I've always used dry rice to polish chain maille jewelry or jump rings. It's easily available and relatively inexpensive. But lately I have switched to ground or crushed walnut shells. It's available from pet stores for reptile and bird cages.

The main reason is the sieving step. Most chain maille artisans would just tumble completed jewelry but I have to pre-tumble rings for workshops as students do not have tumblers at home. Besides who wants to work with dirty rings? I have not found a good sieve I was happy with for rice. It's hard to find a sieve which works for the long shape of the rice. Perhaps a reader could suggest one?

However with the smaller ground walnut shapes, I've been able to find improvised sieves. If you look at the picture below, the frozen microwave meal section of my local supermarket from one brand yielded a pair of plastic bowls, one of which was holed.

I just pour the contents of the tumbler barrel - rings and walnut shells bits into the makeshift sieve. The small walnut pieces goes through the holes with some side to side shakes. The walnut bits collect in the lower plastic bowl and are returned to the tumbler barrel.

The nice thing about the plastic bowls is their flexibility which makes pouring easier. Just squeeze!

If you have ever wet tumbled bright aluminum rings incorrectly (who, me?) and gotten a horrible grey matte finish, CherryFire's restoring over-tumbled bright aluminum tutorial is worth a look. Walnut shells are used as well.

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips