I am excited to report that I got a new toy today:  a magnetic tumbler.  I love anything that makes my job easier!

It is very easy to use.  The first thing I did before putting any jewelry into it was clean the magnetic tumbler pins.  To do this, I put a small amount of pins into the air/water-tight plastic container:

Next, I put about an inch of water into the container:

I then put a very small amount of liquid soap (purchased from the jewelry supply store) into the container.  You can eyeball this but really, just put a very small amount, like a quarter ounce.

It’s hard to see the soap in this photo, but it will help give you and idea of how much to put in:

Next, pop the top securely on the container and place it on top of the tumbler.  You will feel the magnetic pull.  Set the timer for about 30 minutes and flip the power switch up.


After the 30 minutes is up, you will need to rinse the container and the metal tumbler pins.  You might want to use a strainer for this, although it’s not necessary.  Pour out the soapy water and rinse until the water runs clear.  You can also take a paper towel and wipe the sides of the container if there is any leftover debris.

The process for tumbling jewelry is exactly the same.  Fill the container with the clean tumbler pins with water and soap, then put the jewelry you want to clean into the container.


In this case, I put some headpins I wanted to clean, some finished jewelry (including chain), and even some stones.  I wouldn’t put anything too soft (like turquoise or coral) into a tumbler but in this case (quartz) it’s okay.  If you have any doubt about a stone, don’t do it.


Set the timer for 30 or 40 minutes, and flip the power switch.  When the jewelry is done, you will need to rinse it and dry it.

Here are some of the finished pieces that will be going into my Etsy store later!


When you are not using it, be sure to take the plastic container holding the tumbler pins off the base so they don’t become de-magnetized.  It’s also a good idea to unplug the machine when not in use.  To prevent rust, store the pins in the container with water and rinse them (as explained above) before using the tumbler again.

I got my tumbler at A to Z Jewelry Supply in Downtown Los Angeles, but there are many different online retailers and brands to choose from.

10 Replies to “Using a Magnetic Tumbler”

  1. Zelda says: February 4, 2014 at 3:02 am

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added-
    checkbox and now whenever a comment is added
    I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service?
    Many thanks!

    1. Holly West says: February 4, 2014 at 11:31 am

      Zelda, I can’t see where you initially commented, so I can’t remove it. Which one is yours?

  2. Holly says: November 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I honestly don’t know. My jewelry doesn’t come out completely matte, it’s shiny enough for me, but not as shiny as if I polished it with a polisher. That fits my style.
    I have actually backed off making jewelry lately, and it’s been awhile since I used my tumbler. I am, however, getting ready to make some in the next few weeks–If I come up with any answers for you I’ll let you know.

  3. Cathy Wienburg says: November 30, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Hi Holly
    I am in Cape Town, South Africa and bought a tumbler overseas. I have just used it and to my horror, all the jewellery (silver) has come out MATT. Very clean but dull. I am using very fine metal rods which were sold to me when I purchased the machine. Any tips?

  4. Melanie says: April 29, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I just came upon this post because I need to buy a tumbler, so now that I see how easy this is, I’m absolutely getting one! Thank you for the info!!

  5. Brian says: December 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Hello – I was hoping that you might know, how fast does the magnetic tumbler spin???

  6. Dralexanderbart says: December 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    can you put diamonds into the tumbler without damaging them?

  7. Holly says: March 20, 2008 at 9:09 am

    No, jewelry stores use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean the jewelry. The tumbler is used to polish, work harden, and clean.

  8. Antoinette says: March 19, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Is this what jewelry stores use to clean jewelry? I’ve never heard of it. Why is it good to have it magnetized?
    New toys are ALWAYS fun!

Leave a Reply