Raw or Tumbled Stones?

Crystals on the market are available in different forms. Generally speaking, there are two basic categories:

  1. Raw stones that  have not been altered much from when they were mined from the earth; and
  2. Tumbled stones that have been processed in a way that smooths out the rough edges.

So the question is, what is the difference between them in terms of their energy and vibration they produce?

Tumbled Stones

Tumbled stones
Tumbled stones. Photo by A.D. Joyce.

Tumbling is a 3- to 5-week process. First, raw stones are placed in a rubber-lined barrel along with some abrasive grit and a liquid lubricant. The barrel is slowly rotated for a period of time, then the stones are washed, and tumbled again with finer grit. After three or more rounds of tumbling, the stones are polished.

Some tumbled stones are then manufactured further into specific shapes, such as spheres, points, angels, skulls, hearts, and more. Other tumbled stones, like the ones I use in my jewelry, are polished as is, with irregular shapes and various sizes. Many people carry tumbled stones  in their pocket or purse and/or hold them in their hands during meditation, among other things.

For me, tumbled stones are ideal for making jewelry. They are smooth and they are not likely to snag clothing. I prefer working with the different shapes of the stones because of the variety of designs possible. I have fun custom fitting the wire wrap based on each stone’s unique shape and size. I like the idea of designing a piece rather than just assembling a pendant using a crystal that looks exactly like the one before it.

Also, it is easier to keep a tumbled stone close to the body, especially as jewelry, or else loose in my pocket to purse. It’s nice to be able to carry the energy of the stone with me as I travel around and go about my day.

Are tumbled stones as strong as raw stones in vibration? Some think not but it really does depend on the individual. My personal response is yes, they can be, although there is a slightly different quality compared with raw stones. The energy in tumbled stones feel concentrated, contained, pervasive, persuasive, and personal.

Raw Stones

Raw stones
Raw stones. Photo by A.D. Joyce.

Though many people start out exploring tumbled crystal stones, they may eventually become curious to learn about raw stones. Many artisans wire wrap raw stones for pendants and other types of jewelry, and the results are stunning, to be sure.

For me, the energy of a raw stone is undeniable. Although I love tumbled stones, I have found that the energy from raw stones have a better ability to reach out into the room. Therefore I have them on display on tables and shelves around the house.

Initially, I’m often drawn to tumbled stones. I work with each one of them for a while and if there is a stone that I find particularly helpful, I’ll get the raw stone, as well. Otherwise, I am more than content to meditate with a tumbled stone and/or wear it as jewelry.