Crafts and Activities

How to Make Tumbled Stone Jewelry + 4 Easy Projects

Girl is making new beaded jevellery
Written by Lauren Connally

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Making your own tumbled stone jewelry, whether it’s to give away as gifts, to wear yourself, or to sell at the market, is probably one of my favorite hobbies (especially to watch!)

While I don’t make a lot of my own jewelry, I used to frequent workshops at craft fairs and market days, where people would bring their own stones and findings to make into uniquely crafted pieces. (Though, I still enjoy a good macrame project during slower parts of the year.)

If you’re new to stone jewelry, we’ll cover a bit about tumbled stones. And if you’re more interested in that part, we also have some resources to help you get started with rock tumbling.

Let’s get started.

Learn how to make your own tumbled stone jewelry to wear, give as gifts, or sell at your local market days. Here are all the tools you need to get started! (Image shows various stones, minerals, gems on a yellow background.)

What are Tumbled Stones?

Tumbled stones have been put into a tumbler, a rotating barrel that wears down stones over the course of weeks, sometimes more than a month. This turns them into the smooth, rounded stones you’re probably used to seeing in stores.

How Do You Polish Rocks?

Polishing rocks typically takes a few weeks—this is the last phase of tumbling rocks. You use filler and very fine powder for polishing in the to polish stones in a tumbler for about a week.

Additionally, you can burnish stones to make them brighter, which typically brings out more vibrant colors in semiprecious stones.

Burnishing doesn’t always “work”—some stones don’t benefit from burnishing as much as others and retain their dull appearance. And some of your findings, like ocean glass, might look more appealing without burnishing, which can make them lose a bit of their “frosty” look.

Learn how to make your own tumbled stone jewelry to wear, give as gifts, or sell at your local market days. Here are all the tools you need to get started! (Image shows a girl making new beaded jewelry.)

Tools You’ll Need for Making Tumbled Stone Jewelry

Here’s a list of general kits and tools for tumbled stone jewelry-making that come in handy for a variety of projects.

It might seem a little silly that you would need more than a pair of pliers, but they all work a bit differently.

You have tiny roundnose pliers meant for making perfectly curved loops in your wire, while regular needlenose pliers can be used for just about everything. The 6-in-1 bail-making pliers are optional, but really convenient if you’re going to be doing lots of wire wrapping.

You’ll also want a solid pair of wire cutters.

I’ve also included the best all-inclusive kit I could find, so you don’t have to hunt all of these down individually. You won’t really need them all right off the bat, but it’s a great toolkit to get if you want to try out lots of different kinds of jewelry projects.

If you plan on using lots of charms in your work, you’ll definitely want to get a storage case with plenty of compartments—you’ll save a lot of time rather than trying to sort them, only to have to put them back in bags.

(Note: If you’re looking just to get the minimum, you’ll need at least a basic set of needlenose pliers and wire cutters for the projects below.)

Beadalon Round Nose Pliers, Ergo Style
Ergonomically designed; Precision-tip; Box joint construction; Double leaf spring construction
Cutters - Xuron Micro-Shear Flush 410
Country Of Origin: United States; Model Number: 410; Item Package Dimension: 8.299999991534" L x 2.899999997042" W x 0.599999999388" H
Pliers - Xuron Tweezer Nose 450
Fine, Precise "tweezer" like tips will handle the most delicate parts; Xuro-Rudber Cushioned Grips ensure operator comfort.
MeJell 24 Slot Velvet Glass Jewelry Box Organizer Rings Earrings Tray Display Storage Case
Size: 22 x 15.5 x 5cm, Inessive size: 3 x 3cm, 1 inch = 2.54cm
Learn how to make your own tumbled stone jewelry to wear, give as gifts, or sell at your local market days. Here are all the tools you need to get started! (Image shows a girl holding semi precious stone.)

Simple Jewelry Projects that Don’t Involve Drilling

Today, we’re just breaking the ice!

Here are some simple tumbled stone jewelry projects that don’t require a lot of extra tools and can be completed fairly quickly (and without a drill).

You can work on techniques like wire wrapping, macrame, or just display your stones in cage jewelry to avoid having to alter your stones too much by drilling holes into them.

How to Make a Stone Pendant Necklace

Stone pendant necklaces make fun projects. There are a few ways you can use stones in a necklace. Pendants are a little more common and you can use a few different techniques to create one.

Wire wrapping is pretty simple, but you may have seen jewelry makers create more detailed projects with beads on the wire.

If you just like the look of the stone on its own, it’s perfectly fine to stick with just the wire! They’re simple and show off your stone without covering it up. Here are some great video tutorials on wiring different stones, from more purposefully shaped stones to the oddballs.

Hypnotic Gems Natural Tumbled Stone Mix - 25 Pcs - Large Size - 1.25" to 1.75" - Average 1.5"
A Beautiful Assortment of 25 Pieces of All Natural Stones; Stone sizes are mostly 1.25" to 1.75" - Average 1.5" Size
Cabochon Waterdrop Teardrop Chakra Beads 12pcs 15X30mm CAB Healing Beads Crystal Quartz Stone Random Color Wholesale for Jewelry Making(No Holes)
Random Color,12pcs one lot wholesale price; Pendant Size: 30mm(1.18inch) X 15mm(0.59inch); Teardrop Cabochon
5pcs Natural Gemstone Teardrop 2230mm Cabochons for Jewelry Making Beads Cabs (Amethyst)
It is for ring or pendant; Real stone; no hole; not finished jewelry beads; 14 Days Return for any reason.
PH PandaHall 10 Pcs Natural Tiger Eye Stone Cabochons Oval Flatback Dome Tile Gemstones Beads 35x25x8mm for Jewelry Making
Size: about 25mm wide, 35mm long, 8mm thick. Quantity: about 10 pieces in total.; Material: Natural Tiger Eye Gemstone. Shape: Oval. Usage: Jewelry Craft Making.
Wholesale Lot 24pcs Multi-Color 25mm Gemstone Oval Cab Cabochon for Jewelry Making
QTY: 24pcs Randomly Mixed. You will receive 24 different cabochon, no duplicate; Cabochon Size: 25mm (1 inch) Height, 18mm Wide, Cabochon Thickess: 7mm to 10mm
WXJ13 Silver Stainless Steel Cable Chain Brand 11m 36FT Jewelry Making Chains with 20 Lobster Clasps and 30 Jump Rings for Pendant Necklace DIY Making 1.5mm
Length and size: link chain is 11 meters long and link size is 1.5 x 2.0 mm; Multipurpose chain: perfect for dog tags, jewelry, necklaces, anklets, etc

Quick and Easy Tumbled Stone Jewelry

If you’re looking for something a little simpler than wire wrapping, you can easily display your stones in caged jewelry. There are lots of holders that work perfectly for necklaces, bracelets, and even earrings if you’ve got some smaller stones or chips.

Be mindful of the size of your stones so they don’t slip out of larger fixtures (particularly spiral pendants). Smaller decorative cages are best for smaller stones. Here are some recommendations on both types:

24pcs 18 Inch 925 Silver Plated 1.2mm DIY Snake Chain Charms Link Necklace with Lobster Clasps for Jewelry Making
This snake chain is strong does not kink up and is very fluid.; It fits any Pendant,fit all our cmidy crystal pendants
10pcs Expandable Wire Blank Bangle Bracelet for DIY Jewelry Making, Stainless Steel Tone 65mm Cage Bracelet for Women
SHUHONEY Bangle - 10 pcs bangle,giving heart pearl cage,lava stone,pompoms
Hypnotic Gems Natural Tumbled Stone Mix - 25 Pcs - Small Size - 0.75" to 1" Avg.
A Beautiful Assortment of 25 Pieces of All Natural Stones; Stone sizes are mostly 3/4" to 1" Average
12pcs Silver Plated Pearl Bead Cage Locket Pendants Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace Bracelet With Lava Stone DIY Charms Jewelry Making
Material:High Quality copper,environmentally friendly technology,Lead and Cadmium Free
CrazyPiercing 10 Pack Bead Cages Pendants 25 x 20 mm with 10 Pack 24 Inches Snake Chain Necklaces
Both of them are 10 pack. Note : please catch the size about the cages.

Turn Your Polished Stone into a Keychain

If you have larger stones, you can wrap them with leather or another cord and turn them into a keychain for display on your keys, purse, or anything else you keep with you a lot.

Waxed thread is usually preferable, as it keeps stones in place a little better. You don’t want it to be too sticky, but a lightly waxed cord keeps it from slipping around too much and losing the shape that you made with the cord.

Projects like this are easy to replicate regardless of the shape of your stone. You can use a nylon cord or waxed thread (leather also looks nice), which can be a bit more comfortable than working with wire. (You can easily shorten the cord to work for a keychain.)

Add your favorite findings for a little extra decoration and jingling.

Making Jewelry Out of Sea Glass

If you have some sea glass around, you can easily turn it into beautiful pendants, like this one. (And if you don’t, you can often find manufacturers that recycle glass and make it look similar to the frosted, surf-worn glass you can find at the beach!)

All you need is hemp cord or another cord in the color of your choice. But with how muted sea glass colors tend to be, they look beautiful in pale cotton or hemp cord.  The mini Japanese boat floats from this tutorial make cute necklaces or nice additions to bracelets with ocean-themed charms.

Woman drawing a closeup of earrings, holding a tumbled stone for reference

Additional Resources

I’ve included some beginner to intermediate books on DIY tumbled stone jewelry so you can explore more projects:

Know a friend who would love to start this hobby with you? Share it with them!

You might also enjoy our guides on sea glass hunting and rock tumbling if you like finding your own pieces to use in your tumbled stone jewelry.

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Learn how to make your own tumbled stone jewelry to wear, give as gifts, or sell at your local market days. Here are all the tools you need to get started! #hobbiestostart #diyjewelry

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Lauren Connally

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