LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
Issue No. 171 - Tuesday July 22, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
POST TO EITHER LINK BELOW:
VISIT OUR WEBSITE TODAY
Just a note to let those interested know Jerry
Wykoff is well and will be introducing his patented
Calibrated Jamb Peg machine in an all metal kit that
can be assembled in about 1/2 hour by a 12 year old .
He said he is waiting on the final castings.
I will let the list know more details as they are available.
Index to Today's Digest
01 NEW: Chatoyant Blue Beryl
02 WTB: new Raytech Handpiece/Machine
03 WTB: Raytech Assecories.
04 RE: Amethyst Sage Agate
05 RE: A HAND FACETER, POSSIBILITY
06 RE: abused machines
07 RE: Himalaya Mine Tourmaline
08 RE: Gerry Galarneaus comments on rough
09 NEW: My response to Bob, the new Facetron owner
10 RE: In Defense of a Maligned Dealer
11 RE: rough down under
12 NEW: Dealer Contact Information
13 FS: Halls Faceter for sale....soon
14 FS: Lapidary shop for sale!!
Subject: NEW Chatoyant Blue Beryl
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 17:03:23 -0400
From: "Derek" <email@example.com>
Hi I'm new too.
My name is Derek Levin and I'm a lapidary artist. Been cutting and
carving for about 12 years. Not faceting though. A lot of names on
this list here are familiar and are knowledgeable people so I look
forward to your input.
Here's my question.
I just picked up a crystal of aqua that is a pure bright blue and also
significantly chatoyant. I've been searching the literature for a
reference to the color and haven't found one. Is this color in
Subject: Would like a new Raytech Handpiece/Machine
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 17:54:05 -0400
From: "Tyler Allen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If anyone has a new handpiece or new machine in the box let me know.
Subject: Re : Raytech Assecories.
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 17:10:11 -0500
From: "Casey Andrusz" <email@example.com>
I'm looking to buy Raytech Dops and assec, Would
like to get Site address for best prices,
Casey A (Casada@charter.net)
Subject: Re: Amethyst Sage Agate
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 15:33:09 -0400
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Dan Clayton <email@example.com>
On Monday 21 July 2003 05:48 pm, Carol wrote:
> Hi again,
> Does anybody happen know a source of blue dendritic agate? The blue,
> white, w. black dendrites? I keep seeing it already cabbed but can't
> seem to find any rough/slabs (via the Internet). Any ideas?
> Thanks as always :-) Carol
This sure sounds like Amethyst Sage Agate if you include purple in
the same class as blue. I think Dale from West Coast Mining has the
claim/s but you might find many secondary sources of rough or
slabs. Last I heard they still have the Opal Butte and polka dot mines
in Oregon and several claims in Nevada as well. A search for Amethyst
Sage should give you some dealers.
Subject: A HAND FACETER, POSSIBILITY
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 15:43:26 -0700
From: Charles Moon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In reference to Issue No. 170 -Monday July 21, 2003, one can find out
about a Hand Faceter at e-mail address: <email@example.com> Jack Lahr
is the maker of the Hand Facete -- costs around $120.00
Hi Charles, The Lap Lap is a good unit. I started on one myself before I
found a used Ultratec on e-bay several years ago.
Subject: Re: abused machines
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 16:03:18 -0400
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Dan Clayton <email@example.com>
On Monday 21 July 2003 05:48 pm, Doug wrote:
> more recently, there's Terrie Masters' misfortunes
> with that garage-built piece of mechanical refuse which contained two or
> three Ultra Tec parts and was subsequently labeled "an Ultra Tec" by both
> she and a handful of others, who didn't know any better, either.
I saw Terrie's machine up close and I think it is a very early Stanley but
even if it were an old machine from the early days of Ultra Tec under Joe
Rubin I think his responsibility to fix it would have long ago expired. Abuse
does not begin to describe the treatment this machine has received and I
guess Doug had already built a box for the base and done quite a bit of
repair and assembly before I saw it. I have had very good relations with
Jarvi but I doubt they would rebuild an early Facetron with equal abuse.
An incident like this puts manufacturers in a very difficult position. I think
Doug and Joe have taken action that speaks well for the company and
both of them personally. Remember this if you are thinking of a used
machine. Take someone who is already a faceter with you and cut a
pavilion or at least a tier to see if the machine really works. A box of
laps maybe worth a small fortune or nothing. The same applies to
other accessories. If you have the money I suggest buying new.
Subject: Re: Issue No. 170 -Monday July 21, 2003
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 20:59:51 -0400
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Kreigh Tomaszewski <Kreigh@Tomaszewski.net>
Cc: Beth & Doug Dover <email@example.com>
> Subject: gem sources
> Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 18:57:09 -0400
> To: "faceter's digest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> From: "Beth & Doug Dover" <email@example.com>
> Kreigh mentioned his contact who sells true mine run tourmaline. Can you
> share any contact information with these guys? I might be interested in
> a bag or three of their material!
> Doug Dover
> Belmont, NC
My pleasure as a satisfied customer.
AD: Tourmaline bearing pocket mud from the Himalaya Mine
Thu, 17 Apr 2003 08:14:35 -0000
Unprocessed and hand-dug from deep inside the
Himalaya Mine in the Mesa Grande District of San Diego County, CA.
Direct from the mine, and as sold by miner Chris Rose at Quartzsite
and Tucson for some years. Many mineral enthusiasts have taken the
guided $50 fee dig to this famous locality. This may be even better!
Wet washing of the typical bag will delight you with specimens of
pink or green tourmaline and schorl, both free and in matrix
combinations of quartz, feldspar, and mica. Advanced collectors may
find fluorapatite, albite, and zeolites in some bags, and micromount
material of tiny needles of pink and green elbaite. To some, the
associations and the paragenesis of the minerals is worth the price
alone. Try a bag or two, and you will be back for more for yourself,
and as gifts to your friends! $20 per sealed bag of approx. 5 lbs.
plus shipping charges, and CA sales tax of $1.50 per bag (if any).
Cash, check or Paypal accepted. For shipping charges, contact Ed Quo
at firstname.lastname@example.org, 714-962-7676, 8710 Tern Ave. Fountain Valley,
CA 92708 USA.
Subject: Gerry Galarneaus comments on rough
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 13:04:26 +1200
From: "Brian Clifford" <email@example.com>
RE Gerry Galarneaus comments on rough. AS an example. If I can buy
already facetted eye clean to clean tourmaline for under US$2.00 per
carat, why is the rough always seeming to be dearer than the facetted
stones. Where is the logic in the pricing. What is the best stuff to buy
for facetting? Already badly cut material, chipped stones, or what.
Seems to me that if the Africans can sell their rough at between $5 and
$20 a gram for tourmaline rough, and I can already buy it facetted at
$2US per carat, we are missing something.
Subject: My response to Bob, the new Facetron owner
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 20:48:34 -0500 (Central Daylight Time)
From: "jim gray" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Bob Mestdagh
From: A one-time beginner and full-time learner (email@example.com)
Date: July 16, 2003
Subj: You have to start cutting to have fun!
I read your post on the Lapidary Arts Digest, and for the first time I think
I'll weigh in and try to give some thoughts based on my limited experience.
I'm normally a lurker, but have benefited greatly from reading the advice
and experience of others. It's my turn.
I got hooked on the idea of cutting 3 years ago for no good reason. I went
to one of those gemstone prospector tourist traps in Gatlinburg and was
intrigued about the idea of cutting a pretty gem from something so ordinary
looking. I started checking out info on the internet (there is a ton!), and
got really interested. I bought my Factron because a lapidary in Louisville
Ky. was one of the few I actually met and talked to, and he had one and was
pretty happy with it. No regrets, it has been a joy. He used Dyna Discs
for cutting and polishing (cerium and alumina), and so do I. From recent
experience the availability of Dyna Discs is somewhat spotty and you may
have to shop around to find them in stock. They were a great way to get
started at a reasonable initial investment, and I have upgraded to a more
durable coarse (80-100 mesh) lap and some diamond charged polishing laps
(limited success) as my interest and commitment to cutting has warranted.
Since you are just starting, I would recommend skipping the Dyna Disc
polishing laps initially and opt for an inexpensive Lucite master lap
($15-20) and use the Ultra Lap cerium and alumina films. It won't give you
as sharp an edge as the Dyna Disc polishing laps and they don't last forever
but it is cheaper and more forgiving as you begin your journey. Also, I
have had pretty good luck recharging the film with the cerium and alumina
spray you can get for the Dyna Discs. For cutting I initially recommend a
coarse (80-100), medium (325 or 600) and fine (1200) lap.
Also, if you don't have a trim saw, you should. It will really help you
when you buy larger pieces of rough that you want to cut into smaller sizes
(more on rough later). I purchased a used 1/6 HP 1725 rpm electric motor
from an appliance dealer, bought a new 6 inch Rock Rascal Model J, and
bolted them on to a piece of BD inch plywood. The motor has a 4 inch pulley
and the saw a 2 inch pulley. I use Pella oil as a lubricant and a ProSlicer
blade, all with good results.
If you only buy one book on the topic of faceting, I recommend Faceting for
Amateurs (3rd Edition) by Glenn and Martha Vargas. Lots of good faceting
info and diagrams, although some is dated, including a table in the appendix
that I used to get the right pulley sizes for my saw and motor speed
combination. Also, get an Optivisor so you can see what you are doing, and
the least expensive plastic dial caliper in millimeters you can find. When
choosing a cutting diagram, I recommend a standard round brilliant (SRB) cut
for your first couple of stones, and synthetic quartz or LaserGem for your
material. I have had pretty good luck with a 42 degree pavilion and 35
degree crown in these materials.
Regarding dopping the rough, I am an avid glue-guy. I tried wax a couple of
times but some info on the web got me hooked on glue. Others had most of
these ideas, but I'll give you what works for me. I always start with the
pavilion cut, so after I saw a piece of rough pretty close to the size I
need I prep the rough by coarse and medium cutting a flat surface that will
maximize yield. In terms of orientation, this means the flat surface you
are preparing will be the table of the finished stone. You have to look at
your cutting diagram and estimate the shape of the rough in relation to the
design you are cutting. With practice you'll get better at using the
length/width, crown/width and pavilion/width info in the cutting diagrams to
make this estimate. In other words, if you are cutting a round design the
narrowest width of the rough on the dop will determine the maximum width of
the final stone, assuming it allows adequate depth to complete the design
With non-round cuts you need to take extra steps to estimate the
length/width you can reasonably retrieve from the rough in order to properly
estimate the required depth of the rough. Sometimes the depth of the rough
will be the governing factor, and will drive the decision on length/width
Your rough must fit all three parameters - length, width and depth - to
successfully cut the stone from a piece of rough. Be sure to leave 3-4
millimeters of extra depth so you can re-cut the stone a couple of times if
necessary (it will be the first few times, trust me). In heat sensitive
rough I recommend even more depth be allowed for the transfer method I will
After cutting the flat surface with a 325 or 600 lap, clean the rough and
dop with alcohol and allow 10-15 minutes for drying. I use off-the-shelf
super glue to attach the flat dop to the center of the rough if it is a
symmetrical cut. If it is a pear or other non-symmetrical cut you will need
to glue the dop off-center, and you can use the cutting diagram to estimate
the amount of offset - this is when the calipers can really help because you
can use the diagram to make your estimate of the best location for the dop.
This takes a steady hand and a little practice to get good. If you screw up
(I do, often) then drop the errant dop and rough in a jar of acetone
(available at most hardware stores), and try again. Acetone will release
the superglue in about 4-8 hours.
When I cut the pavilion, I almost always cut the steepest angle in the
diagram first in order to establish the depth of cut, particularly if
adequacy of rough depth is in doubt. You should not do this with Omni cuts,
since the early shallow cuts to a temporary center point are used to
establish the girdle (90 degree) cuts. After cutting and polishing the
pavilion, use the transfer jig that comes with the Facetron to glue and
transfer for the crown cut. I use Devcon 5 Minute Epoxy for the cone or vee
pavilion dop. Clean both the pavilion of the cut stone and the dop with
alcohol, allow to dry, and mount both dops in the transfer jig for a dry fit
I personally have had no luck using the keyed notches for anything other
than round, square or trillion cuts, and for these I use the round cone dop.
If the cut is not round/square/trillion I use the vee dop and open the jig
up and slide both of the dops in past the keyed notches (almost all the way
in). I put the dop with the rough in the base, and the empty dop in the
sliding block. Tighten the base screws and lightly snug the sliding block
screws. I bring them close together carefully, not touching, and with my
Optivisor on magnification I use landmarks on the facets to align the empty
dop symmetrically with the pavilion, and tighten down the sliding block
I then pull the dops apart, mix a small amount of the epoxy with a toothpick
on a paper plate, and put a small glob on the inside of the empty dop, then
carefully slide them together. Try not to let them actually touch, since it
may cause chipping of the pavilion during curing - mostly on larger ovals,
when the epoxy cures and expands. Using the toothpick I put a very small
amount of epoxy on the outside of the joint as well. When the cut is round,
square or trillion I use the cone dop in the keyed slots, and apply the
epoxy as described above. The keyed dops will properly center the stone.
If the rough is heat tolerant (quartz, garnet, topaz, spinel and CZ for
example) I put the jig in a 250 degree pre-heated oven for 30 minutes to
harden the epoxy and loosen the super glue. At the end of this time, open
the oven door slightly. After 30 minutes of cooling remove the dops from
the transfer jig. Use small channel lock pliers, cushioned with a folded
paper towel, to hold the rough and lightly tap the original super-glued dop
with a screwdriver shaft it almost always drops right off. If the rough
is not heat tolerant (Jewel-lite, CreativeGem, Laser Gem), and you have
allowed a little extra depth in the rough like I suggested, you can use your
handy trim saw to cut the stone to release the flat dop after the epoxy has
hardened. With a good eye, adequate depth of rough, and a careful hand you
can cut off a really thin slice from the "crown" portion of the rough, and
skip the whole oven deal. If you tend to be a little clumsy or are really
afraid of sharp things (like diamond saws) then DON'T TRY THIS. It works
for me and I love it! Rinse both the vee/cone dop and stone, and the flat
dop with the thin slice of rough, in a jar of waste alcohol. Plunk the flat
dop into the jar of acetone so the thin slice of rough will be released.
Then clean the flat dop with fresh alcohol and it's ready to go again.
I always align my stone when ready to begin cutting the crown, even when I
use the keyed slots for the transfer. To do this, mount the transferred dop
& stone and set it to 90 degrees. Put the index wheel on a setting for one
of the 90 degree/girdle cuts you made on the pavilion, and eyeball the
girdle cut to as close to perpendicular to the lap as you can. Lower the
stone and lightly touch it to the polishing lap, and adjust the mast until
the needle is centered. Now put the stone on the lap for a second, lift it,
and use the polished portion to guide you in adjusting the cheater wheel
until the polished portion is in line (horizontal) with the pavilion girdle
line. Once aligned I usually advance the index wheel to the next girdle cut
setting and repeat the process to confirm alignment. Then cut and polish
the crown per the diagram. One tip here when you are cutting/polishing
the crown of a oval or pear, I prefer to open the screw on the 45 degree
device and insert the dop almost all the way into the block, past the keyed
portion of the shaft of the dop, and eyeball the stone to square it with the
block. This way, as I adjust the height or cheater to get my table cut to
align with the meet points I have less lateral variance to deal with. Once
you have cut and polished the crown you can put the dop and attached stone
carefully in a jar with enough Attack solvent in it to cover the stone. It
will release the epoxy in a few hours. Clean the stone and dop in alcohol,
and admire your handy work!!
Now for some thoughts on rough. Since you are just starting, don't get big
amounts of anything, and I recommend you begin by using synthetic materials.
Try synthetic quartz, LaserGem, Jewel-lite and/or Creative Gem initially
They are pretty inexpensive, polish well with cerium, and will get you
pretty excited about what you can create. All of these materials are
relatively soft (Mohs 7 or less), so you won't be creating durable stones
for setting in rings (although I do more on cheap settings later). I have
been real pleased with material from Creative Gems (www.creativegems.com)
because they offer a wide range of materials and will sell in relatively
small quantity. Check out their on-line catalog. For larger quantities at
lower per-carat prices check out Morion Company (www.morioncompany.com).
Now that you have created a masterpiece, what do you do with it? I cut
strictly for pleasure and have sold nothing, but I've given away a lot.
Most people (let=92s be real, they are all women) that I have given stuff to
don't know what to do with a stone. It needs to be in a setting. The reason
I can afford to give stuff away is the inexpensive and attractive sterling
silver settings that are available from Tripps Jewelry (www.tripps.com).
You mount the stone yourself, and if I am really impressed with something
I've done I put it in 14K and give it to my wife! I suggest you purchase
the special stone-setting pliers, they really work well.
Wow, this has been fun. I hope you find this story useful, and that it helps
you quickly and successfully get started in your new hobby, using your Facetron
machine. There are so many great cutting diagrams available on line, and so much
to learn about different materials and techniques.
You will have a ball. Happy Cutting !!
Subject: In Defense of a Maligned Dealer
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 00:22:48 -0700
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: TA Masters <email@example.com>
I was at a well known tail gate some years ago and spotted a box with a
facet machine base and many dops carefully arranged on three separate
perfectly drilled pieces of wood. I asked about it and the dealer, a
lady I know and respect, told me it was one that had belonged to her
recently deceased husband and as that was all she had, she was selling
it. It was identified as an Ultra Tec by several others.
I thought I could buy a new mast and quill and after returning home
called UT to inquire about the cost. It was way beyond my pocket, so I
left it in my garage knowing one day things would be fine.
Couple of years later another good friend asked if it was me that had
bought that base. When I said yes, she told ne to contact the dealer as
she had located the rest. I did and bought that too. My eyes were wide
open, I was not cheated or snookered, and still do not regret the
purchase. It will make a fine working machine for someone who will
cherish it, plain and simple. The dealer and I meet and greet one
another with friendship and appreciation.
I hope if anything at all comes from this let it be a better sense of
customer service. There are now three faceting machines I will not have
in my home simply because of the arrogance of the owner/manufacturer.
Subject: rough down under
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 08:50:48 +0100
From: "Stephen Smith" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just read about Alf's collecting trip and fell into deep depression.
Living in England is so bad for collecting facet rough that I built a
stream in my garden to throw all the odd bits of stone and rough in.
I can explore its gravel with some chance of finding some rough.
Sad but true.
Subject: Dealer Contact Information
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 11:15:06 -0500
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <email@example.com>
From: "MR" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
re: Unless anyone minds, I would like to add two vendors of synthetic
rough to the good rough dealers list. One is Creative Gems. They are
always helpful and honest and you car trust their descriptions. The
other is the Morion Company. Their only drawback is fairly large
quantities but, if you are in business or want to share with friends,
they are absolutely great.
As for natural rough, I have had very good experiences with the
Arizona Mineral Company.
It's well and good to tell us the names of the companies but useless to
me with out phone numbers or email addresses. Would you all mind
including such information?
Subject: Halls Faceter for sale....soon
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 02:30:00 +0930
From: "aurimas" <email@example.com>
G'Day Thurmond and list,
A mate of mine in the Adelaide Gem & Mineral Club is about to sell his
Hall Mk 4 faceting machine. It is in the Rolls Royce class, has variable
speed control in both directions, dial indicator, a very solid mast, 64
and 96 index wheels. He will give me full detail soon and I will post
them. He wants $1750 in Aussie money and at present the Aussie is about
US$0.65. so you chaps in the US are in for a good bargain. His reason
for selling is that he got the last of the Hall 2000 machines before
Laurrie Hall gave the manufacturing rights to a US outfit.
Aurimas in Adelaide in South Australia
Hi Aurimas, Who is producing the machine in the U.S. ?
Subject: Lapidary shop for sale!!
From: "Christopher Arp" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 15:52:08 -0700
Hi there: I am a professional gem stone cutter and have decided to sell my entire Lapidary shop and
stone cutting studio, plus gem cutting rough. I have invested thousands of dollars over the last ten
years. I was curious to see if there was a way to advertise my Lapidary shop on your website or if
you might know of someone that has always dreamed of a state of the Art Lapidary studio. I have
cut award winning stones on this machinery. My wife and I have finally found a house that we have
decided to buy and this decision does not come without a price. I have had a lot of friends say to me
do you know what you are doing and how much stuff you have. I just tell them this house is more
important to me then anything else in the world. Please let me know if you can help!!!
Sincerely Christopher Arp
Christopher is not a list member so please contact him directly.
RESOURCES FOR LAPIDARIES:
PERSONALS: (General Lapidary and Faceting)
Lurking is fine, but participation is better for learning !
Post something from your experiences in gemcutting today!
TODAY'S FUNNY ~
Sheep and Mutton
My husband and I, with our two daughters, operate a small sheep
farm. One day a non-farming friend asked, "How can you bear to
slaughter those cute little lambs?"
My husband explained, "We don't want to get emotionally attached to
the ones we plan to eat, so we don't give them names."
Not satisfied, the friend probed, "What about your kids?"
Her husband quickly replied, "Oh, we name them!"
REFLECTIONS AND TIDBITS:
A conclusion is simply the place where someone got tired of thinking.
LIST and WEBSITE INFO~
LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
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Tempie Francis, Attorney at Law / Legal Advisor
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