LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
Issue No. 95 - Thursday March 27, 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
From the Moderator:
Topical Focus for This Week: POLISHING QUARTZ GEMS CLINIC
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.
HOMEWORK for tonight:
What polishing problems occur most frequently?
What type of laps / wheels / pads did you use?
What type of polishing media?
What pitfalls did you encounter ?
What solutions did you find ?
This discussion is one that all members (cabbers, tumblers and faceters)
of the list should have experience with since so many gem materials
are quartz based.
With that in mind, get those post in for inclusion in
Next Weeks Topic of focus. Gemstone Photography Clinic.
Here is an idea. Members could research this topic in old digest
IFA, LAD, USFG, Hale Sweeny's Lapidary Digest Archives and
compose a list of Issues and or URL's that are useful to the discussion
in addition to personal experiences.
Index to Today's Digest
01 RE: Quartz Polishing Clinic
02 RE: Quartz Polishing Clinic
03 RE: Quartz Polishing Clinic
04 RE: Garnet, Quartz and Tourmaline
05 RE: Tourmaline cutting issues
06 NEW: Jubilee Project Update
07 NEW: Show this weekend
08 NEW: Thin rough for sale issues
Subject: Quartz polishing
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 16:13:35 -0600
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <email@example.com>
From: "Criss Morgan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I've been following the thread about polishing Quartz with interest, and
I'd like to add my two cents worth.
In the last issue, one of the responders said he finds the Ultra-Lap
rwoand too expensive. I'll go along with the expensive part, but I have to
take exception to the useless part.
I have never had the first problem getting a Cerium Oxide or Spectra
Ultra-Lap to polish Quartz, other than a slight rounding of the facet edges,
and you can keep that to a minimum by using a ceramic lap as a master lap to
support the Ultra-Lap.
The same writer says he always uses nothing but diamond to polish Quartz,
and I've never been able to get it to polish anywhere near as good as Cerium
does. I'd sure like to know what technique he uses to get good results using
diamond as a polish for Quartz.
If I'm faceting a competition stone, I use a Dyna-Lap charged with Cerium
to get goodrp facet edges. Otherwise, I always use Ultra-Laps for polishing
Quartz. They do a super good job, and there's no mess like what you'd get
using Cerium Oxide powder. It amazes me how many times other faceters
comment on the polish I get with Ultra-Laps. Most people, except faceting
competition judges, will never notice the rounding of the facet edges,
unless they are looking at the stone under a 20 power microscope, and even
then, most people won't see the rounding.
The way I use Ultra-Laps is simple. Put your ceramic lap on the machine and
get a good bead of water standing on the stationary lap. Then place the
Ultra-Lap on the puddle of water, centering it carefully. After I screw down
the lap nut, I very carefully work out all the bubbles that get trapped
under the Ultra-Lap. I then turn the machine on full speed, and the excess
water gets slung out from under the Ultra-Lap. I continue using high speed
to polish most of the facets, the exception being small facets, which I
sometimes use a stationary lap and just sweep taceting head back and forth
across the lap. That will help prevent you from overcutting the smaller
facets. Sometimes I even bring in the meetpoint using a nice new Ultra-Lap
while I'm polishing. I use a fairly fast water drip while polishing, so the
stone doesn't get overheated by the fast lap speed.
I almost always go directly to the Ultra-Lap from a 1200 diamond lap with
no problems bringing up the polish. Every once in a great while I'll get a
piece of Quartz that will give me a little problem on one or two facets.
When that happens, I take the pre-polish on out to a 3000 grit lap, and that
seems to always do the trick. I've very seldom had to resort to that though.
Another thing you need to know about using an Ultra-Lap, is to be careful
to avoid too much pressure. I guarantee you it will ruin your day if you put
too much pressure on an Ultra-Lap spinning at high speed, and it suddenly
folds up on you. It'll almost give you heart failure. W when I was trying
to get one more facet to polish with a worn out Ultra-Lap, and put a little
too much pressure on the stone. It's a lot better to go ahead and change to
a new Ultra-Lap than to have that happen to you.
As far as cost goes, it really isn't all that bad. You can usually find
Ultra-Laps for around 8 to 10 dollars for five of them, and if you're gentle
with them you can almost always polish two or sometimes three stones with
one lap, if they aren't huge stones. I cut one 345 carat laser rod
Portuguese cut once and only used one Ultra-Lap polishing all the facets but
the table. I probably could have gotten it to polish with the same
Ultra-Lap, but by the time I had gotten to the point where it was time to
polish the table, I was impatient to be done with the stone, so I used
another one to polish the table because it would be finished faster.
Another thing that keeps being brought up is the coarse grit laps causing
subsurface amage. I don't know why this doesn't appear to happen to me with
Quartz, because I always rough gring with a 100 grit lap.th Quartz, I go
from a 100 grit Crystalite lap to a 1200 grit 3M lap and directly to an
Ultra-Lap from there for polish. Maybe I'm just lucky, but after cutting
hundreds of Quartz stones over the years, it just plain works great for me.
Ask anyone who's seen a stone I've cut using this method. They'll all tell
you the same thing. It works for me.
Please excuse all the typos in my above e-mail. I couldn't get the spell
checker to work, and that's when I normally edit all the errors out of my
typos, so instead of rewriting the entire post, I just sent it like it was.
If you have any questions about it or have trouble understanding it with all
the typos, please e-mail me, and I'll explain.
Subject: Quartz polishing clinic
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 00:12:22 EST
Hi all, This clinic in my mind is ,as they say, "a non starter". There
aboslutely is no problem polishing quartz when you use a Vargas Pol-A-Gem
Cerium Oxide Lap, period! It will not cause scratches and will polish
readily and beautifully from a 1200 pre-polish. I know someone who goes
right from a well worn 600 to polish. Additional powder may sometimes be
added if you have a very large table,ie. as in a 30 X 20 stone, to speed
things up a bit, otherwise all you add is water. A beautiful polish comes up
in seconds on typical sized stones. The CeO is built right in to the lap
surface. If the lap is ever accidentally gouged, it can be remachined to
like-new condition. . With reasonable care, one lap will last a lifetime.
I (we) are constantly amazed by comments regarding difficulties polishing
quartz, or by hearing of people who get a sub-par polish with diamond.
I'll take this opportunity to mention that I met with Glenn Vargas today. He
and Dick Rugel will soon be commencing on a manufacturing campaign. The
weather is a factor. Glenn lives in Thermal, CA, and the ambient conditions
will soon be right.
( Thermal isn't named Thermal by accident ;-)) I have convinced them that
it is imperative that they make a substantial quantity of 8". Glenn had
refused to make 8" ( producing only 6") for the last couple of years because
of lathe problems, but Dick believes all will be allright now.
They have agreed to also make a quantity of Alumina-B laps ( as well as
Cerium Oxide) in both 6 and 8" sizes.
When the laps are ready, I will make a posting as I did last year to advise
when they are ready to go. It should happen in the May/June time period.
Right now we have four "undersize" 6" CeO laps. ( Glenn didn't want to waste
material so he made several slightly undersize during his last manufacturing
campaign). These are available for $60 including postage for US delivery.
I'll be taking them to Gem Diego this weekend if anyone is interested. So
far I am told that one is already "sold".
Regards from the 90 degree CA. desert.
Subject: Polishing Quartz
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 09:50:35 -0500
From: "Robert B. Eleazer, Jr." <email@example.com>
Faceting is for me a fun hobby. I am not into competitive faceting. I
facet about 25 stones per year, some large, some small. I have never
sold a stone, I give away what I do not want to keep.
1.. Diamond bonded metal 260 to rough in main facets.
2.. 600 DYNA DISK=20
3.. 1200 DYNA DISK
4.. SPECTRA ULTRALAP
THE ABOVE IS FOR LARGE STONES (10mm & up)
for small stones..as above but..
1.. use 600=20
I start all Large stones with a new Spectra Lap. I can afford $15.
per year. I get no scratches and no hi blood pressure. If I want to
beat myself up, I go play golf...
Subject: cutting angles for rhodolite, polishing quartz, and cutting tourmaline
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 17:19:46 -0700
From: Steve and Nancy Attaway <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I had hoped to respond well before now to the digest. However, I
chained myself to the faceting bench after Tucson to prepare for our
local club's gem, jewelry, and mineral show.
When I facet rhodolite garnet, I use shallow angles, such as those
used for topaz. I cut the culet at 41 degrees or even 40 degrees.
Shallow pavilion angles bring out the color in rhodolite garnet, a gem
that exhibits a very saturated, deep red color mixed with purple/pink
tones. To retain some carat volume, leave a thick girdle. The corian lap
and the Last lap, both with diamond, polish rhodolite garnet (and
peridot) very well. A facetor may also use a ceramic lap with diamond to
polish those tiny sliver facets on the pavilion and the little star
facets around the table. Many polishing laps tend to round the facets.
The ceramic lap allows flat facets with crisp meets. The corian lap also
polishes topaz and tourmaline very well.
Regarding quartz, I know faceters who have polished quartz on a Last
lap, a ceramic lap, and the Batt lap. The cerium oxide dyna laps also
polish quartz very well, and those laps can be re-charged. In years
past, faceters mixed a cerium oxide slurry and painted it on a lap
(usually lucite) to polish quartz. What a mess that was! However,
re-charging the cerium oxide dyna laps with the pump bottles should be
done outdoors on newspapers. You want the area where you spray the laps
to be well ventilated.
Those faceters who purchased tourmaline (liddicoatite) gem rough from
Nigeria own some very nice faceting rough. Colors range from deep reds
to deep pinks, some with taupe and purple tones. (Some excellent teal
greens and blues were found in small quantities.) Besides manganese and
iron, this particular tourmaline, in the reddish colors, contains a high
concentration of bismuth in the crystal structure. (Please check Gems
and Gemology, Summer 2001, pages 152 and 153.) This Nigerian deposit
yielded clean tourmalines in large sizes. I cut my first two of the very
saturated red colored tourmalines in quartz angles, but I saw that the
finished gems appeared too dark. Using sapphire angles promoted more
sparkle and brightened the gems. If the color is not too dark looking
down the C axis, lovely gems may be cut down the C axis. I was able to
get two matching 9mm rounds from a crystal that showed a deep rose hue
down the C axis. (Getting two tourmalines to match in color for earrings
is always a challenge.) Modified emerald cuts yield some very nice
stones from this red material cut along the long axis, and a facetor can
get away with cutting the culet at 40 degrees (or even 39 degrees, if
necessary). Again, leave thick girdles, especially for stones to be set
One strange aspect to faceting tourmaline involves dealing with stress
in the crystals that may not be readily apparent. Two Nigerian
tourmalines that I was faceting into emerald cuts developed stress
cracks after the pre-polish stage and during polish. Both crystals had
been water clear. Steve later sawed them in two pieces for me to re-cut.
I have heard stories of tourmalines splitting in pieces, especially
those tourmalines with a nodule at one end. Some interesting things
happen to our gem rough when cutting that we cannot always predict. This
usually occurs in natural gem material, like emeralds that break and
chrome diopside that crumbles. However, I knew a facetor who had a piece
of cubic zirconia explode in the oven during transfer.
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 16:23:22 -0500
From: R W <email@example.com>
try reversing the lap direction and going slowly -
hope this helps -
(in Maine where spring is springing)
Subject: Jubilee Project Update
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 23:12:39 +0000
From: Michael Hing <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Well, it seems that people are in favour of donating their stones to the
Smithsonian instead, so hopefully we will get the suite of gems together
All you have to do now is to send them to the following address. N.B. I
know that some people are dubious about the whole idea of sending stones
to people they don't know and I understand your concerns: all I can say
is that the details below are easily verifiable.
Dr. Jeffrey E. Post
Curator-in-Charge, Mineral Collection
Department of Mineral Sciences
National Museum of Natural History
Washington, DC 20560-0119
Please include a cover letter stating that the stones are part of the
"Jubilee Project" and that you're donating them to the National
Collection. N.B. there are no guarantees that the Smithsonian will
decide to put the stones on public display.
I'm hoping that I will be able to persuade him to send out a certificate
or a letter of thanks or something to everyone who has participated.
Assuming that I can persuade him to do so (no guarantees!), you might
want to put your return postal address on the letter. Please note that
there's no reason for you to send ME your address (I don't need to know
this: again, people have security concerns about releasing their
addresses and I understand this too). I believe that Jeff travels a
lot, so there is a chance that there might be a delay in response
(again, no guarantees that there will be any response).
Hope that's OK by everyone - now all I need to do is arrange a trip to
the Smithsonian some time to actually see the stones one day!
Subject: Club show
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 16:02:25 -0800
From: "Don Roberts" <email@example.com>
Just to let anyone in the area know, San Diego Mineral and Gem Society
will have their club show this Saturday, March 29, 9:30-5 and Sunday
March 30, 10-4. Lots of dealers, displays and demonstrations. To honor
our military, all active military and their dependents with ID will be
admitted free. Show location: Al Bahr Shrine Center, 5440 Kearny Mesa
Road, San Diego, Ca.
Subject: Thin rough for sale warning
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 21:08:15 +0000
I know that this does not pertain to the quartz issues, but I have been
made aware of quite a scam that is appearing on many web rough vendors' sites.
The ploy is to advertize rough material, especially single pieces of rough, at
good, but not fantastic prices. Usually, in addition to the prices, pictures
and length by width information is given. This makes the deal sound both real
and good. However, if you just do a simple calculation, using the data they
give, what you will find is that the piece(s) of rough is too thin to ever be
used for anything but inlay work! As an example, in one case, I found a piece
of rough advertised at about 90% of what it should have cost. The size give
seemed adequate to make a good 10X8 oval gem. However, when I did the
calculation mentioned, it turned out that the stone could not be any thicker
than 1.3 mm! I have found this on several sites so beware. A really quick,
but quite rough, way to get the thickness is as follows:
Thickness (mm) = weight (ct) x 200 divided by SG x length(mm) x
or, as an equation: T (mm) = ct*200/SG*L*W with L and W in mm and SG
is specific gravity.
In example, a piece of emerald that is 11 mm x 10 mm and weighs
3.9 ct (SG about 2.7) would give::
T = 3.9x200/2.7x11x10 = 780/297 = 2.6 mm This would only allow
stones of about 3 mm smallest side to be cut so is not too good a deal!
Denney L. Wilson
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 ~
HOW TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LEVEL OF
INSANITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.
Find out where your boss shops and buy exactly the same
outfits. Wear them one day after your boss does. This is
especially effective if your boss is of a different gender
Make up nicknames for all your coworkers and refer to them
only by these names. "That's a good point, Sparky." "No,
I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with you there,
Send e-mail to the rest of the company telling them exactly
what you're doing. For example: "If anyone needs me, I'll
be in the bathroom."
Hi-Lite your shoes. Tell people you haven't lost them as
much since you did this.
While sitting at your desk, soak your fingers in Palmolive
liquid. Call everyone Madge.
Hang mosquito netting around your cubicle. When you
emerge to get coffee or a printout or whatever, slap yourself
randomly the whole way.
Put a chair facing a printer. Sit there all day and tell people
you're waiting for your document.
Every time someone asks you to do something, anything,
ask him or her if they want fries with that.
Send e-mail back and forth to yourself engaging yourself in
an intellectual debate. Forward the mail to a co-worker and
ask her to settle the disagreement.
Encourage your colleagues to join you in a little synchronized
Put your trash can on your desk. Label it "IN."
Feign an unnatural and hysterical fear of staplers.
Send e-mail messages saying there's free pizza or donuts or cake
in the lunchroom. When people drift back to work complaining
that they found none, lean back, pat your stomach and say,
"Oh you've got to be faster than that."
Put decaf in the coffee maker for three weeks. Once everyone
has withdrawn from caffeine addiction, switch to espresso.
REFLECTIONS AND TIDBITS:
From: "J Wagstaff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I Can't Believe We Made It!
According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were
kids in the 30's, 40's, 50's, or even the early 60's, probably
shouldn't have survived.
Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We had
no childproof lids or locks on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and
when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. Not to mention the risks we
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors! We
ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but
we were never overweight because we were al ways outside playing.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one
actually died from this.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode
down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into
the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We would leave
home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the
street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at
all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound,
personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms. We had
friends! We went outside and found them.
We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt.
We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were
no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to
blame but us. Remember accidents?
We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned
to get over it.
We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told
it would happen, we did not put out any eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or
rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who
didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Some students weren't
as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat
the same grade.
Horrors! Tests were not adjusted for any reason.
Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.
The idea of parents bailing us out if we got in trouble in school or
broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the school or the
law. Imagine that!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem
solvers, and inventors, ever. We had freedom, failure, success, and
responsibility --- and we learned how to deal with it.
And you're one of them! Congratulations. You have had the luck to grow
up as a kid before lawyers and the government regulated our lives for
our own good !!!
From: "RICHARD P ROSENTHAL" <email@example.com>
I am looking for a primary source for rough White Nephrite Jade, close
to point of origin, which is the Ho-Tien[ Hotan] or Yarkand area of
China. Contact Kenaii@earthlink.net I do have Carving and Gem grade
Green Nephrite Jade from Siberia for sale.
Get a FREE copy of the 2003 Faceter's Engagement Calendar
with a $100+ rough purchase at http://www.qualitygemrough.com
(see website for details).
We have recently added some new material, including a new African
find of green/yellow diopside (and we are the only people we know
who have it). Our stock includes things like alexandrite, amethyst,
aquamarine, chrysoberyl, citrine, emerald, garnets (many varieties)
kornerupine, sapphire, spinel, tourmaline, zircon and more.
At http://www.qualitygemrough.com you get more value for your
money and we show our appreciation for your business with superior
customer service. You always have a money back guarantee with
the 5-day inspection period, and the convenience of using your
Visa or Mastercard.
Rough to Cut
If you're looking for quality facet rough please check out Rough to Cut,
http://www.roughtocut.com. We offer a wide range of quality facet rough
from Aquamarine to Zircon. Large selections in stock currently of Beryl,
Garnets & Tourmalines. Please check us out & when you do, why not give a
try to our contest, you could win a 5ct + piece of Spessartite garnet
Rough to Cut
AVAILABLE FOR SALE
Honey, red & brown zircons, 10g parcels @$20/parcel
Red Garnet $8/g, eye clean-slightly included
Spessartine Garnet $7.50/g, slight-moderately included
Malaya Garnet $6/g, good eye clean roughs
Tunduri Garnet $10/g, eye clean-slightly included
Pink Tourmaline $20/g, eye clean-slightly included
Red Tourmaline $10/g, slight-moderately included
Bicolor Tourmaline $15/g, eye clean
Watermelon Tourmaline $20/g eye clean
Green/Green Blue Tourmaline $10/g, eye clean roughs
Blue, Green & Blue/Green Sapphires $35/g, eye clean-slightly included, up to 1g.
Blue Beryl (Aquamarine) $6/g, eye clean-slightly included crystals
Green Beryl (Emerald) $10-$50/g, eye clean-slightly included crystals, zoned green
Cabbing Grade Aquamarine $3/g
Complete online discount catalog for cabbing and faceting machines, wheels,
laps, polishes, diamond saws, diamond blades, and general lapidary supplies
Solid copper laps 1/4 thick 8" and 6" you can charge both sides with
diamond. Other laps too !! http://www.jewelersgems.com
NOW ONLINE! RRGaetan Gem Rough - Featuring excellent, facet-grade,
Colombian Emerald rough! PLUS, Chrome Tourmaline, Achroite Tourmaline,
Golden Chrome Tourmaline, Aquamarine, Spess, Mint and Malaya Garnets,
and more! For photos and more information, visit us at rrgaetan.com .
LIST and WEBSITE INFO~
LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
is produced by Thurmond Moore III
Tempie Francis, Attorney at Law / Legal Advisor
The LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST is never sent unsolicited.
You are receiving it because you subscribed to it at our digest subscription page at:
To unsubscribe, just use the link below and follow the instructions there:
List Posting Guidelines and rules can be found at:
Published Monday thru Friday, except holidays
Share your love of lapidary with everyone.