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This is something I've wanted to do since I got into rock tumbling several years ago so on St. Patrick's Day, 2007, I took the plunge and ordered some minerun emeralds. Of course, I had to take pictues to share with my RTH family and while posting the pics, I decided to do an emerald picture journal detailing my experience. It seems that nearly everyone who gets into tumbling wants to do emeralds, sapphires or rubies. Don't make it your first choice to tumble, go collect some rocks and learn how to do it first. Emeralds take FOREVER to finish ... or so I'm told, we'll see how it goes before I either give up or make them shine.

March 17, 2007
Ordered my first minerun emeralds, just under $40, including S&H. Three 1/2 pound lots, hopefully enough to fill my three pound barrel.

March 21, 2007
Emeralds arrived ... Woohoo!! Big excitement!! After the Ooooo's and Ahhhhhhhh's I started taking pics, then ran downstairs, weighed them and tossed them in a barrel to being their journey. The total weight for the three lots was 1.85 pounds, each one was a little over 1/2 a pound. All together they only filled half of the barrel, not optimum but I started them anyway. I'd really like to order more so I could get and keep the barrel up near the optimum tumbling level but they aren't that cheap.

If I don't get anymore emeralds, I'll probably collect some local quartz as a filler. Snow's almost gone so I should be able to go out and hunt some up to toss in the load and bring it up to 2/3rds to 3/4 full. Quartz is just slightly softer than the emeralds so should work ok.

To save on loading time, I'm using clickable thumbnails, a larger picture will open in a new window. The first three are each lot, followed by a few closeups. The blacker stuff is the matrix that I'm trying to tumble away. Sometimes it comes off easy, most of the time it doesn't. I've got my trusty dremel with some diamond burrs that I can use to carve it off if needed. These don't look like the jewelry store emeralds and you won't find those in the minerun lots but these are genuine emeralds. You never know what's hiding under the matrix.

Now comes the hard stuff - waiting! I promised myself not to look for at least a week ... patience where are you? I'll take new pics then, hopefully able to find the same ones I have closeups of here. I'm really curious about that big chunk, the 2nd closeup, wonder if it will fall apart ...
Barrel: 3 pound Lortone (33B)
Load: Only 1/2 full, not optimum but a start.
Grit: Three (3) level tablespoons of 60/90 coarse (sc).

March 23, 2007
I took a second plunge and bid on another lot of emeralds. Can't wait till tomorrow to see if I got them.

March 24, 2007
Woohoo!! My bid was good, I have another three (3) pounds of minerun emeralds on their way.

March 25, 2007
After reading some discussion on RTH, I got to thinking about how the barrel was only half full and wondering why I didn't add something ... anything to bring it up to the right level (2/3rds to 3/4's full). To my way of thinking, that was the exact reason I needed to open that barrel now instead of waiting another three days.

I was really surprised to see how much they'd gone down, I believe the tumbling action must have been quite good considering. After washing them off and putting them back in the barrel the mass had been reduced by a good quarter of an inch, the slurry wasn't bad, not the thickest but not watery either. There was some very fine grit left but not a lot. It was fun looking them over to see the changes.
Load: Full, just over 2/3rds. Added Lake Superior Agates and amethyst to finish load.
Grit: Three (3) level tablespoons of 60/90 coarse (sc).

1.) Emeralds that have very little or no matrix left on them. 2.) The whole lot together. 3.) Closeup of the big one in the 5th picture above. 4.) Closeup of the little crystal (6th pic above), you can see it's already rounding off on the edges. 5.) A few of the emeralds have red on them. 6.) A few have this sparkly stuff on them, don't know yet what it is.

March 27, 2007 My computer crashed. Man what a pain in the keister that was! I've recharged and took pics several times since then, a lot more spread out in time than I normally would do but with the emeralds it really doesn't seem to be making much difference. I'll have them up shortly dated for when I recharged and took pics.

April 2, 2007 Here's a few pics of the new ones I ordered, I was very pleased with my order from them. They also included a gift of some beautiful amethyst (pic below).

1.) The additional three pounds that I ordered (the whole lot together). 2.) The smaller sizes. 3.) The bigger chunks. 4.) The medium sizes. 5.) A nice big one with very little matrix on it at all. 6.) Another couple of nice bigger ones. 7.) Another with a lot of red on it. 8.) This one is from the first load and has been in the tumbler. 9.) The big one, pic 3 above 10.) Littler or no matrix, they are coming along but still went back in the barrel. 11.) The amethyst. The big one in the upper left is 326 carats. I'm sending it to my friend Ed in California. He makes the most stunning cabochons so I want to see what he can do with it. (See Ed's banner below).

April 12, 2007 I'm so bummed, I took notes while my computer was down, trying to keep track of things like the weight of the emeralds going in and the weight after tumbling but do you think I can find them? I don't remember the exact numbers but it was like 3.5 pounds going in and 2.9 after they were done and cleaned up. Sorry for the crappy pics. I can't seem to find a happy medium lately, it's either too bright or too cloudy.

1.) The whole lot. 2.) The red one after more tumbling, pic 8 above. That red is not going away, I thought it might tumble off faster but that's what I get for thinking. :o) 3.) The big one, pic 9 above. Wet this time so it would show better. 4.) Back side of the big one (previous pic). 5.) The crystal, rounding off quite a bit but still lots of matrix. 6.) Another peek at how they are looking with little or no matrix on them. They may not be big clear emeralds but they are fun!

More to come ...

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