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A Ball in the Rough. Revealing the Hidden Beauty of Natural Baoding Balls

The way the earth has created the variety of natural gemstones in the world is a remarkable part of nature. Holding such stones like quartz, hematite, tigers eye, and amethyst, you’ll often wonder how can nature create such things so beautiful. The old saying “A diamond in the rough” rings true as the beauty is hidden until it can be revealed through a labor and time intensive process.

Baoding Balls in the Rough

In the geology world, plain stones cut from the mines start out as roughs. They might appear as normal looking rocks that you see on the ground. Our solid semi-precious gemstones balls are always made of natural stones that start out as roughs.

Rough gemstones before being carved to baoding balls

Beware of fake stone materials. Many gemstone objects today are made by imitation or synthetic materials. Creative techniques have allowed some materials to mimic the look of natural stones very closely. Many imitation stones are even labeled and called natural by dishonest sellers so you have to be careful.

Some stones may look nice, but are not natural

From the rough gemstones, a saw is used cut the stone into pieces resembling a ball. They start by cutting squares pieces and then cutting off the corners and edges until a round object resembling a dodecahedron is formed. Then the edges are grounded until a ball is formed. It takes a skilled craftsman to make nice round balls.

Outer Beauty is Inner Beauty Made Visible

The next critical step is the polishing phase where the gemstone spheres are put through a multi-step polishing procedure. First, the balls are polished with a coarse polishing material to even out the surface.

rough stone ball
Rough baoding ball gemstone

Then they are polished repeatedly gradually using finer polishing compounds and materials. This step is most important to reveal the glossy shine in the gemstones.

stone sphere before polishing
Gemstone baoding ball before fine polishing
stone sphere after polishing
Gemstone baoding ball after polishing

Every Gemstone Ball is Unique

One characteristic of natural gemstone baoding balls is that no two balls are alike. We often don’t realize when holding a pair of gemstone baoding balls is that you are holding something that took thousands of years to create. Each ball will have its own unique colors, patterns, and appearance. The rocks in the ground are constantly changing from the earth’s movement. Rocks crack under pressure and the cracks are fused with other stones of the same type or another. Molten magma crystallizes into quartz. Minerals and sediment settle and diffuse into the stones. There is a lot going on in the earth’s crust creating the gemstone’s unique appearance of veins, fractures, pits, and banded layers. While writing this, I am reminded of a saying that you are made of flaws and that is what makes you beautiful. That’s very true of things created in nature.

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