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What exactly is burnished metal?

Burnishing sounds like a combination of “burn” and “polish” but what exactly is this process? On a basic level, burnishing smoothes the texture of a rough surface and makes it shinier.

But how does burnishing apply to jewelry?

Well, all jewelry has some type of finish, whether its hammering, brushing, burnishing, microblasting or more. And the kind of finish is a part of an expression of a jewelry designer and his or her final product.

Burnishing compresses the surface of the metal to a mirror polish. It can be done mechanically, where jewelry is placed in an electronic agitator that shakes in a circular motion. The longer the pieces tumble about, the brighter the surface will become.

Another method burnishing is done by hand and is a more costly way to finish jewelry. Hand burnishing results in a highly reflective finish and uses a variety of tools to flatten and compress the surface of the precious metal. In addition, a lubricant is used as well.

Burnishing can also be used to fix scratches and get into tight recesses of jewelry.

So there you go: a brief tutorial on burnishing. If you’re thinking of a custom designed piece of jewelry, let’s talk about the kind of finish you’d like on your piece!