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Polishing Beryl Crystals

Posted by David Walsh  
David Walsh March 08, 2013 04:48PM
I'm looking to find out the best way of polishing Beryl specimens I found recently. Most of these specimens are no longer than an inch and I tried very carefully with a Dremel tool and the polish that came with it. The Dremel and polish didn't work as I expected. I've researched Rock Tumblers/Vibrators but don't want to risk breaking these already fragile pieces. I found a way of extracting the Beryl using my vice as opposed to hammering around it. I have found many of the Beryl pieces don't end up intact, I can see cracks in them using a magnifying glass. How is one to extract smaller pieces of Beryl intact? Should I focus on finding larger pieces? I'd like to find some nice pieces and polish them up for display around my home.

Steve Hardinger March 08, 2013 05:08PM
Why does everyone want to polish their specimens? Why not irish them or russian them?
Steve Federico March 08, 2013 11:04PM
Hey David if you used the polish that came with the dremel it might not be the right kind.I looked up Beryl in the book: Gem and Lapidary Materials by June Culp Zeitner & it listed the following as good polish for Beryl.Tine Oxide,Linde A,cerium oxide,or 50,000 diamond.It also said that cleavage and heat sensitivity are not a problem.Hope this helps you.......Steve
Tim Jokela Jr March 09, 2013 01:57AM
Might shake more fruit from the tree by posting in the lapidary section.

Beryl polishes nicely, but you have to have relatively solid, crack-free material to start with. Experience will tell you what's good and what's leaverite.

Life is too short to polish rocks with a dremel.

Look for a local club and see if any folks in your area are doing lapidary. Make friends, and see if you can get some lessons on how it's done.

You can build your own machine, but about $1,000 will get you a cabochon grinder that will last for a very long time, and provide countless hours of fun.

Or cut a flat face with a diamond blade, and then polish with a flat lap.

Either way, it's a series of steps, from coarse grit to fine polish; the only easy, instant polish is to coat it with lacquer or something similar, if you like the look.
James Christopher March 10, 2013 01:06AM
A diamond blade on the Dremel, and carefully cutting around the aqua in 2 parallel lines, then breaking out the matrix between the cuts is what I have had luck with in the past.
David Walsh March 11, 2013 06:31PM

Thanks for the info, I'll try the diamond blade for the smaller pieces. I really want to find larger pieces, 5+ inches in diameter. maybe the larger pieces won't be prone to having as many cracks and be easier to work with.

Steve Cantiello March 11, 2013 10:08PM
HEY! Be careful the dust is very toxic.Wear a mask when you polish that.Linde A works great for beryl.
David Walsh March 11, 2013 10:38PM

I'm glad you mentioned that, I haven't done any real polishing yet and noticed when I was cracking a few pegnatite rocks to extract the Beryl, there was a little dust. I used a small brush to brush away the sediments that was created when I cracked a few rocks. I did pick up some masks from Lowes, I figured any dust that was floating around as a result of brushing it away wasn't good, I was holding my breath most of the time.
Keith Compton March 16, 2013 06:39AM

I think that we would all like to find 5" diameter Beryl xls and I know that if I did I certainly wouldn't be polishing them


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/16/2013 06:40AM by Keith Compton.
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