Issue No. 193 - Friday August 22, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
Hi all,

Good List today! Keep up those post.
See everyone Monday.

Send your PICS for posting to:


Index to Today's Digest

01  RE: Gemstone Photography
02  RE: LA Opal
03  NEW: All Burma Imports Banned by US Government
04  RE: Wykoff faceting machine
05  NEW: Mirror Facet Finder.
06  NEW: Faceters Symposium 2003 Picture Links


Subject: Gem Photography
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 16:16:11 -0400
To: faceters@caprock-spur.com
From: "Douglas Turet" <anotherbrightidea@hotmail.com>

Webb Long wrote:
"Hi All, I recently purchased a Digital Camera.  That is quite a leap for a
Scotch/Irishman over 85.  I have searched the web for information but with
little success. I don't want to become a professional cameraman, but would
like to know how to set up lighting etc. to be able to photographk some cut
stones. Could anyone help me? Would really appreciate any help. So I will
thank you now!  Best Regards.   Webb in the Evergreen state."

Hi Webb,

     Hat's off to you for taking that "leap"! I know how much of a deep
breath that took, even though I'm neither 85 nor a Scotch/Irishman, myself
     As for the best ways to approach shooting stones, let me start by
saying that I only have a hair more experience than you do -- I bought my
first digital (a Nikon Coolpix 4300) in June of this year. That said, I've
been able to get great results, thanks to the terrific advice I've received
from both Farooq Hashmi and Ray Gaetan. To repeat the collective sum of
their advice, invest in the following accessories:
1)  an AC adaptor for the camera (so you can experiment for hours on end,
without the batteries running dry on you),
2)  a sturdy, but inexpensive tripod (to keep the camera steady),
3)  a box of 75 or 100 Watt G.E. "Reveal" bulbs (daylight-blue
4)  an inexpensive, clamp-on, gooseneck lamp with a ceramic socket (for
holding the above),
5)  a black, metal-edged 8x10" picture frame (like you'd use to mount a
6)  a cheap, white styrofoam cooler,
7)  two yards of white muslin sheetcloth, and
8)  an inexpensive 5x watchmaker's loupe (like those they offer at Harbor
Freight Tools).

     When you get home, tip the foam cooler onto one of its long sides,
lying it so that the side facing down sits along the edge of the table or
desk you intend to shoot on, then line it with the fabric, using either
clear push-pins or T-pins to hold it in place. (The idea is to wind up with
a relatively patternless backdrop, which'll provide you with muted, even
lighting above and behind your stones.) Next, remove the white paper from
the picture frame and replace the glass, so you have a piece of glass with
the darkest possible background under it; this'll serve as a semi-reflective
surface to seat your stones on. Next, clean off one of your stones and lie
it on it's side, at or near the center of the glass, with the table or crown
facing out towards you.
     Now that your "studio" is set up, it's time for your camera and
lighting! Mount your camera on it's tripod, then position it to the left or
right of center of the cooler's opening ("top"); whichever's easier for you.
Next, clamp the drafting lamp with it's blue-white bulb onto the edge of the
table a few inches away, towards the other end of the opening, then look
through your camera's viewfinder, to position it for best results, and zoom
in. If the camera you've bought won't permit you to get close enough, or
won't enlarge the image enough, use the cup-like loupe to cover the lens,
and hold it onto the camera with a strip of Scotch tape. (Somehow, I thought
you might be partial to that brand {;o)!) As fellow faceter/photographer
Gustavo Castelblanco has pointed out, you don't need the image to be
absolutely huge, when you first take it: that can be done later, with
software packages like Photoshop (or whatever software came with your
camera). What you *will* need is for it to be evenly lit and crystal-clear;
if things start out fuzzy, they'll end up the same way.
     Well, Webb, I hope I've helped! Keep me posted on your results. Until

All my best,

Douglas Turet, GJ
Turet Design
P. O. Box 162
Arlington, MA 02476, U.S.A.
Tel. (617) 325-5328
Fax: (928) 222-0815
Email: anotherbrightidea@hotmail.com


Subject: Re: LA opal
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 15:23:49 -0500
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Criss Morgan" <crissmorgan@bellsouth.net>

        Don't use anything rougher than 220 grit to grind LA opal. This will
help keep grains from lifting. If you're the patient type, don't use 220, go
to 400 grit to start. It will take longer, but it will also pull fewer
grains of sand out.
 Don't use oil as a coolant. It gets between the grains in the Quartzite
sandstone matrix and kills the fire in some LA opal. Don't risk it, use
water.  Sometimes water will temporarily kill the fire. It will return after
the stone dries. Just place it in a warm spot for a little while until it's
all dried out.
 Grind just like you would any other Quartz hardness stone. The fire runs
throughout the matrix, sometimes in bands of color. As long as you stay in
the band of color, the finished stone will show the fire.
 Polish with Cerium Oxide. Tin Oxide and Linde A gives good results, but
Cerium gives me the best polish. Don't let the stone get too hot while
polishing it. I keep the polishing pad wet the entire time I'm polishing. If
you let it get too dry, and the stone "grabs", you can pull out grains of
the sandstone. I use a hard leather pad to keep the undercutting between
grains to a minimum.
 Louisiana Opal is an easy stone to cut. If you're a fairly decent cabber,
it should give you no problems. If the polish you use gets deposited between
the grains of sand, or in any pits you might cut into, a short run in an
ultrasonic cleaner will get most of it out. It's a no-no to clean most opal
in an ultrasonic cleaner, but it hasn't harmed any of the LA opal I've
 If the opal you have has any light brown or tan spots in it, use a sharp
instrument to see if it's a mud pocket. If it is, try to avoid having any of
those places on the surface of the stone. They will undercut badly, or even
worse, leave a pit in the surface of the stone. Hopefully, your material is
good and solid without any mud pockets.
 If the opal is real sandy in appearance and crumbles when you rub your
thumb firmly across it, you'll need to cut beyond the sandy layer in order
to get to a firm, stable surface. Be careful though, because some of the
very best color is sometimes found in or just under the sandy spots.
 Be sure to let us know how well your Louisiana Opal turns out. It's a
beautiful stone, especially when viewed in full sunlight.

Criss Morgan
Baton Rouge Rockhound and Lapidary Club
 Come and be one of the first to join a new club! People from all over the
world are welcome.


Subject: Burma
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:55:29 -0400
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "RICHARD P ROSENTHAL" <kenaii@earthlink.net>

   The news  from Burma is that the importation of Gemstones from Burma
has now been banned by [presidential order in response to the arrest of a
leading dissadent. Prices for existing material already in stock here
are expected to rise. kenaii@earthlink,net


Subject: Wykoff faceting machine
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 22:26:02 -0600
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "jake" <efjke@msn.com>

Dear Sir,

  I saw today on Mr. Wykoff's web site the all metal faceting kit.  I know
many of the members were interested in this as am I (unfortunately I will
have to wait at this time). This is exactly what I want and would like to
share this news with all the posts that have expressed interest in this.
Here is the link, http://www.stores.ebay.com/gemloreproductions

E. Jakeman
Ogden Utah


Subject: Mirror Facet Finder.
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2003 11:33:15 -0400 (EDT)
To: faceters@caprock-spur.com
From: vloakhl@webtv.net (Vincent Bishop OD)

Hi, all fellow faceters.  Since my post a few days ago suggesting using
the simple facet finder to align a stone following transfer, I have
received several requests for info on the Mirror Facet Finder.  I think
the best way to answer all would be to give  the instructions from a
post  given  many months ago:  It follows:

Now for the Facet Finder:
There is an old trick used by machinists for many years to align
parallel surfaces.It has been presented to the lapidary as a facet
finder, a means to check facet flatness and numerous other titles. It
consists of a one-inch square, 1/4-inch thick piece of PLATE glass
mirror. Any mirror glass shop that makes custom-sized mirrors will sell
pieces of scrap PLATE glass (or even give you some scrap). Plate glass,
I have been told, is ground and polished and is much closer to an
optical flat than thinner molded mirrors. The procedure is simple:
l. Place a 40-watt (FROSTED bulb) lamp of adjustable height in back of
the faceting machine,(old-fashioned gooseneck lamp is ideal).
2. Place the mirror on the lap positioned so you see the bulb image.
3. Lower the spindle with dopped stone down to the mirror surface in the
center of the bulb image.
4. The light, the mirror on the lap, and the observer's eye must all be
aligned. The observer's eye should be moved back and forth slightly to
achieve this alignment. Once the technique is mastered, the whole set-up
and observation takes about 30 sec., and "Newton's Rings" are reflected
in the mirror.
If the facet is not polished, a minute drop of water between the stone
and mirror surface will show a "black-out" pattern of the contact area.
If the facet is semi-polished, no water is required. This colored
ring-pattern is actually light interference lines and indicates the true
flatness of the facet, its high/low portions, where such portions are
located on the facet and what machine adjustments (if any) are needed.
The great advantage is that all adjustments can be made before any
additional grinding/polishing and removal of additional material is
done. Some faceters paint the facet with an aluminum scribe and pass the
facet over the lap to see where marking are removed; the mirror method
avoids additional removal.
A perfect optical flat produces a pattern of straight, evenly spaced
lines. In faceting, the lines will always be curved since no two laps
are exactly the same trueness of surface.The object here is to center
"Newton's Rings" and avoid mis-alignment of facet and lap. There seems
to be no question that scratches tend to develop beneath that portion of
the facet that is not flat to the lap surface. Additional information is
contained in the the complete article:U.S.F.G. Newsletter,Vol9 No.3,Sept
l999 by this author,or email: vloakhl@webtv.net


Pictures from the Faceters Symposium taken by Teresa Masters:










PERSONALS: (General Lapidary and Faceting)






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Post something from your experiences in gemcutting today!


When the moon hits your eye,
Like a big pizza pie,
That's amore.

When an eel bites your hand,
And that's not what you planned,
That's a moray.

When your horse munches straw,
And the bales total four,
That's some more hay.

When Othello's poor wife,
Becomes stabbed with a knife,
That's a Moor, eh?

When you ace your last tests,
Like you did all the rest,
That's some more "A"s!

A comedian ham,
With the name Amsterdam,
That's a Morey.

When your chocolate graham,
Is with marshmallows crammed,
That s'more, eh.

When you've had quite enough,
Of this dumb rhyming stuff,
That's "No more!", eh?



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