How choose tumbled stones ?

What are tumbled stones ?

Tumbled stones

Small fragments of rocks, minerals or polished crystals without predefined shape, the tumbled stones were first designed for collection or decoration. They have the advantage of being inexpensive, not bulky but also not very fragile. They are therefore very suitable for children who would like to start a small collection of stones and many are the big collectors who started with an agate, an amethyst or a polished tiger's eye.

Since the 2000s' and the advent of lithotherapy, reiki and bio, tumbled stones have been present everywhere. They are found at all mineralshows and markets, they have also conquered the web and are featured in many magazines for the general public as well as in the media. This profusion of tumbled stones and this sudden fame, make the good choice could be difficult...

The price of tumbled stones

As mentioned earlier in the introduction, tumbled stones have the advantage of being offered at low prices. But a small price is something quite relative and subjective, something that many sellers play on. In absolute terms, the parameters influencing the price of a tumbled stone are : the rarity / availability, the color, the size and the polishing mode (on this subject, see our article : How are tumbled stones made ?) .

Most of the sellers buy all their tumbled stones from wholesalers specializing in minerals. Sales prices per kilo vary little from one wholesaler to another, but are a function of the quantities purchased.

So it is common to see significant differences in prices depending on the seller on identical tumbled stones (these differences can range from simple to quadruple). In order to avoid paying too expensive a tumbled stone, it is important to identify the "classics", that is to say the stones which are very easy to find and which everyone offers. It is also easy to compare prices online today, but be careful to compare prices for stones of identical size, quality / color and origin. A 6 cm tumbld stone will necessarily be more expensive than a same one of 2 cm. Also keep in mind that for tumbled stones a high price is not necessarily a guarantee of quality, nor of authenticity or rarity...

Our desire is to offer you natural tumbled stones at the best possible prices, so we buy in very large quantities in order to be able to offer very attractive prices and we also produce. Today we have a stock of over 500 kg of tumbled stones !

How to find rare tumbled stones ?

When building a collection, you always want to stand out by finding the unique piece that other collectors will not have. The tumbled stone market is very oriented by what the wholesalers offer. It is therefore not always easy to find certain stones, either because they are expensive at the wholesaler and that few resellers buy them (a high selling price is often synonymous with low flow and small margin), or because no wholesaler offers it. But then what to do ?

Some sellers like us make some of their tumbled stones themselves. We have 8 tumbling machines and a diamond cabbing machine which allow us to produce hard materials polished in series and softer materials polished by hand. This is why you will find unique tumbled stones in our collections and always at the best prices. We polish French stones, but also rare materials not found in this form : afghanite, augite, baryte, carrollite, cinnabar, dioptase, hackmanite, plancheite, peridotite, zircon, and many more...

We also adapt to demand, and can make special tumbled stones on request, or even transform a pebble that you have picked up yourself.

True afghanite tumbled stones
Cinnabar tumbled stones
Hackmanite tumbled stones
Peridotite tumbled stones

Watch out for fake tumbled stones !

As in all areas, some unscrupulous sellers (or lack of knowledge) sell synthetic materials as "natural stones". These fake tumbled stones have a watered-down appearance or color that is generally flashy. Among the great classics we have blue or green colored glasses (but potentially of any color) sold under the name obsidian ; opalite which is an opalescent effect glass ; blue, green or more frequently coppery goldstones which are glasses with inclusions of copper shavings and sometimes sold under the name of sunstone (a natural stone which exists in tumbled stones) ; quartz or cracked glass then dyed...
Opalite tumbled stones
Opalite a fake tumbled stone that simulates opal
Multicolor glass tumbled stones
Synthetic glasses in tumbed stones sometimes sold under the obsidian trade name...
Golstone tumbled stones
Goldstones sometimes sold under the sunstone trade name...
Craked dyed quartz tumbled stones
Glass or quartz cracked by thermal shock and then dyed

Certain stones also undergo treatments (they can be heated or dyed) in order to modify their colors or their appearance. This also makes it possible to artificially increase the number of varieties available on the market. In order to sell these stones new varieties and new commercial names are proposed. These treatments are almost never indicated. If it is widely accepted for citrine, bull's eye or onyx, the dye is much less so. Among the artificially dyed stones we note agates, dalmatian / zebra jaspers, howlite (dyed in blue it is sometimes sold under the name of turquoise).

Heated citrine  tumbled stones
Citrine, systematically made from heated amethyst
Dyed agate tumbled stones
Dyed tumbled agates
Dyed howlite tumbled stones
Howlite dyed in blue color to simulates turquoise
Dyed dalmatian jasper tumbled stones
Dyed dalmatian jasper
Finally, some sellers voluntarily modify the names of classic tumbled stones in order to facilitate their sale. Recently, the term "Afghanite" has appeared to designate azurite granites also called K2 jaspers. Afghanite is the name of a rare and fluorescent blue mineral that we are the only ones to produce in tumbled stones...

How then to avoid being tricked ? Already, it is best to contact sellers offering collectable minerals and / or gemstones for sale. Quality minerals and gemstones are the guarantee of good knowledges. A seller clearly indicating the treatments applied is also a guarantee of seriousness. We do not sell synthetic stones, some of our stones are treated, however, the treatments are systematically indicated in the description of the product.