So, today I was feeling like I should polish something. The shell fragments I collected from the beach a few weeks ago were winking at me so I grabbed a likely looking piece and started the process of acid wash. The acid removes a lot of the calcification.
I would not bother with this process on anything tiny and fragile, this process is best for heavy chunks of shell that are nacre-rich. Anything else just weakens in the acid bath and crumbles when it is handled. This shell is about 1/8” nacre, so it can stand the intensity.
The acid wash is done in 30 second increments, as I have to be mindful that only calcium deposits are removed. What I want is a sturdy piece of attractive, useable material to be the result.
Of course, this process must never be done without the proper precautions taken. This is a professional grade workshop, so safety is a top priority here.
The shell has emerged as a potential beauty, so I moved on to the grinder where the sharp, rough edges were removed and smoothed down to a wearable condition. This process is actually hellish on the hands, but the result is worth it.