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topic 9348

Seashell Polishing


Q. Clam shells from a river bed in northern Minnesota. I don't have but six pair but with beautiful insides of purple and wavy white. I would like to know how to polish them.

Cynthia Bastien
- Jacksonville, Florida



Gregory DrowningBear
- Park Hill, Oklahoma, U.S.


Q. Does anyone know how to clean and polish clam shell? The shell is rough and dull. I am trying to polish it to a soft feel and shiny look.

Chi Li
- Bellevue, Washington

Rock Tumbler


A. Chi Li, et al:

There are a lot of ways to do what you want, depending on the quantity of shells you are talking about. Do you want to do it in large quantities or is this just one or two shells?. If it (or they) are beach worn shells it may be hard to get to what you want without buffing each shell with a buffing compound. Do you want to remove the natural outside structure down to the mother of pearl?

If there are large quantities, you can tumble them in a tumbler setup with a buffing compound in the matrix, provided that the shells are sturdy enough.

lee kremer
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Lee Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
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thumbs up signI thank you Mr. Lee's response. Please kind advise what type of buffing compound do I needed. I only have a few shells to be polished.

Thank you,

Chi Li
- Bellevue, Washington


A. Dear Chi Li:

You can go to any Lapidary store (rock and mineral collectors and polishers) to get a variety of polishes. Look in the yellow pages under Lapidary or Rock and Mineral stores or clubs.

lee kremer
kremer signature
Lee Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
McHenry, Illinois


A. If you don't mind finishing it versus polishing it, Pearlescent Accent Paint [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] can do the job for you, it will it a see through shiny mother-of pearl like look.

- San Diego, California


Q. Hello,

I hope Mr. Lee [Kremer] is still reading this site. I wish I could have met him when I was living in Algonquin, Illinois [Aug.'98-June'00]! I could have learned more then. Now I'm living in Hawaii so I have many opportunities 2 find seashell. Many broken pieces but I don't mind. But I want to buff and polish them. Mr. Lee hope you could tell me more specifically what kind of buffing compound I need. Thank you!

Xia Huang
- Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

simultaneous (2004)

Q. I found a fully intact, foot long, lightning whelk on the coast of Mexico. I have scraped off the barnacles and sediment as well as I can. How can I further clean and polish the shell without damaging it, and making the process not too expensive?

Thank you,

Lindsay Roe
- Houston, Texas


Q. I would love to know how to polish a shell to its mother of pearl layer. Is this also done with a buffing compound?
Thank you!

Cynthia Myers
- Glendale, Arizona

August 6, 2009

Q. Well what do you use to polish sea shells from Florida?

Lily Truscott
- Newnan, Georgia


A. As far as buffing compounds..... I've had super good luck just using ultra fine 0000 steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] and a car wash Chamois [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. I also, sometimes, in the grooves use car polishing compound. Not quite as technical but it works for me.

Lisa Young
- Bossier City, Louisiana

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