LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
Issue No.73 - Tuesday February 25, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
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From the Moderator: Today's list is much better thanks
to your post. Keem 'em comming in.
Index to Today's Digest
01 NEW: Tumbling Soft Stones
02 NEW: Opals Are Bad Luck Myth
03 RE: Jubilee Project Update
04 NEW: Retired and returning to Cabbing and Faceting
05 NEW: Semi-Auto Cabbing Machine
06 NEW: Gem show Washington DC area March 14 weekend
Subject: RE: Issue No.72 - Monday February 24, 2003
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 20:54:53 -0500
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Naomi Sarna" <email@example.com>
Hello all, When I was in Tucson, I purchased some low grade Mexican fire
opal in various sizes. I tumbled some of it and it developed a funny rough
surface, sort of orange peel. I had the same problem with some amber I
tumbled. I don't want to spend the time polishing this stuff by hand and
thought tumbling would be the way to go. I've gone through the coarse grit,
not removing every bump, and put some through the fine grit. I have
prepolish and cerium oxide to go; have I not run it long enough in coarse,
or is it already too much? I presume and comments will be relevant to both
amber and opal; how about other soft stones, i.e. turquoise, feldspars,
etc?. Thanks for your thoughts. Naomi in New York
Subject: Opals Are Bad Luck Myth
From: "Rick Martin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I've always been mystified how a stone as full of life and beauty as
precious opal could be regarded as bad luck. The only bad luck
associated with opal is not being lucky enough to own a good one, and
that's what I've been telling my happy opal customers for nearly
three decades now.
Sir Walter Scott, who originated the historical novel form and
authored the classic "Waverly" novels and "Ivanhoe," wrote the 1829
novel "Anne of Geierstein" (174 years ago, not 300 as earlier
stated). An opal played a role in it but not with Anne, the heroine.
It belonged to her grandmother Hermione, daughter of a Middle
Eastern shaman, who died in something close to the circumstances that
have been described here.
But it's important to remember that Scott, who did his research very
carefully, based much of his tale on material from Goethe and
earlier writers. His story is set in 1474, and it's clear that Scott
took the opal superstition from an earlier time. The "bad luck"
myth originated in the Middle Ages.
After many years of research I think I=92ve found the truth, or most
of it. Let's begin with Seigneur Marbodus, Bishop of Rennes in
Normandy, who wrote "Lapidarium" about 1075. In it he said that opal
conferred invisibility on the wearer enabling him to steal by day
without risk of exposure to the baneful dews of night. That was not
an endorsement of opal-wearers, especially coming from someone as
powerful as a medieval bishop!
Before Marbodus designated opal the Talisman of Thieves, only good
things had been written about it. But Marbodus was probably trying
to save his own neck because Rennes is in Normandy which was then the
dukedom of Robert the Devil, father of William the Conquerer. Robert
attributed his evil nature to the belief that his mother, tempted
with opal jewelry, gave herself to the Prince of Darkness himself and
so produced him, the heir to the throne. Marbodus probably felt it
was politically correct to say bad things about opal given his
powerful patron's beliefs.
Then, from 1347 to 1350 the Black Death ravaged Europe. It has been
documented that in Venice during the Plague, someone made the
fanciful observation that opals worn by plague victims were brilliant
up to the point of death, then were believed to fade and became
lifeless like their owners. During and after the Plague Italian
jewelers who earlier had considered opal a favored gem considered it
a badge of dread.4 It's likely that the opal "bad luck" in Scott's
novel was based on these two frightening myths.
Unfortunately Marbodus's slander has endured for the better part of
a thousand years, given new twists along the way by the imaginative.
It's up to jewelers to change that silly perception. Remember this
rhyme attributed by some to Tiffany & Co. and others to a person
named Tassion at the Smithsonian Institution:
"October's child is born for woe, And life's vicissitudes mustknow;
But lay an Opal on her breast and Hope will lull those fears to
This story from the Orchid Digest was sent in by a member of the list yesterday.
I obtained permission from its author (not a list member here) to republish it today.
Subject: Jubilee Project Update
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 12:12:38 +0000
From: Michael Hing <email@example.com>
News just in, from an unexpected source (Prince Philip's private
secretary). The Brigadier has told me that he will do "everything in
his power" to help ensure that the stones are accepted. We're still not
out of the woods yet because it now has to go back to the Queen's
private secretary (the unhelpful one) but hopefully things may be back
Subject: Retired and returning to Cabbing and Faceting
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 06:40:31 -0500
From: breed8 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hello to All:
My name is Bill Reed and I live in Mays Landing, New Jersey (about 18 miles
from Atlantic City)
I have been lurking since joining the list. I have not done any cabbing or
faceting for over 20 years. Now that I am retired after spending 50 years in
the "Printing Industry", I want to get back to cutting. I have forgot quite a
bit, but I guess it will come back to me. I am sure I will have many questions,
so I will be asking for help when I need it. Along the way I also became a
Graduate Gemologist (GIA). I intend to purchase the latest GIA stone courses in
order to get up to date with whats current.
I still have my faceting machines (MDR & American Facetor), but I do not have
any of my old cabbing equipment. I am looking for a cabbing unit and a 10" or
12" slab/trim saw. I am looking for used equipment to get started. If anyone
has these items I would appreciate hearing from you. My email is
Regards, Bill Reed
Subject: NEW: Semi-Auto Cabbing Machine
From: Tim Vogle <email@example.com>
I am usually Just a lurker, but I have been on the list for about 6
years. While in Tucson
I picked up a semi-automatic cabbing machine. just got it setup and it is
fast. It will do preforms
or cabs (it takes a different wheel for each size cab). I will take
pictures shortly and sent them out
to anyone who is interested.
It does not finish the cab just a rough grind and then tumble to
finish. it will do a 30by 40 preform
in about 45 seconds
Just thought you might find this interesting.
Hi Tim, I can post pics on the website and include a link in the digest if
you will send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Subject: Gem show Washington DC area March 14 weekend
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 05:28:15 -0500
To: "'email@example.com '" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Winfield, Robert (NIH/NIMH)" <WinfielR@intra.nimh.nih.gov>
The Gem Lapidary and Mineral Society of Montgomery County, Maryland, USA.,
Montgomery County Fairgrounds
16 Chestnut Street,
The show opens
Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
RESOURCES FOR LAPIDARIES:
LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST PERSONALS:
Lurking is fine, but participation is better for learning !
Post something from your experiences in gemcutting today!
TODAY'S FUNNY ~
An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are trying
to set up a fenced-in area for some sheep, but they have
a limited amount of building material. The engineer gets up
first and makes a square fence with the material, reasoning
that it's a pretty good working solution. "No no," says the
physicist, "there's a better way." He takes the fence and
makes a circular pen, showing how it encompasses the
maximum possible space with the given material.
Then the mathematician speaks up: "No, no, there's an
even better way." To the others' amusement he proceeds
to construct a little tiny fence around himself, then declares:
"I define myself to be on the outside."
REFLECTIONS AND TIDBITS:
" When you leave the light that you know
And step into the darkness of the unknown,
You must find something solid upon which to stand
Or you must learn to fly."
--- Author Unknown ---
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Subject: Subject add
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 15:47:26 -0500
From: "RICHARD P ROSENTHAL" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date Febuary 6th /03
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LIST and WEBSITE INFO~
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