How to use jewelers rouge

Written by katherine kally
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Use jewellers rouge to buff and polish soft metals such as gold, copper, brass, pewter, sterling silver, silver plate, nickel plate, chrome plate, brass plate and copper plate. Jewellers rouge is a type of polishing compound that is used to buff soft, precious metals into a mirror-like finish. The buffing material consists of fine abrasive fillers that are combined with greases to form liquids or a solid bar. Jewellers rouge is also known as red rouge and may be used to shine or smooth plastics and wood, in addition to soft metals.

Skill level:

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Things you need

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

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  1. 1

    Rake the buffing wheel to remove traces of residual polishing compounds. Jewellery designers apply polishing compounds in order of coarseness; jewellers rouge is a fine finishing compound and can be the final polishing application.

  2. 2

    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 jewellers rouge against the spinning buffing wheel. The wheel will pick up a small amount of jewellers rouge from the bar.

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

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

  5. 5

    Apply jeweller's rouge to the wheel each time before pressing the surface of the metal against the wheel. Polish the entire jewellery surface.

  6. 6

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

Tips and 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 jewellers rouge and other polishing compounds.
  • Apply a clear, metal lacquer to the polished jewellery surface to protect the finish from future oxidation.

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