Issue No. 84 - Wednesday March 12, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre


From the Moderator:  Big list today. Lots of information.
Keep it up, this is great, I actually have to work to put
out the list today. Still it only takes 30 minutes or less to

In answer to my request for topics for discussion I received
one reply which is included below:

Yes, I would like the digest to "take on" the topic of cutting garnet in
the various color saturations available to the faceting community with
the intent in mind of cutting "bright and lively" stones, and how
approaching or exceeding the critical angle, or other parameters, might
help accomplish this. Why not "brainstorm" on overcoming a common
faceting problem with rough that reaches 50% saturation (white paper test
limit), or darker?? Also, known cuts that perform well in darker garnet
rough would be interesting, IMHO. Call it a "garnet" clinic, maybe .. ay?

Best regards..
Phil in Florida

Hi Phil, Excellent idea. I have a lot of darker garnet and I
know others do as well.

Index to Today's Digest

01  RE: Refractometer
02  RE: Dopping question
03  RE: Refractometer
04  RE: Refractometer
05  RE: Dopping question
06  RE: Dopping question
07  NEW: Stonemaster saw
08  RE: Solvents and stone damage
09  RE: Refractometer
10  NEW: Stalled saw
12  RE: Lone Star cut
13  RE: Dopping question
14  RE: Refractometer


Subject: Re: Refractometer
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 17:03:25 -0500
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Dan Clayton <dclayton@speakeasy.org>

On Tuesday 11 March 2003 07:18 pm, you wrote:
> Subject: Refractometer cleaning
> Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 22:57:46 EST
> From: Bellcha7@aol.com
> Hello All:Last year I purchased a  SCHOTT LASF HEMICYLINDER (GEM PRO =20
> Refractometer) to help me identify rough gem material.Then was disarmed
> when told lab grown material will give you the same refractive index as
> natural will,-so you'll have to arm yourself with other aides ;[specifi=
> gravity,dispersion,crystal system etc.] to I.D. the material in question.
> My problem is the growth of what looks like crystal & dust particals
> clumping at the bottom of the mirror or scale grid  within the lens system
> of the refractometer .I think these particals are dried fragments of  the
> R.I. liquid .In time this growth is becoming a veiwing disraction ,and soon
>to be obstacle.This unit appears to be hermitically sealed is there anyway
>to clean, short of sending it somewhere for that purpose?

RI of synthetic will usually be about the same as RI of natural as you were
told but some types vary a little. Your bigger problem is that a refractometer
is unreliable at best to test rough unless you are buying poorly cut gems as
preforms. It will work on cut gems within it's RI range and you can get a
pretty good idea of the RI of polished cabs but forget it for rough. Hanneman
makes a good SG scale but I doubt you would carry it to shows. Loupe,
penlight, dicroscope, chelsea filter and small spectrometer are standard tools
to carry with you.

You should be sure that there are not crystals in your RI liquid before you
use it.  Use one drop on the hemicylinder surface. Then carefully place the
stone on the hemicylinder. I have seen suggestions to slide the stone from
the metal surface onto the hemicylinder. I think this is a bad idea. On my
refractometer it would lead to scratched/chipped stones or lens. Be sure
you clean off all RI fluid each time you use the refractometer or you will
get a build up of crystals. Be very careful with the hemicylinder or you
will need to have it repolidhed. That will be expensive. A refractometer is
a good tool but not to id rough. I would try cleaning your hemicylinder
before next use. It's life will be very short unless you keep it clean.



Subject: Dopping question
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 20:21:10 -0500
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: "denney.wilson" <denney.wilson@worldnet.att.net>

    I am only addressing the question of the Andalusite.  I am fairly
certain that what happened had nothing, other than removing the stone
from the dop, really happened to your stone when you soaked it.  What
you were probably seeing as colors before were due to the fact that you
were looking through the stone at a dark background that was in close
contact to the stone facets (that is, you had properly dopped the
stone!).  More than likely, you have cut the stone at angles that do not
allow proper internal reflections to show off the patterns/colors you
saw before.  A good way to test this is to put the stone, table down, on
a piece of dark shiny magazine cover or page.  If the colors come back,
this is the problem!  If they do not, you may have removed layers of
material or oil that gave the impression of the colors you saw.


Subject: Re: Issue No. 83 - Tuesday March 11, 2003
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 17:54:01 -0800
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Don Rogers <Don@Campbell-gemstones.com>

At 06:18 PM 3/11/03 -0600, you wrote:
>Then was disarmed when
>told lab grown material will give you the same refractive index as natural
>will,-so you'll have to arm yourself with other aides ;[specific
>gravity,dispersion,crystal system etc.] to I.D. the material in question

Actually, lab grown will be identical in all measurable data points to
their natural stones.  To make the distinction between lab and natural, you
need to be versed in the different inclusions that you will find in stones
and which are unique to natural or which are unique to synthetic
stones.  IE, a three phase inclusion is  unique to a natural stone,
although all natural stones don't have them, and nail head inclusions are
unique to synthetic stones, but again not all synthetic stones have
them.  The task of Gem Identification will require both generating a list
of candidates because of a measurement, and then eliminating from that list
because of other measurements and observations.  At the end, non-measurable
observations will often make the final ID.

>My problem is the growth of what looks like crystal & dust particals clumping
>at the bottom of the mirror or scale grid within the lens system of the
>refractometer .I think these particals are dried fragments of the R.I.
>liquid .

I would be hesitant to dismantle the Refractometer.  Usually, cleaning off
the top of the hemicylinder is all that is needed.  If you are getting
crystallized RI fluid inside the refractometer, you are using way too much
fluid and it is weeping around the edge of the hemicylinder.  Cleaning the
top isn't difficult, but cleaning the curved surface, or the scale could
destroy the refractometer.  It would be best to send it back to the
manufacture for a tuneup.

On the topic of RI fluid, make sure you get good fluid.  I have purchased
fluid from other than the GIA and while it was about 1/2 the price, it
wasn't worth half of what I paid.  Both the GIA fluid and this fluid were
1.81 RI fluid from Cargile Labs. However, they make two different
kinds.  The good one is labeled "Gem Refractometer Liquid".  It is a water
clear fluid.  The bad fluid was a yellow colored fluid which I found later
has a large amount of sulfur dissolved in the base fluid to raise the RI up
to 1.81.  This fluid leaves a sulfur coating on the hemisphere and over
time it gets very difficult to get a reading on reddish stones.  You can
clean it off using a small piece of soft leather and some cerium oxide and
hand polish the top.  If you do this, make sure you only use strokes length
wise on the hemicylinder so you don't set up a distortion.  In fact it is
best to only stroke the hemicylinder in one direction.  The bad fluid also
left yellow stains on the lens of the refractometer from being stored in
the same container with the refractometer.  I now store my RI fluid in my
SG fluid case.



Subject: Re: Issue No. 83 - Tuesday March 11, 2003
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 21:53:35 EST
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: PANACHEGEMS@cs.com

It sounds to me like your reading lens is leaking. I have never heard of that
happening. I have had a GIA Refractometer with heavy use for over 15 years. I
have never had a problem like that. It sounds like a manufacturing defect.
How old is it? is it under warranty? I don't know about the brand you have
but, the GIA  ref. can be taken apart. I took mine apart and reground the
Hemisphere Lens as it got scratched over the years. A little tip, never use
the yellow RI Fluid, the Sulfur is not mixed correctly and it will stain your
lens. The only Fluid I will use any more is (Gulp) GIA Fluid. It is the only
one I have found that will read 1.81.


Subject: Re, Dop Transfer
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003 21:37:41 -0600
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Wayne S. Barnett" <wayneb@ev1.net>

IN reference to the question on dop transfer.  Because wax and stone has to
be heated to make the transfer you may be heating the original dopped side
to much and the stone is moving during the transfer.  One of the things that
I have used,  and suggest that my students do as well,  is to wrap the
attached dop with a strip of wet paper towel to keep the dop and wax on the
original side as cool as possible during the transfer process.  Once the
second dop is set and cooled then remove the wet towel and heat the dop just
enough to remove it from the original side.  Carefully remove as much of the
excess wax as possible (hold the stone not the dop stick) then remount in
the quill and cut the second side.

Another thing that I find helpful is to coat the stone in a wax/alcohol
solution before the transfer.  Use the solution that is generated by putting
the stone into to clean it after it is finished.  This alcohol solution will
clean the stone of any residual oils and give it a coat of wax.  Allow the
alcohol to evaporate and then make the transfer.  A little heat will aid in
the removal of the alcohol.  Be careful not to overheat the stone.  The
"primed" stone will accept the wax easier than one that is not coated.   Make
sure that all the alcohol is gone before making the transfer.  Any residual
alcohol will cause the wax/stone bond to be weaker, possibly causing the
stone to prematurely part from the dop.

Good luck



Subject: Re: Issue No. 83 - Tuesday March 11, 2003 Dopping
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 19:15:07 -0800
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Don Rogers <Don@Campbell-gemstones.com>

At 06:18 PM 3/11/03 -0600, you wrote:
>I use an Ultra Tech machine and brass dops
>  My transfer jig is a twin post by Jarvi .... about every fourth stone I
>transfer has a problem with off center or indexing
>  I can't seem to find my error and need to redop and find a facet to realign
>the stone ...

I have given up on a wax transfer.  I use the brown wax (from Raytech) for
my first dop and then use 5 min epoxy for the transfer.  This eliminates
any shifting of the stone during transfer caused by overheating the first
joint.  It doesn't eliminate all my transfer problems though.  What I have
found is that most of the transfer problems were the result of things other
than the transfer jig which usually gets the blame.  Most of the problems
were introduced prior to transfer.  There are any number of things that
cause a mis-aligned stone.

1. The dops are not the same diameter. This allow you to make the transfer
and have the stone on a different axis from the one you cut prior to
transfer.  Get out the micrometer and check them.  You might be surprised
at the variance.

2. Dirt, wax, epoxy, or nicks on the dop or the jig will cause you fits. It
causes the transfer dop again to be at a different axis that the first
one.  The problem can be in either or both dops. Clean up your dops and
Jig.  If you have a nick on the dop, use a fine file and gently knock off
the ding.  Don't get carried away here.

3. One really bad problem is when your quill is not symmetrical.  The stone
will cut on the axis of the OD of the quill regardless of the dop.  The
problem arises when the hole you put the dop into is not on the same axis
as the OD of the quill.  You then cut the stone on the axis of the quill,
but on transfer, you are transferring based on the axis of the dop which
has been orbiting around the axis of the quill. You end up with a stone
that is not centered after the transfer.  Only one manufacture that I know
of has taken steps to resolve this issue, and that is Polymetric.  They
have an adjustment built into the quills to eliminate the orbit of the
dop.  There may be others, but  I am not familiar with them.  If your
machine doesn't have an adjustment here, then parts replacement is the only
fix.  To check if this is a problem, mount a new 1/4" dop (5/16 for you
Alpha Taurus machine owners) and mount a ceramic lap.  Set the index a 0,
and the angle at 90.00.  Adjust the height so the dop is just touching the
lap.  Now index to 24, 48, 72, and back to 0.  You should never see the dop
lift from the lap, or should you see it raising the quill.  If you have a
dial indicator on your machine, it will be an easier checkout.  You should
be able to spin around the indexes without any change in the height of the
dop.  Just remember here, what ever variance you see will be magnified x 2
on transfer.   If you see a variance here, and your machine is one with a
collet type dop holder, take the collet out and make sure it is clean as
well as it's seat.  A little dirt here can cause you fits.

4. Another problem that will drive you nuts after transfer and wear out
your cheater to boot, is when the index gear is off center to the axis of
the quill.  You will find that the stone will be aligned OK at index 0, but
at index 48, it is off and some times by a bunch.  As you go around the
stone it gets worse, and then better. The Raytech is showing this problem
due to some undercut index gear hubs.  I haven't determined a vintage yet,
but I suspect that is across all vintages.  On the Raytech, it is easy to
check out,  remove the nut holding the dop on the quill and see if you can
rock the gear back and forth opposite of the index pin.  It takes very
little clearance between the gear and the hub to get almost a 1/2 tooth
mis-alignment across from the index pin.  The fix is simple though for the
Raytech.  Make a washer from a zip lock bag  by laying an index gear on the
bag, and using an xacto knife, cut out the inside of the gear, but leave
two tabs at 4:30 and 7:30 with the index hole at noon.  use some shears to
cut the OD of the washer.  Place the washer behind the gear and fold the
tabs through the hold straddling the 48 index of a 96 gear and push it onto
the hub.  The ziplock will center the gear and distort easily to the
clearance that is there without bending any metal.  One of my $0.05 fixes
for a $50.00 problem.

5. The last problem with transfers is when all of the above are OK, you
have to cheat to get the meets at the girdle.  This is caused by the index
on the dop and the index on the gear not being in alignment.  Take a look
at my site on setting up the Raytech, or at my article on machine alignment
in the 2002 Lapidary Journals Buyers Guide for the fix.  My site is for
this is

http://www.campbell-gemstones.com/RayTech/   (case sensitive)

While I talk about the Raytech here, it applies to all machines with and
indexed dop system.  One more point, there are a couple links that are
broken on this site.  They covered making sure the platform and the lap
were truly parallel to each other.

By the way, after you cut the double dop per my site,  then cut the 48
index on it.  You can tell if you are having the problem in #4 by just
swapping end on the double dop and see if it still sets flat on the lap.



Subject: Stonemaster saw
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 22:44:13 -0500
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Doug Dover" <ddover@carolina.rr.com>

I have purchased an old Stonemaster 12" slab saw made by Fike Metal Products
and need any information available. I have contacted the manufacturer and
they have no record of it in their archives. The only reference in an
internet search refers to an inquiry in an old Lapidary Digest from when
Hale was the moderator. There were no responses then, so I am asking again
if anyone has any info on a slab saw from the fifties or sixties (possibly
older) that uses a roll spring to feed the stone into the blade at a steady
rate. It still works after I have tightened things up, but I would  like to
know more about it.
Belmont, NC


Subject: Solvents
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003 21:56:54 -0600
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Wayne S. Barnett" <wayneb@ev1.net>

Oh yeah one more Question .... Can you ruin stones by soaking them in
Acetone, Alcohol or Attack?

 No.  These compounds are not the ones that could harm the stones we cut.
Acetone and alcohol are organic solvents that are water soluable.  Attack is
a trade name for methylene chloride.  It is a nasty compound that may be
carcinogenic.  Use it with care and with a lot of ventilation.



Hi Wayne, I agree with you except for certain stones that may have been
resin or oil treated in which case a solvent might cause problems. Although
these would not normally be issues for most faceters they might be for a cutter
who is cabbing a stabilized material.


Subject: Re: Issue No. 83 - Tuesday March 11, 2003
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 20:50:45 -0700
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Dave Arens <gemstonesetc@gci-net.com>


 >>My problem is the growth of what looks like crystal & dust particals
clumping at the bottom of the mirror or scale grid within the lens
system of the refractometer<<

I don't think there's an easy way for you to take the refractometer
apart to clean it.  If I were you, I'd contact the company, Gemologic
Products (mwildman@coinet.com). The company's address is: 2 Venture Way,
Suite #707; PO Box 4756; Sunriver OR, 97707.

I'm not conected with them, just a satisfied customer.

I've used the same model refractometer for over 10 yrs & have never had
a problem with mine. It might be that you're using to much RI fluid. All
it takes is a small drop. Place it on the far corner of  the metal table
around the window. Then place the portion of the stone that'll be put on
the window in the drop & remove it. The liquid that adheres to the stone
is usually enough to provide optical coupling to the window. After
you're done with the stone, wipe the window off with a kleenex. Wipe the
metal table off when you're done with the refractometer.

Generally, differentiating synthetics from naturals requires the use of
a darkfield microscope to check for inclusions.  This applies to smaller
sized pieces. If you're lucky  enough to see the rough in boule form or
with a seed plate still attached things are a little easier.



Subject: Stalled saw
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 00:08:00 -0500
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "RICHARD P ROSENTHAL" <kenaii@earthlink.net>

Thanks to everyone who helped me with the problems of dressing my saw
blade and truing it. It is running better not perfect yet but a big
improvement. I have another problem with it perhaps it is related, it
will cut fine for a while then just run in place without cutting for
some reason opening the lid a little seems to usually start it cutting
fine again. Other wise it will run in place for an hour or more doing
nothing. Does anyone know the cause of this, it is a gravity feed saw.
Thanks Richard   kenaii@earthlink.net


Subject: Opal Dirt??????
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 15:54:48 +1030
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "aurimas" <aurimas@chariot.net.au>

G'Day Thurmond,

There is a lady from your NW comming to Australia very soon to buy opals
and tour. She sent me an e-mail saying that you wanted 2 pounds of opal
dirt for a third party who wants to grow opals from it and wants me to
send it to you.
Hey,mate, no problem, except there is a serious issue of SANITY.  Is
someone having a lend of her?  Is she having a lend of me?     I have
heard some beaut yarns , but this one is a treasure.
Would you also like a Thunder Rooster so it could lay Thunder Eggs on
I assure you that I have been taking my tablets and that there is plenty
of fibre in my diet, maybe its the Voices and negative gravity and Flat


Hi Aurimas, Do you mean to tell me that if I plant that dirt in my back yard
it wont take root and turn Texas into the new "Lightning Ridge"? LOL
Actually I wanted the dirt since I read some about Len Cram (I think that is his name)
and his work with opal "dirt" and growing opal. I have no misconceptions concerning
actually growing opal from the dirt. Although the Rooster to lay thunder eggs sounds
interesting I think I would prefer a hen that would lay those rare and expensive Russian
Jeweled eggs. LOL


Subject: Re: Issue No. 83 - Tuesday March 11, 2003
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 23:39:00 -0600
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Downey <alckytxn@swbell.net>

> On another note:  I live in Texas and have cut a "Lone Star"
> cut from quartz. I see dealers in this area and state wide
> marketing a "Texas Star" cut. As a matter of fact the Texas
> Parks and Wildlife catalog has carried such stones. My question
> is this, Are the Lone Star and the Texas Star the same cut?
> The "Lone Star" cutting diagram is specified by Official Texas
> Government documents. The "Texas Star" cuts I have seen (for sale)
> (even at my clubs annual show) use 5 facets to define the Star (5 points)
> and sometimes frost the star facets or outline the star facets with
> a frosted area..
> The "Official Lone Star" cut uses 10 facets to define the Star (5 points).
> The Offical Lone Star cut if I understand it correctly was cut at angles
> intended to dump most light out the back of the stone. The "Star"
> angles were designed to reflect back almost 100 percent of the light
> they intercept thus giving the appearance of a Silver mirrored star
> floating in the gem. Is this correct?

Howdy Thurmond,
First, I am no expert on this matter but do have a comment or two.
There are a LOT of 'star' cuts. I suspect some existed before the
'Official' Cut was created and voted in by the evidently under-worked
Texas legislature in '76-'77(?-too lazy to go look). The cut was created
by a father son team. One was a matmetician and the other a lapidary.
Somewhere around here I have a copy of the law.
There are a couple of issues regarding the confusion you've noticed.
One could be the use of an improper name for the proper cut. More likely
however is the cutting of one or more designs with frosted stars or
frosted outlines. The popularity of these other 'Star' cuts is due to
2-3 reasons. They may be true meetpoint where the Lone Star is not. They
have a depth dimension which is more 'normal' whereas the LS is quite
deep, and due to reasons outlined below, is usually too large for most
ring settings(though I seem to see a lot of LS Cuts in rings). They may
have an 'even' girdle where the LS does not.
The 10 facets forming the star in the LS form a 'retroreflector' and
the dark star is a reflection of your own eye(or head shadow). In
topaz(the Official State Gem) there are a few other scintillating
reflections, in CZ there are more, in quartz there are less, but the
optics of the Star retroreflector work the same in all materials
yielding the dark Star. There are some customers that insist on the
official cut as legislated. If you cut this I have some suggestions.
While the owner would certainly know, others will not notice or only
with difficulty see the star in sizes under about 9mm. Yes, I know you
can cut it any size, but shoot for 9-12mm. Thsi means you usually need
topaz rough well shaped for a round in the very high 20s to 50 carat
range to yield cut stones of 8+ carats. That is for topaz. Personally, I
feel the star has more contrast in light to medium colored material. For
me, London Blue topaz is too dark. The legislated cut indicates a round
outline and does not mention polishing the girdle. The only deviation I
have in stones I cut is I usually have a girdle which is faceted with
many small facets and left at the prepolish finish or sometimes
polished. Technically I guess my stones deviate from the official cut
though all pavilion and crown angles are the same. When you mount the
stone ,try to use a 5 prong setting with a prong at the 'top'(12
o'clock) position. Tripps carries
pre-notched in pendants BUT you must SPECIFY the prong positions. Due to
its depth rings will be 'top heavy'. There are several variations
designed to make ovals, pears and other outlines with the star
retrorefelctor too. I think(IIRC) Charlie Covill worked some out.
I can usually sell all I cut and usually try to cut 2-3 of them a year
but really, they are kinda' a gimmick. Still, folks ask for them a lot
more now since we lost Clay Waters to that great cutting room in the
sky. He and Dorothy were a fixture at local shows and Clay always had
LSs to sell. He used to sell 'em for $22 a carat. I've had no trouble
selling them for $25.
hope this helps
1 Lucky Texan


Thanks for the information Carl. It does help. I also have those Covill variations
of the "LS" cut.


Subject: Re:Doping Question
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 00:36:24 -0800
To: faceters@caprock-spur.com
From: Phillip L Stonebrook <plstonebrook@juno.com>

Greetings list and Jimmy...

<<I am faceting about two years and still have a problem every now and
then with hot wax dop transferring (I am using Brown by Leeco or Black by
Diamond pacific) I use an Ultra Tech machine and brass dops
My transfer jig is a twin post by Jarvi .... about every fourth stone I
transfer has a problem with off center or indexing I can't seem to find
my error and need to redop and find a facet to realign the stone ...
Which is a real pain in the butt! Is there something novices do wrong all
the time or an easy way to do this?>>

I really have to chuckle at this .. not at you, but with you .. as I can
relate to this problem. I've been faceting 19 years now and still have
one of these once in a while. My best recommendation is to make the
change over from wax/wax dopping to cyano/5 min. epoxy. This will
certainly evoke protests from the wax crowd but, my logic goes as
follows: if you _ever_ facet heat sensitive stones, or if you _ever_
facet stones down around 3mm, or if you _ever_ have premature loss of
stones off the dop, or if you _ever_ facet large (30mm+) stones, or if
you _ever_ facet corundum, then cyano/5 min. epoxy dopping will help you.
I do all of the preceding, so I'm fairly well sold on a heatless dopping
process with superior holding power for small and large stones, even when
heat is generated in the polishing process.

<<I was also told about a new glue called Zap-A-Gap and a hardener called
Zip-kicker .... you use Attack to release the stone ..... What do you
think of this glue and its capacity to hold larger stones  (biggest about
20 carats)>>

I haven't used Zap-A-Gap in a long time, however, I did use this quite
often years ago. The problem I encountered with this "system" was the
lack of a good cyano debonder. Attack will work, but it evaporates so
quickly, it doesn't stay around long enough to do a decent job of
debonding without multi applications about every minute; therefore you
have to revert to heat to release the bond. Attack is an acetone and
methylene chloride based solvent which accounts for it's rapid
evaporation rate. I also tried GoldenWest's "super solvent" with similar
results. I have discovered another "system" that does include a good
debonder, and that is the cyano/kicker/debonder manufactured by Bob Smith
Industries in Atascadero, CA. The cyano is called "Insta-Cure+", a gap
filling cyano with 5-15 second set time. The kicker is "Insta-Set" in a
pump spray bottle. The debonder is "Un-Cure" and is not based on an
acetone or nitromethane solvent. Therefore, it stays around easily 10
minutes, at which time another drop is added to the dop "fillet" area
until the bond releases, usually by the 3rd drop application. These
products are sold at most hobby shops, or in the south locally thru Ace
Hardware stores. It holds all stones well, virtually never has a
premature release, has superior holding power for large stones (I'm
faceting a 32 x 41mm smokey oval dopped with a 6.25mm dop without
problems) but, even better, is it's holding power for those "little
suckers" on a 2mm dop. I refrigerate the cyano between uses but the other
2 products don't need any special handling. I transfer to 5 minute epoxy;
the clear garden variety sold in Home Depot and dispensed by 2 parallel
tubes with linked plungers. When the crown is done, I simply immerse the
stone and dop in an olive jar in which I put Bix Tough Job Remover, a
jelled epoxy and paint solvent based upon methylene chloride and acetone,
also sold at Home Depot. An overnight soak releases the stone with no
residue. Attack will do this job too, but Bix is much cheaper, and the
jelled formula helps retard the evaporation.

<<Oh yeah one more Question .... Can you ruin stones by soaking them in
Acetone, Alcohol or Attack? I soaked an Andalusite in acetone to release
it from the wax and lost some of its color (It had colors in the facets
in the dop (yellow, pink, green, red)) but lost the colors when soaked
and appears to be (yellow) but was green like the same piece of rough it
came from.>>
If you lost color in an Andalusite by using a solvent, it had to be oiled
and/or color doped in the rough, much like the unreputable practice used
for emerald rough. Most "normal" faceting rough is impervious to
solvents. Sinkankas has a book called "Data Book" which lists "other"
materials and solvents/acids which will affect them .. a worthwhile
reference if you have further questions in this area. Try wetting a paper
towel with acetone (outdoors) and rubbing the remaining rough you state
has good color. Let the acetone evaporate and then examine the towel for
color smudges; if you see any, the rough was "doctored".
Best regards, and encouragement to ya! Hope this helps...

Phil in Florida


Subject: RE: Refractometer cleaning
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 22:38:59 -0800
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Arnold Schwabe" <ars80@telus.net>

I hate to be the bearer of bad news for the person who bought the
refractometer but I have a few bits of information to pass on.

>Then was disarmed when told lab grown material will give you the same
refractive index >as natural will,
Yes, lab material will give you the same RI as natural, except in a few
- Hydrothermal emeralds tend to have lower RI readings; be wary of any
emerald that doesn't give at least one RI reading approaching 1.69. This
isn't the case for other types of synthetic emeralds.
- Quite often synthetic spinel will give a higher reading than natural due
to the proportions of alumina required to make a stable boule. There are
exceptions but synthetic spinels tend to be around 1.728 as opposed to 1.718
for naturals.

>-so you'll have to arm yourself with other aides ;[specific
>gravity,dispersion,crystal system etc.] to I.D. the material in question.
Sorry but the specific gravity, dispersion and crystal systems of the lab
grown will be the same as the naturals. Again there are some exceptions, but
very few.

When you're trying to differentiate lab from synthetics, not many
instruments beat a good binocular microscope. If you know what you're
looking for you may be able to get away with a loupe and maybe an immersion
fluid with a high RI. You may also want to invest in a Chelsea filter for
those green and blue stones. You'd be surprised what you can expose with a
simple filter.

As for the refractometer:
>My problem is the growth of what looks like crystal & dust particals
>at the bottom of the mirror or scale grid  within the lens system of the
>refractometer .I think these particals are dried fragments of  the R.I.
>liquid .
If you have a build-up around the lens/prism where the stones are placed,
it's a simple matter of applying fluid to the build-up and wiping away
before it dries. Doing this repeatedly will clean most or all of the
particles. Just be careful when wiping around the glass that you don't
scratch it.
If the particles are working their way into the scale, then it's time to
send it away for repair. There is something wrong with a seal on the
machine. Whatever you do, don't take it apart yourself unless you absolutely
know what you're doing! It should be done by a professional.

Sorry to give you the bad news, hope it helps??
Arnold S.









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