide To Healing Crystals. Forbes. December 14, 2022.
  10. 8 ways to use healing stones for major inner transformation. Well+Good. November 03, 2022.
  11. How to Tumble Stones: 6 Steps (with Pictures). wikiHow. January 02, 2020.
  12. How to Use a Rock Tumbler and the 4 Steps of Grit and Polish. Instructables. October 08, 2021.
  13. Rock Tumblers. geology. March 9, 2023.
  14. What Gemstones and Metals are Good for Everyday Wear? Day's Jewelers. October 13, 2022.
  15. How To Tumble Polish Corundum. Mama's Minerals. March 9, 2023.
  16. How to Choose a Rock Tumbler - Gold Prospecting Mining Equipment ...March 8, 2023.
  17. Rock Tumbling 101: Beginner's Guide to Polish Rocks. AB Crafty. December 15, 2022.
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.