How to Use Jewelers Rouge

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Jewelers rouge is a type of polishing compound that is used to buff soft, precious metals into a mirror-like finish. It consists of fine, abrasive fillers that are combined with greases to form liquids or a solid bar. Jewelers rouge may also be used to shine or smooth plastics and wood in addition to metals like gold, copper, brass, pewter, sterling silver and nickel plate.

Things You'll Need

  • Buffing wheel
  • Buffing wheel rake
  • Bench grinder/drill
  • Jewelers rouge bar
  • Warm water
  • Soap
  • Chamois

Rake the buffing wheel to remove traces of residual polishing compounds. Jewelry designers apply polishing compounds in order of coarseness; jewelers rouge is a fine finishing compound and polishing application typically used on otherwise finished pieces of jewelry.

Attach the buffing wheel to the bench grinder or to a drill. Turn on the grinder or drill to start the buffing wheel rotation. Hold the bar of jewelers rouge against the spinning buffing wheel. The wheel will pick up a small amount of jewelers rouge from the bar.

Hold the soft metal against the buffing wheel using only slight pressure. Allow the jewelers rouge to do the polishing work. Remove the metal away from the revolving wheel.

Inspect the surface of the metal. If it's still dull, hold the jewelers rouge against the buffing wheel again to apply more polishing compound. Hold the surface of the metal lightly against the buffing wheel.

Apply jewelers rouge to the wheel each time before pressing the surface of the metal against the wheel. Polish the entire jewelry surface.

Clean the polished metal with warm soapy water. Dry the jewelry with a chamois or a soft wool cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • If possible, designate specific buffing wheels to specific polishing compounds to avoid mixing course compounds with fine compounds. Single stitch buffing wheels, felt bobs or felt wheels work with jewelers rouge and other polishing compounds.
  • Apply a clear, metal lacquer to the polished jewelry surface to protect the finish from future oxidation.
  • Jewelers rouge can be used to smooth and buff plastic lenses with hairline scratches in them.
  • Be careful when using a buffing wheel and bench grinder. Use gloves to protect your fingers and safety goggles over your eyes.

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