Issue No. 85 - Thursday March 13, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre


From the Moderator: 

 Topic of focus for the remainder of this week and next week:

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

Put on your thinking caps and remember your past problems and
success on this topic and share your findings with the list.

Index to Today's Digest

01  NEW: Digital Photography of Faceted Gems
02  FOCUS TOPIC: Garnets and cuts
03  RE: subject focus
04  RE: Raytech
05  RE: Refractometer
07  RE: Andalusite (was:Dopping question)
08  NEW: Grand Opening
10  RE: Solvents and Transfers
11  RE: Refractometer
12  RE: Refractometer
13  RE: Sales channel advise sought


Subject: Digital Photography of Faceted Gems
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 18:16:02 -0500
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: breed8 <breed8@comcast.net>

If anyone has any tips on photographing faceted stones using a digital camera I would
appreciate any information you wish to share.

I am using an Olympus C-4040 Zoom Camera. I cannot get good clear

Maybe someone knows of a web page I can go to for help.

Thanks, Bill Reed
            Mays Landing, NJ


Hi Bill, Unfortunately the "resident expert"  Fred Ward who has photographed and
written for National Geographic is no longer a list member but he did comment on this
subject on numerous occasions. Check the Archives on the web site and I know you
will find some of his tips. Also mygemologist.com has some information on gem photography
and I believe the IGS site at gemsociety.org has some information as well. I also imagine
that there are other list members who are good at gemstone photography as well.



Subject: Garnets and cuts
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 20:02:57 -0500
To: faceters@caprock-spur.com
From: mskelly <mskelly@gte.net>

Hello the List:
    Thurmond asked for Garnet posts, so here is one.
    At http://www.the-gemmery.com/temporary/Garnets.htm are five
photographs of four garnets.
    The first two garnets are dark almandine cut with Jim Perkins' "Derek"
design. This design fires up the two garnets as shown. It is impressive. If
I were to cut another dark garnet, this design would be among the serious
    The second and third pictures are of a color change garnet. The first
of the two is a straight photograph. As you may know, it is difficult to
capture the appearance of a color-change garnet. At least, it is for me. So
the second of the two is a manipulated photograph showing what the the
stone looks like to the eye and not to the camera. The left side is what is
seen under incandescent light, and the right side is what is seen under
daylight (or fluorescent light). The cut is the Hunter design by Jeff
Graham --
The Hunter cut is not an easy cut for me.
    The third garnet is a medium density rhodolite done in Jeff Graham's
Simple Heart design.
mike in sunny, warm Florida


Subject: subject focus
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 22:29:43 -0500
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "paul davis" <pdavis2@neo.rr.com>


You have a great idea about focusing on a particular subject or area of
concern for a specified period of time.  At least long enough to thoroughly
cover the subject.  Phil in Florida has a good subject in various cuts for
various saturations of garnet color.

One I would like to suggest is polishing different quartzes.  I think that
most everybody has had polishing problems with quartz at one time or
another.  I certainly have and it currently is driving me up the wall.
Scratches seem to show up no matter what I try.

I wish you success with this program.



Hi Paul,  The next topic after Garnet has run it's course will be Quartz



Subject: Raytech
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 22:37:06 -0500
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "J Wagstaff" <wagstajo@kos.net>

Don wrote ..."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."

Can these links be fixed as I am trying to get my platform and lap
parallel to each other.



Subject: Re: Refractometer
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 23:22:51 -0800
To: faceters@caprock-spur.com
From: Phillip L Stonebrook <plstonebrook@juno.com>

Greetings list...

<<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.>>

Dan .. I use my refractometer all the time to ID rough. I also use S.G.,
hardness, crystal system, and any other diagnostic data available, since
I never rely on only one parameter to establish an I.D. I usually grind a
window in the rough at 600 grit, and then polish (hand held is fine for
this) to 14K to get good RI and birefringence readings. Since a critical
angle refractometer doesn't require a ground and polished pavilion (only
a polished window) and known pavilion angles like the Hanneman-Hodgkinson
refractometer setup, it works like a champ and, as my primary ID tool, is
very reliable.

Bellcha7 .. With a few exceptions, only a good microscope with darkfield
illumination will allow discrimination between natural and synthetic
materials. A $400 stereo 'scope with decent darkfield illumination will
easily out perform a $2000 'scope without it. Hanneman's Mini-Cube II
with immersion fluids and a hand held loupe, along with good diagnostic
techniques and data, will do a decent job discriminating synthetic curved
color striae. I recommend factory overhaul of your refractometer.

Best regards...
Phil in Florida


Subject: Re: Opal Dirt??????
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 22:47:19 -0600
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Downey <alckytxn@swbell.net>

> Message:11
> 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
> demand?
> 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
> Earth?????????????
> _______
> 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
> Thurmond

Howdy Thurmond,
As a fellow 'Texian' I'm sure you've heard what Graduates of Texas A &
M (Aggies) believe Cheerios are?.
...Donut Seeds!

1 Lucky Texan


Subject: Re: Andalusite (was:Dopping question)
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 22:56:10 -0600
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Downey <alckytxn@swbell.net>

> 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.

Howdy Denney and list,
Even though andalusite is trichroic it evidently doesn't always exhibit
the same set of colors in its 3 axes. The one I cut was quite red in the
the (I guess) C axis and very close the the same shade of green in the
other 2 axes. But, based on the text and photo at
http://www.yourgemologist.com/andalusite.html   it seems possible that,
if the stone was not closely examined in the rough or had a very uneven
shape before cutting began, the presence of a colorless axis could be
missed. BTW- the IGS and the Yourgemologist sites are both superb
resources, check them out.

1 Lucky Texan


Subject: Grand Opening
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 06:27:14 +0000
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: "Frank Romano" <romanfj@hotmail.com>

Announcing...the completion of the Romano Gems website!  Offering a wide
variety of custom-cut cabochons and faceted gemstones, as well as custom
gold and silver jewelry. I can construct custom settings from scratch
components, replace stones in an existing setting, set stones in a
pre-manufactured setting or cut a gem or cabochon to your order.  Repair
work also performed.  The only limitation I have at present is that I can't
perform casting.  This service will be offered in the future, though. 
You're all invited to take a look.
Frank Romano
"Gemcutters are Multifaceted Individuals"

Oh, and if you want to actually see the site, go to:


I can't believe I forgot the link!
Frank Romano
"Gemcutters are Multifaceted Individuals"


Subject: Re: Opal dirt
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 01:16:51 -0800
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Tony <lightbender@thegemdoctor.com>

Hello Aurimas and Thurmond,

I have never met Len Cram but I share an office with Patrick an
ex opal miner from Coober Pedy who has indeed met Len.  There is
no question that Len is one of the worlds foremost opal experts
and he has extensive experience in all aspects of the opal
business and has several published works, great pictures in all
that I've seen.

Len's opal growing is a well known anecdote but he has not
published any information on this subject. He has been quoted as
claiming to grow stones from opal dirt.  The problem at this
point, what is opal dirt? We lapidaries call it cutting swarf,
Pierre Gilson makes his own from refined ingredients. I think
Len would rather people thought him a bit of a looney rather
than someone with a fortune in product from a gem manufacturing

I believe Jon Gearloose told a story of selling cutting swarf
from a large lapis lazuli cutting order, apparently much sought
after as a pigment.  Cutting swarf has a value if you have
enough of it, a hydrothermal melt or Verneuil flame-fusion
process needs ingredients.  You can bet that diamond cutters
save their swarf...LOL.



Subject: Re: Solvents and Transfers.
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 01:34:50 -0800
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Tony <lightbender@thegemdoctor.com>

Hello Wayne and Thurmond.

> These compounds are not the ones that could harm the stones we
> cut.
The obvious exception to that rule is Amber which dissolves
freely in acetone.

> Although these would not normally be issues for most faceters
> they might be for a cutter who is cabbing a stabilized
> material.
I never put turquoise, malachite, coral or lapis in acetone after
it has been polished as I have experienced lustre loss.

I had a great deal of difficulty dealing with the transfer
process when I first started cutting but after trying the
'table, pavilion, crown' cutting order, I have never had to deal
with stone transfer and it's attendant problems again. I have
also never been driven to the desperation of using messy
adhesives .



Subject: Re: Issue No. 84 - Wednesday March 12, 2003
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 11:36:04 -0800
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Don Rogers <Don@Campbell-gemstones.com>

At 05:18 PM 3/12/03 -0600, you wrote:
>- 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.

Didn't you mean 1.59?   Actually, for all practical purposes, RI is not a
good diagnostic measurement for determining natural vs
synthetic.  According to the GIA A Chart, the ranges for emerald are as follows
Natural 1.560   1.600
Hydrothermal    1.565   1.581
Flux            1.561    1.574

Your microscope is still your best tool to make the cut, once you have
determined it is beryl.



Subject: Refractometer
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 19:40:29 -0800
From: "lidafr" <lidafr@attbi.com>
To: "Lapidary Arts and Faceters Digest" <owner-faceters@caprock-spur.com>

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
> 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 ;[specific
> 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 =
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.


  My good friend Dan, Don Rogers has an exellent discussion of
refractometer maintenance in the same Issue # 83..I however, would like
to add a few suggestions on this subject..
I also prefer the GIA RI liquid ( Methylene Iodide ) for the test. Only
deposit a small bead of liquid in about the center of the
hemisphere...Just enough to sufficiently wet the surface of the test
facet... No big glob of of liquid.....It's not necessary and It's too
darned expensive... I still slide the stone from the metal surface onto
the liquid bead..Osmosis does the rest....I can usually get readings for
a couple of different facets from the same wetting.....Wipe the surface
of the hemisphere off immediately after testing...Also the liquid is
vile smelling and poisonous....So don't lick your fingers and please
wash your hands...My humor......Also, store the liquid in the
dark....Light tends to remove some of the Sulphur from solution, which
in turn, darken tne liquid.....Usually there is a small leaf of Copper (
to remove the freed Sulphur ) in the bottom of the bottle....
For faceting rough, I polish a small flat window in a convenient area
and slide or set it into the liquid...If it is unstable ( won't sit on
the window ) you can hold it with tweezers or fingers lightly on the
PersonaIly I've used my refractometer for lo these many years and have
not had any noticeable scratching or wear to the hemisphere
surface...Using a light touch has its advantages...
As for polishing the hemisphere, if necessary, use a small amount of
cerium oxide on a small piece of wet fine weave cotton cloth or soft
leather using the the pad of your fingertip to apply a wide pressure
area..I agree with Don to generally stroke in a lengthwise
direction....Well, enough's enough.........This should help you to
become an ID savant.......


Subject: Advise needed
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 11:04:00 +0000
From: "lenard TAN" <arcorp21@hotmail.com>
To: owner-lapidary@caprock-spur.com

i need some advice
we own two collector stones : tsavorite cabochon ( nice color) of 43 cts and
another one of 30 cts.How can we find a professional marketer who can have
access to the right type of buyer for that kind of stones

many thanks
lenard TAN









PERSONALS: (General Lapidary and Faceting)




Lurking is fine, but participation is better for learning !
Post something from your experiences in gemcutting today!


You might be a redneck if...

Your wife's job requires her to wear an orange vest.

You've ever worn a tube top to a wedding.

Bikers back down from your momma.

You were shooting pool when your kids were born.

Your favorite Christmas present was a painting on black velvet.

You think that Dom Perignon is a mafia leader.

Your school fight song was "Dueling Banjos".

You think a chain saw is a musical instrument.

You've ever stolen clothes from a scarecrow.

You think that beef jerky and Moon Pies are two of the major food groups.



" Don't count the days;
Make the days count."

--- Author Unknown ---



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is produced by Thurmond Moore III

Tempie Francis, Attorney at Law / Legal Advisor

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