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Create Gorgeous Gemstones With Rocks From Your Backyard Using Nat Geo’s Rock Tumbler

Stop everything you’re doing. Go out into your yard really quickly, grab five of the coolest rocks you can find, then come back.

Got ’em? Good. They’re kind of neat, right? What if we were to tell you that you can make them look even cooler by transforming these basic backyard rocks into striking, colorful gemstones in just a matter of days? Well, you absolutely can with National Geographic’s Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit.

Rock tumblers have been around for years now. I remember when my brother and I were younger, my mom bought us one of these babies when we were living up in northwestern New Jersey. We’d spend weekends scouring the woods in our backyard for interesting rocks we could throw inside the tumbler and wait a few weeks to geek over our creations. Hues of blues, reds, greens and purples I’d never expect to see from something I found in my backyard covered our newly-made, smooth gems, all in all making this machine one of the coolest parts of my entire childhood.


Moving onto the last step! One week until we get the final reveal of these beautiful Rockies. So excited 💕🤘🏼

♬ treehouse by alex g – kale

Weirdly enough, though my brother and I made the Nat Geo rock tumbler such a pivotal part of our growing up experience, I completely forgot about it until I was spending hours on TikTok the other day and saw a woman around my age bringing the hobby back to life. With thousands upon thousands of views on numerous videos, the account was dedicated to this gem-stone machine from my childhood and flooded my brain with forgotten memories.

So, what did I do? I bought one. Duh.

For just $60, you get the complete tumbling kit (which includes the tumbler itself, four polishing grits, a sifter, nine types of rough gemstones and a learning guide). And because, well, Amazon, it appeared at my front door in just a day. Because I live in New York City now, I don’t really have much access to all the cool rocks I was able to find in the woods of my old backyard, so I figured the stones included were a solid way to start off. All nine gems included are from around the world, so each will morph into a unique gem worth gawking at in the end.

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Courtesy of Amazon

The tumbler is made with a set-it-and-forget-it timer, so right now, I have it on in my apartment just chilling in the corner of my room. It has to go through a couple of cycles with is explained in the manual, but upon completion, I’m going to have a number of gorgeous gems to place on my window sill.

One thing I will say: when I had this machine as a child, I remember how loud it was. Obviously, rocks spinning in a tumbling drum over and over isn’t the quietest activity, but they must have updated something because it really isn’t that loud. Yeah, it makes noise, but it’s muffled and honestly kind of relaxing, so it won’t be a nuisance in your home.

Whether you want to gift the National Geographic rock tumbler to a younger sibling, child or bring back old memories and do it yourself, I 100% suggest you grab one. It’s really taking me back in time and is something I am heavily looking forward to in the end. Just $60 to bring a smile on your’s or a loved one’s face through basic rocks? It’s something we thought we’d never say, but it’s priceless.