Tumbling is a great way to learn about different types of rocks. However, you can enjoy tumbling even more if you use the best rocks you can find. So, “what are the best rocks for tumbling?” you may wonder!
The best rocks to tumble are Agate, Sodalite, Quartz, Jasper, and Obsidian. But you can add Charoite, Chalcedonies, or Turritellas to this list. Each type of these rock has unique features, so consider your preferable properties.
In this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know to get started. I’ll help you identify the best rocks for tumbling and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to find them. Let’s get to it!
Best Rocks for Tumbling
There are many types of rocks that you can tumble. But some are better than others. The best rocks for tumbling are smooth and with few flows.
I’ve rounded up rocks to tumble as follows:
Best Overall: Agate
Agate is one of the most popular tumbling rocks. You can find different varieties of Agate, including Plume, Moss, Iris, and Eye agate.
I would describe Agate as easy to work with. It’s a relatively soft rock, which makes it ideal for tumbling. Plus, it polishes up nicely.
Best Physical Properties: Quartz
Here are the reasons I choose Quartz as one of the best rocks for tumbling:
- This rock is hard, making it resistant to scratches and other damage when tumbling.
- It’s very smooth, which helps it polish up nicely.
- It’s brittle enough to break into smaller pieces if you want to.
Best Soft: Sodalite
Another prime candidate for tumbling is Sodalite.
Sodalite is evenly textured and a little softer than Quartz. But It’s still in the prime hardness range for tumbling. The soft and even texture makes it easy to shape and polish, and the results are always stunning.
Sodalite is relatively abundant, and you can find it in different colors. This makes it a great option if you’re looking for an attractive option for tumbled stones.
Best for Beginners: Jasper
Jasper is also a powerful tumbling stone. It comes in interesting patterns and colors, which makes a beautiful addition to your tumbling rocks collection.
Jasper is a bit harder than Agate. Its hardness means it can stand up to the tumbling process without damage.
I also find this rock smooth and won’t damage other rocks it comes into contact with.
Best for Professionals: Obsidian
Your tumbled rock collection cannot be complete without adding Obsidian. This volcanic rock is fairly rough and resembles a glass slag and comes in a multitude of colors and patterns.
Tumbling Obsidian may require a little expertise since it tends to bruise and chip easily. Plus, you may need to cushion the rock during tumbling by adding a buffer such as plastic beads. But with some precaution, you should be sure to get the best-polished product.
How to Find Good Rocks for Tumbling
There are a few things to look for when choosing rocks for tumbling. Here is a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Know Your Preferable Properties
When it comes to physical properties, consider the following:
- Hardness: The Mohs hardness scale will help you determine the best rocks for tumbling.
- Size and shape of rock: Choose similar rocks, so they tumble evenly and don’t get stuck in the tumbler.
- Texture: Avoid rocks with sharp edges or those with fractures. These can damage the tumbler or the rocks themselves.
- Minerals: The rocks you choose should be free of salt, minerals, or other contaminants. This will ensure that your tumbler runs smoothly and that your rocks come out looking their best.
Step 2: Find the Perfect Location for Rock Hunting
This could be online or out in nature and if you’re a die-hard rockhound then you’ll want to use our Rockhound Maps for every state. We’ve done all the work and compiled quite a few rock and mineral collecting locations.
If you choose to go outdoors, you can start scouring your local area for potential tumbling rocks. The best places to look are rivers, creeks, and beaches. You can also look for rocks in your backyard or a park.
Step 3: Identify and Pick the Rocks You Want
I recommend collecting Agate, Quartz, Charoite, Chalcedonies, Sodalite, or Jaspers.
These rocks are fairly hard and don’t fracture into little pieces when tumbled. They’ll also leave you with a high-quality polish and material you’ll be proud to own. So, if you can identify them, don’t hesitate to choose them.
Step 4: Organize Your Rocks for Tumbling
It’s time to assess the rocks for size, texture, shininess, fractures, and other elements. Be sure to:
- Separate rocks with holes or a bumpy feel if you want the perfect shine. These may end up ruining other rocks that you’re tumbling.
- Choose rocks of similar size so that they tumble evenly.
- Identify and separate rocks with minerals, salt, or other extra materials. These are not ideal for tumbling as the elements may react with the rocks you’re tumbling.
- Sort rocks with a smooth texture. The smoother the rock, the more shine it will have after tumbling.
- Avoid rocks with sharp edges or irregular surfaces. These can damage the tumbler or the rocks themselves.
That’s it. You’ll have found good rocks for tumbling.
Finding the best rocks for tumbling doesn’t have to be difficult. There are different types that you can choose from, and each one has its unique properties. You can either go by Agate, Quartz, Jasper, or Sodalite. But if you’re looking for something interesting, you can choose Obsidian or Charoite.
When finding rocks to tumble, you need to understand the properties you want. With a little research, you can find the perfect type of rock for your needs.