Tumble Polishing

We highly recommend the use of a rock tumbler and stainless steel shot for cleaning and polishing jewelry. We favor that method so much that most of this page and all the photos are devoted to explaining in detail exactly how to do it, despite the fact that we don't sell tumblers or any supplies for them. We hope you find the information helpful and delight in the relentless shine of the finished product as much as we do.

Until you get a tumbler, or for those times when it isn't convenient to use one, have a look at our page on Other Polishing Methods.

This series of photos with notations details, step by step, how to use a tumbler to polish jewelry. They illustrate everything you need to know to put your new tumbler to good use. Click the first photo and use the side arrows to view the rest.

What Does It Do?

Tumbling with steel shot will shine your jewelry like nothing you've ever seen before. That's not an exaggeration. However high your expectations, you'll still be shocked at the shine the first time and every time for a good long while. You'll wonder how you lived without a tumbler. Everyone does once they see the results.

We tumble all our metals, sterling, Argentium, copper, bronze, palladium and platinum sterling, 18K gold and gold filled. Our normal process keeps the rings separated by metal type, but I often mix metals in my jewelry and so know that all these metals can be tumbled together. Care must be taken, however, in choosing which gemstones to tumble together. Very hard stones could cause damage to very soft stones in the tumbling process. When in doubt, tumble separately.

How Does It Work?

Burnishing is the technical term for what the tumbler does to your jewelry. It's as though your jewelry is being pounded millions of times by tiny little hammers. Although you're likely to hear rumors to the contrary, tumbling is not abrasive and does not remove any material from the surface of the metal. It does not damage metal in any way at all. It will knock off minor burrs if you have them (you won't if you're using our rings *s*) leaving behind something that looks like glitter, and it will burnish away mild scratches. It will not remove gouges, though it will smooth them and make them very shiny. Like all forms of burnishing, tumbling hardens the outer layer of the metal. The net effect can be significant hardening if the metal is very thin, such as headpins, but less dramatic with heavier metals. Although it doesn't seem as though it would be, tumbling is very gentle. Even the most delicate pieces will emerge brilliantly polished and completely unmangled... unless tangling occurs. Even thin headpins will emerge still straight, as long as they don't get tangled with something else and bent as a result. For this reason, you'll want to be careful what sorts of items you tumble together. You'll learn best about that with experience.

What Do I Need?

There are rotary tumblers and vibratory tumblers. We don't use vibratory tumblers (actually, we do now... I'll add an update), but I understand that they work faster than rotary tumblers but also require more shot and are loud and tend to 'walk' with the vibration. We have eight rotary tumblers of two different brands, Lortone and Thumler. Rotary tumblers sound soothing, like a waterfall, they don't walk around and we're not in too much of a hurry to appreciate that. You'll need to choose according to your own needs and preferences, of course, but the information here all relates to the rotary type.

The Lortone 3A is a good tumbler in a good size for jewelry. Search for the best prices, but it will probably cost around $60. The double barreled tumbler is the Lortone 33B. The barrels are identical and interchangeable and the double barreled 33B can run just fine with only one barrel loaded.

You'll need about two pounds of mixed, stainless steel shot to go in it. One pound will work, it just takes longer to get the shine. More than two pounds is likely to bog down the motor because of the weight. Stainless steel shot costs more than carbon steel, but it doesn't rust and become ruined in the absence of perfect caretaking so it's worth the extra investment.

It's not a good idea to use just one shape of shot because no matter which shape you get, that one shape won't touch every tiny nook and cranny of your jewelry pieces the way using all the shapes together will. You can, however, live without pins, so get the shot without pins, if you can find it. They don't hurt the jewelry, but they're a pain to pick out of chain and hollow beads and you don't need them. The purpose of pins is to get into very deep areas, so you might want them if you're doing something unusual such as tumbling Bali silver with the intention of removing every bit of the color from the crevices to leave them totally bright and shiny. The darkness in the crevices is what brings out the detail in Bali silver, though, so removing all of the color will generally leave it looking pretty bland. Tumbling Bali silver without pins definitely lightens it and brings up the shine on the high spots, but it leaves enough darkness in the low places to keep the detail.

I've read that pins can leave ping marks on flat, polished expanses of sterling and copper. I haven't personally experienced this, but I felt I should mention the possibility just in case. If you can't find mixed shot without pins, you can always pick them out or, better yet, use a sieve with holes big enough to let them pass through and shake your new shot around in it til they all fall out. In addition to the tumbler and the shot, all you need is Dawn dishwashing liquid.

Dawn is a degreasing dishwashing liquid commonly available in the US. Original blue Dawn or Dawn Ultra (also blue) both work well in tumblers. If Dawn is not available where you live, look for a degreasing dishwashing liquid that does not contain bleach, moisturizers or other additives. We've heard that Fairy Liquid and Simple Green both work well, though we have not tested either of them ourselves.

What Do I Do With It?

There are as many 'recipes' for tumbling as there are people who do it and much of the advice people give is conflicting. In addition to the several hundred troy ounces of sterling rings we tumble every week, I've tumbled every piece of jewelry I've ever made and the shine speaks for itself. This is the way we do it and what we recommend.

Run a new tumbler for a couple of hours with nothing but the shot, enough water to cover it and a couple of healthy squirts of Dawn the first time. Rinse the tumbler and shot well afterward, then you're ready to go.

With the clean shot in the tumbler, add the jewelry (you can polish multiple pieces together, but fine chains will tangle and earring wires will tangle with chain, as well), a healthy squirt of Dawn and enough water to cover everything. Put the lid on snugly and tumble from half an hour to overnight. As long as you put the lid on correctly, you don't need to worry about it sudsing up and blowing off. There have been times we've used more Dawn than any sane person ever would and the only time we've had even a minor bubble leak was when we didn't put the lid on well. Despite hundreds of hours of tumbling in multiple tumblers and running through many cases of Dawn, we've never had a single leak that amounted to more than a tablespoon of suds... so no worries.

Some stones require special care. Amber can be ruined in a tumbler because it can't stand to be soaked in water. Soft stones such as turquoise and malachite can lose their polish and become dull. Brittle stones such as opal can shatter, pearls can have their nacre damaged, emeralds can seep oily resin and make a mess of everything else, as well as themselves... so you polish all beads and gems at your own risk. It's always better to test tumble a lone bead or two than to take the chance of ruining a finished piece. Having said all that, though, I have to also say I've never had anything ruined in the tumbler and I tumble everything. (Except amber; I've never tumbled that because I ruined some once just soaking it in water.) Your mileage might vary, of course, so always test tumble a single bead if you are at all unsure. As mentioned before, mixing soft stones with hard stones can result in damage to the soft stones. (Compare stones on the Mohs Scale if you aren't sure of their relative hardness.) Any time you feel worried, tumble an item alone; it's always the safest tumbling option.

Use great caution when draining your shot into the sink. Always use a good sieve that can take the weight. If you drop even one piece of shot down the drain on the garbage disposal side, get it out by any means necessary before the disposal is turned on. It only takes one piece of shot to ruin a garbage disposal. (Update... sometime after posting this page, someone told me about getting a bit of shot out of the disposal by holding a wadded up piece of bread with a pair of tongs and pressing the shot into it while holding a flashlight to see down the disposal. You might want to keep that method in mind, just in case.)

If you ever open your tumbler and find everything in there has turned mysteriously dark, don't panic. Although people often insist you need only one drop of Dawn, there is a limit to how much crud -- for lack of a more technical term -- can be held in suspension by one drop of Dawn. If your jewelry has turned uniformly dark, it simply means that the crud removed has overloaded the amount of Dawn you used and been uniformly redeposited onto your jewelry. Rinse out the black water, put in fresh water and considerably more Dawn and tumble again. The answer to the mysterious darkness is always more Dawn.

The Mysterious Darkness

In our own experience, the mysterious darkness is always caused by overloading the Dawn (which is a degreasing dishwashing liquid) with more than it can hold in suspension. Dirty shot, base metal contaminants and even hard water can all contribute to what has to be held in suspension. If the problem is very bad, the shot and jewelry will need to be cleaned separately prior to tumbling again. See the follow up below for information on how to do that.

There is, evidently, a second type of jewelry darkening, though, related to using a tumbler barrel made of a lower quality rubber. A really bad smell appears to be a clue to that problem. See the follow up and be sure to read the comments for more information from our customers on how to deal with that problem.

Traditional Jewelers' Methods

Given all the benefits of tumble polishing and all the risks of using traditional jewelers' polishing methods, especially for chain, it makes no sense at all to polish chain by traditional methods. A tumbler will remove minor burrs, burnish and harden the metal, deliver an absolutely breathtaking shine and all while you're off doing something else productive with your time. A tumbler is an inexpensive investment, it does not produce nasty dust for you to breathe and it will never, ever snatch off one of your fingers. Just don't polish chains by traditional methods anymore; it's not healthy and it's not smart. Just the facts, no offense intended. Please keep in mind that we don't sell tumblers, shot or Dawn and we don't recommend any particular vendor who does. We include this detailed information on tumble polishing purely as a service to our customers, because it results in the best shine for the least effort, it's absolutely safe and environmentally friendly. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Just the Faqs, Ma'am

Hello! I came to your site to purchase sterling rings but in browsing I came across your recommendations regarding tumble-polishing. I have a question and I've searched high and low without finding a suitable answer. Since you seem very knowlegable, I hope you can help! Can you safely tumble jewelry made using Swarovski crystal beads? What about glass beads?

The answers are yes and yes. It's always possible that something could have a flaw in it, like a crack in a crystal or a lampwork glass bead that wasn't annealed properly, and the tiny pinging in the tumbler could make that flaw show itself... but if that happens, the flaw was already there and the bead would have broken sooner or later anyway. Better it happens while you still have it then after you've sent it off to a customer. Still, though, in all my years of tumbling every thing I make, including plenty of Swarovski and glass, I've never had a casualty, so you're pretty safe. Anytime you're in doubt, though, just sacrifice a bead and tumble it alone. *s*

Note: It's generally not a good idea to tumble anything with a coating on it. I don't use the Swarovski crystals with coatings myself, but I've heard tumbling can dull the shine. Just FYI.

More on Tumbling

We get a lot of questions about tumble polishing jewelry so consider this part 2.

Vibratory versus Rotary

We've added a couple of vibratory tumblers since the tumbling page was written so I can now offer some comparative information. The vibratory definitely works faster. Some people claim the vibratory is more gentle and maybe it is, since everything in it shuffles around on top of the shot rather than rolling in it, but since I've never had anything, even the most delicate wire earrings or stones, damaged in a rotary, I don't know that more gentle is of any actual benefit. The vibratory is quite loud and requires a good deal more shot. Since the shot can cost more than a tumbler, this can be a bad thing. Gary prefers the vibratory tumblers because they hold a lot and they're faster but he's tumbling massive numbers of rings. I still prefer the rotary tumblers for jewelry because I'm never tumbling great quantities at once, I'm never in a huge hurry and it makes a soothing, swishy sound that isn't annoying.

Hardening: Fact or Myth?

Some people say that tumbling doesn't actually harden the metal. I know otherwise because of an experiment we did when we got our first vibratory.

Gary wanted to know how long we should tumble rings in the vibratory in order for them to match the hardness of the rings tumbled in the rotary. He tumbled four batches of 16g/4.5mm rings in increments, increasing by a half hour each time, and put cryptic labels on them so I wouldn't know which was which. I made a bit of chain using our normal rotary tumbled rings in the same size, then I worked with each of the mystery batches of rings to find the one that most closely matched the stiffness of our usual rings. I picked out the match, but I also put the mystery batches in order from the least time tumbled to the greatest, based on how hard the rings were. If the rings weren't hardened by the tumbling, I don't see how it would have been possible to order them as I did. The difference was significant enough that it was quite easy to order them correctly.

Stones and Glass

I still tumble everything I make and I still haven't had any damage... except for one small thing. I tumbled some pink mystic topaz which is actually white topaz with a coating on it that makes it pink. I forgot it was in the tumbler, left it all night, and it was white topaz when I took it out. So again, tumbling anything with a coating is risky business. It could probably tolerate a short tumble but not all night. I recommend test tumbling a single bead when it's important. I wish I'd taken my own advice on that because those earrings were really nice when they were pink. ~wry smile~

If you tumble a dyed stone, it's very likely to lose its dye. The answer to that, of course, is don't use dyed stones. They're going to bleed on your customers' skin anyway so it's better to just avoid them altogether.

Gun Stores

Evidently, vibratory tumblers are used to polish shells for reloading and so are available in gun stores and at a better price. Be aware that weight is an issue with tumblers and stainless steel shot is very heavy. If the tumbler is intended for use with ground walnut shells, rice or some other weightless tumbling media, steel shot is likely to overload the motor's capacity. Also, some of those tumblers are meant for dry media only and can't take the water and soap used with stainless steel shot. So if you shop for a tumbler at a gun store or some other alternative outlet, ask about the weight capacity and ask about using water in it.

Note: The stainless steel shot used for tumbling jewelry is not the same thing as shot used in shotgun shells. Don't buy gun shot for tumbling jewelry.

Yellowed Silver

If you've read our tumble polishing jewelry page, you've seen the bit about the mysterious darkness. Yellowing is the first stage of that darkness, just like it's the first stage of tarnishing. If you get yellow, brown, grey or black on your metal and you've followed the directions for rinsing the tumbler and shot, adding clean water and a lot more Dawn, given it another tumble and it still hasn't gone away, you need to do two things.

First clean your jewelry using the aluminum foil method (below).

Once your jewelry is clean, you have to figure out what contaminated your tumbler. Base metal of any sort is usually the culprit. Some people say that black comes off the inside of the tumbler barrel and gets on the jewelry but I've never known that to be the case and we've done more tumbling than most people will in a lifetime. Of course, we only use Dawn in ours so it's possible that people using some other cleaning compound, perhaps something that damages rubber, would have different experiences. We have worn out tumblers to the point that the metal barrel was peeking through the rubber inside and contaminating the sterling, though, so watch for that if your tumbler barrel is metal and you've used it a lot or the rubber has been damaged in some way.

Tumble scrap sterling to test your tumbler so you don't risk jewelry while you're cleaning it up. If Dawn isn't working to get the black out, put a lot of baking soda in your tumbler with the shot and water and tumble it overnight. Rinse the shot and tumbler really thoroughly because baking soda is slightly abrasive. Then test tumble some scrap sterling with Dawn and water again. I've never seen a case of an undamaged barrel that wasn't cleaned by this method.

Aluminum Foil Method

Line the bottom of a glass pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Boil water. Lay the jewelry on the foil (it must be touching aluminum) and sprinkle it with a generous amount of washing soda*. Let the boiling water cool a bit and pour it in the pan to cover the jewelry. Bear in mind that some stones are sensitive to heat. I cracked some fluorite doing this but that's been my only casualty. You'll see bubbles forming. Very quickly, the tarnish will jump off the jewelry and get on the aluminum. It just takes a minute, then you can remove and rinse the jewelry and it'll look nice again.

* Washing soda is an old fashioned laundry additive that might be difficult to find locally. Fortunately, you can easily make washing soda out of baking soda. Baking soda will work in this process but it doesn't work as well as washing soda.

Where to Buy Stainless Steel Shot

There are many places to get it but it's hard to buy something you've never seen before, so here's a link: 

Stainless Steel Shot

I would recommend two of those with a 3lb. Lortone tumbler but 1 pound will work, it just takes longer.

If you have tumbler questions, please feel free to post them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.

Stones: To Tumble or Not?

Here's a question from the mailbag that I thought might make a good topic of discussion. Please feel free to comment with your own experiences and we might just create the requested resource ourselves.

"Do you know of a resource that tells you which gems/semi-precious that can/can't be tumble polished with stainless steel? I am looking for a general resource, but specifically moonstone."

I don't know of a definitive resource and I don't really see how there could be one because a lot depends on the quality of the stone. Low quality stones that have cracks and fissures or are chalky aren't as likely to take the millions of tiny pings of tumbling as well as higher quality, more solid stones. And that's just one example of a difference... any stone could have a flaw that doesn't show itself until it's tumbled. The way I see it, though, that flaw is going to show itself sooner or later and I'd rather see it while I still have it then after its gone to a customer.

If you're concerned, the best thing to do, in my opinion, is sacrifice the least appealing stone in the strand and tumble it alone. There's usually at least one stone that's a little wonky so throw it in the tumbler overnight, examine it closely the next morning and you'll know what to expect. As for moonstone, I've tumbled it dozens of times and never had a casualty so you're probably pretty safe with that one.

Polishing: Other Methods

If you've ever polished the family silver, you've had your introduction to cleaning sterling by means of chemical compounds. There are sprays and dips intended for use on jewelry, as well, but because we prefer to keep our chemical use to a minimum, we have no experience with them. These are the methods we've used.

Polishing Cloths

Polishing cloths are portable and easy to use. The brand we carry, Sunshine Polishing Cloths, are generally most favored because they do an excellent job of cleaning and removing tarnish without the mess of rouge impregnated polishing cloths. They're recommended for all precious metals and can be used until the cloth is completely black on both sides. They are not washable and should be thrown away at that point.

Baking Soda Paste

Before I had a tumbler, I cleaned and polished my sterling using a paste of baking soda and water and an old toothbrush. It really brings out the shine and I recommend this method whenever a tumbler isn't available. To clean deeply tarnished sterling, the piece can be covered with the paste in a bowl and left to soak overnight. I ruined some amber that way once, though, so use caution and don't leave any questionably soft gems to soak.

Aluminum Foil & Washing Soda

Line the bottom of a glass pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Boil water. Lay the jewelry on the foil (it must be touching aluminum) and sprinkle it with a generous amount of washing soda*. Let the boiling water cool a bit and pour it in the pan to cover the jewelry. Bear in mind that the water must be very hot and some stones are sensitive to heat. I cracked some fluorite doing this but that's been my only casualty. You'll see bubbles forming. Very quickly, the tarnish will jump off the jewelry and get on the aluminum. It just takes a minute, then you can remove and rinse the jewelry and it'll be bright again.

You know those kits sometimes advertised on tv that are said to remove tarnish like magic? This is how they work. They come with an aluminum plate but otherwise this is the same method. If you use this method frequently, you might consider getting such a kit because the plate is convenient and reusable but try it this way first to make sure you like it.

This method is particularly good for removing tarnish from coils and other tight places. It leaves sterling and argentium very white but not necessarily shiny. If you find that your now very clean jewelry still needs a shine, you can use a tumbler, a polishing cloth, or the mild abrasive action of the baking soda paste method, as described above.

* Washing soda is an old fashioned laundry additive that might be difficult to find locally. Fortunately, you can easily make washing soda out of baking soda. Baking soda will work in this process but it doesn't work as well as washing soda.

Cleaning and Polishing Copper

A mixture of lemon juice and salt or white vinegar and salt is a very effective solution for cleaning copper. You might have seen half a lemon salted and used to scrub copper bottom pots. For jewelry, dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a cup of lemon juice or vinegar (measurements are fairly arbitrary and can be adjusted as you see fit) and keep the mixture in a jar with a lid. Drop the jewelry in the jar, swish it around for a moment, then remove, rinse, rub it all over with baking soda to neutralize it, then rinse it again. However mild, lemon juice and vinegar are still acids and you don't want to leave acid sitting on your jewelry. If it isn't neutralized, it will form microscopic pits in the metal, increasing the surface area so that even more tarnish can develop. (Thanks to Kate for that tip!) You can clean copper this way as often as you like. When the mixture begins to dry up, just add water to reconstitute it. (In a pinch you can also use ketchup to clean copper. It's messy but it works because it's quite acidic and contains a lot of salt.)

If you find that your copper turns out pink and clean but looks a bit matte, polish while you neutralize by making a paste of baking soda and water and using an old toothbrush to gently scrub the copper chain in the palm of your hand. It will have the most beautiful, rich gleam afterward, different from the blinding shine of the tumbler, more of a deep understated glow.

This method can also be used for jewelry that contains both copper and sterling. The acid and salt solution doesn't appear to do much to the sterling but the baking soda paste on a toothbrush will, so at the end of that process, both metals will be gleaming.

Will Copper Make My Skin Turn Green?

Copper oxidizes by darkening and then turning green, just as sterling does so by tarnishing and iron does so by rusting. It's a natural process and the environment determines how quickly it happens. It happens faster in high humidity, but the speed of oxidation is also affected by the body chemistry of different people. Some people wear copper every day and it never turns green and some people wear it and it turns in one day. Some people can turn sterling dark in one day, too. We're all different in that way. You can seal your copper jewelry so that it can't turn. That's not something I do, but I've read recommendations for something called Renaissance Wax, Krylon clear acrylic spray paint and something you can buy at music stores intended for use on brass instruments. Before you decide to use something to seal your copper, though, at least consider the possible therapeutic benefits of leaving it natural. We make no claims for copper because we don't know, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest it might be helping people with arthritis. Pepper, one of our dear customers and friends, has a theory about this, quoted below with her permission.

"People with high levels of acid in their systems will react to copper against their skin. High acid levels in the human body are a contributing factor for arthritis. People who wear copper bracelets are thought to have the acid in their system drawn out by the copper. Yes, for a period of time the skin will turn dark colors. Once the acid levels have gone down due to the copper extracting the acid from the body then the copper will no longer turn the skin colors. The arthritis is alleviated. The body works best with a neutral pH balance. Not too much acid and not too much alkaline, around a pH of 7. Yes, you can coat it with a film to keep it from reacting to skin, but why? Just place a copper piece of jewelry in an inconspicuous place on your body -- winter would allow it to be worn on ankle -- and let a few days go by, wash the area daily, and then see if the discoloring still occurs. Also see if you start to feel physically better. If you wear your copper jewelry every day and wash it as you bathe then it will not turn colors and will stay as shiny as a new penny. Hope this helps answer some questions! My opinions above and not that of a medical doctor." -- PEPPER

Brad, another customer and friend, did a little research on this topic recently and, with his permission, we've added his findings below. If you have customers interested in the possible therapeutic benefits of wearing copper, Brad's work will give you excellent jumping off points for further reading.

"While it is true that copper reacts to an acid environment, it's not necessarily true that it is reacting to a low pH factor in the blood. There are a number of body systems which all have their own specifically preferred pH. 1) Normal arterial and venous blood must maintain a slightly alkaline pH, arterial blood pH = 7.41 and venous blood pH = 7.36; 2) Normal interstitial fluids and connective tissue pH is 7.34 and 7.40, a slightly more acid profile because body cells dump as much free hydrogen (H+) as possible, buffering the blood; 3) Urine is slightly acid in the morning (pH = 6.5 - 7.0) generally becoming more alkaline (pH = 7.5 - 8.0) by evening in healthy people, primarily because no food or beverages are consumed while sleeping. (I could go on with this, but you get the point.) So, going on to the reason for the green. This really boils down to basic chemistry. There are several green copper salts which are combinations of the metal copper and various other chemicals. The Statue of Liberty is a good example of the exposure of copper to the environment which causes oxidation and the production of green salts. Now for the skin. When our bodies sweat we are releasing chemicals that are generally acidic in nature and will cause metals to corrode, at least on the surface, to a salt compound of the metal. The green on your skin near the copper is the direct result.

"Now to take this a couple of steps further. In the book, What Your Doctor Won't Tell You, by Jane Heimlich (wife of the inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver, Dr. Henry Heimlich) the question is asked, "Is there any scientific validity to the belief that wearing a copper bracelet relieves arthritis pain?" She answers: "An Australian Chemist, Dr W. Ray Walker, of the University of Newcastle, decided to find answers for himself. He was aware that a copper-aspirin compound was known to have anti-inflammatory effects and that copper chelates were used as arthritis drugs from the 1940s to the 1950s in France and Germany. He knew that the world's oldest medical text, the Egyptian Ebers papyrus, recommends pulverized copper to treat various types of inflammation. Walker also knew that when copper is in contact with the skin, it forms chelates with components of human sweat and is thus absorbed through the skin.

"So to find out if copper bracelet users know something that scientists ought to know, Walker embarked on a study with 300 arthritis sufferers, half of whom had previously worn copper bracelets. Copper bracelet users were asked not to wear their bracelets for one month. Other subjects who had never worn a copper bracelet were given two bracelets - one made of copper, the other a placebo (aluminum) - and asked to wear each bracelet for one month. Subjects did not know which bracelet was copper and which the placebo. As a check on whether subjects wore their bracelets, each copper bracelet was weighed before and after a month's use. (A bracelet decreases in weight as it is worn owing to absorption of copper.)

"During the course of the study, previous copper bracelet users reported they were significantly worse when not wearing their copper bracelets. The majority of the other subjects said that they felt their best during the month when they wore the copper bracelet. Said Walker, a copper bracelet may not release as much copper as a copper-aspirin chelate but think of it as a time-release source of copper that desensitizes the individual to irritants associated with chronic inflammation." [Heimlich 1990]

A couple of other interesting quotes: "Renewed interest in the use of copper complexes to treat chronic diseases has given new credibility to a folk medicine as ancient as man himself." [Sorenson 1976] In his paper, Copper on Skin, Cultural Beliefs, Scientific Data, Esoteric Ideas, given at the Proceedings of the International Forum on New Science, held September 13-17, 1995, Sergio Lub said this: "The American Arthritis Foundation calls copper bracelets an 'unproven remedy'. I consider this expression an oxymoron. A remedy is or is not. They probably refer to the fact that the clinical trials for copper bracelets have not been conducted yet to the satisfaction of the Food and Drug Administration. One of America's foremost experts in this matter, professor of biology, Helmar H.A. Dollwet, Ph.D., from the University of Akron, Ohio and author of The Copper Bracelet and Arthritis, explained to me that there is no economic incentive for drug companies to make the large investment needed to conduct the long trials demanded by the FDA. Copper is a natural element and cannot be patented. How could a drug company make money on it? Instead, they profitably sell anti-inflammatory drugs for the relief of arthritis. Under the law, no one in the U.S. is allowed, in the absence of clinical trials, to claim that copper bracelets are a remedy."(Read the complete paper at http://www.sergiolubcanada.ab.ca/cos.html)

We appreciate both Pepper's and Brad's kindness is allowing us to pass on their interesting and thought provoking comments and research.