LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
Issue No. 251 - Monday, November 24, 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
Sorry about the repeated Funny and Tidbit Friday.
Great digest today. Many post. Enjoy.
Index to Today's Digest
01 NEW: Hi-tech Diamond Faceting Machine?
02 NEW: New Law
03 RE: identifying zinc and tin laps
04 RE: Red cabbing material
05 RE: Faceting Cab material
06 RE: saw blades / fixes
07 RE: Faceting Cab material
08 RE: Growing Opals
09 RE: Faceting Cab material
10 RE: Faceting Cab material
11 RE: straightening of saw blades
12 NEW: Excerpt 3 from The Gem Merchant
13 RE: Faceting Cab material
14 NEW: Inquiry
15 RE: Growing Opals
16 FS: Gemology Course work manuals
Subject: Hi-tech Diamond
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 13:34:28 -0600
From: "jack seger" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To the list: A friend of mine recently purchased a faceting rig with
the name "Hi-Tech Diamond" Simi Valley, Calif. Is anyone familiar with
this machine and are they still in production? Any help will be
appreciated on list or off. Thanks in advance.
Jack in Wisconsin
Subject: new Law
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 12:34:26 -0800
From: "David Gearhart" <email@example.com>
NEW just got this in
Last week there was there was a meeting between US Treasury speakers
and representatives of financial institutions and the gem and jewelry
industry. The purpose of this meeting was to alert merchants to the
requirements of the upcoming Patriot Act legislation. This will affect
everyone in the gem and jewelry industry, with the sole exception of
those with less than $50,000 a year in gross revenues.
The USA PATRIOT Act was passed by Congress shortly after the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks. It is designed to prevent further acts of terrorism
on U.S. soil and contains provisions designed to curb money laundering.
This will affect the majority of businesses and individuals involved in
the gem and jewelry industry.
Specifically, the law directs the Treasury Department to require
"financial institutions" to "create, implement, and test
anti-money-laundering programs." The term "financial institutions" is
defined to include almost everyone who deals in gems, jewelry, or
The required anti-money-laundering programs have four elements:
* A written anti-money-laundering program
* the designation of at least one employee (a compliance officer) to
head the program, to provide guidance to other employees, and to oversee
* training for employees
* independent testing of the program to ensure that it is operating
appropriately and effectively.
Essentially, compliance with the law will require that you get
detailed information on companies you deal with and clearly document the
information. The first step is to assign someone as a compliance
officer. That does not need be a full time position; it can be done by
anyone in your organization.
The regulations will vary depending on the size of your company.
Currently, there are only broad guidelines available and few specifics.
The final rules are scheduled to be published in January 2004. After
release, companies will have approximately three months to comply.
Subject: identifying zinc and tin laps
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 16:25:41 -0500
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: "Jonathan L. Rolfe" <email@example.com>
At 01:51 PM 11/21/2003 -0600, you wrote:
>Is there a common or garden method of identifying zinc and tin laps,
>i.e. telling them apart.
A drop of dilute acid will make zinc fizz and give off hydrogen gas. Even
vinegar will etch it, if it is pure zinc. Tin is not affected.
Subject: RE: Issue No. 250 - Friday, November 21, 2003
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 16:46:11 -0500
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Naomi Sarna" <email@example.com>
Hello to all; re: red cabbing material
I have been looking at trade jewelry mags and there is a red or cherry
quartz on the market now. I'm certain it's synthetic but it is red. Also,
I've cut quartz with hematite, red and pretty. Regards, Naomi in New York
Subject: Re: faceting cabs
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 17:02:24 EST
Faceting cabs is one of my favorite "lets just do it for the fun of it"
things to do. I cut a lot of free forms. I set the angle at 42 degrees and just cut
to a girdle thickness and cut and polish as in faceting. Last step is the
table. Freeform is actually easier than cutting ovals and rounds of course can be
cut with facet crown angles and indexes. The girdle is not nearly as
important since the bezel on cabs covers it completely. For red I have some old
petrified wood slabs and also some red agate from the years past. Polishing is done
same as gem quality with cerium or linde a. At times I may take the dop out
of the spindle and polish the stone on a leather pad hand holding it. It does
round off the edges but again on cabs it at times looks a bit better. Dennis
on ther North Coast
Subject: RE: saw blades/fixes
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 15:51:42 -0800
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Orville & Rose Alene McArthur" <email@example.com>
Frank, If you consider your blade as "toast" then you can go ahead and
experiment on it with a clear conscience. I had the same thing happen
to me on a blade of around ten inches. It was on a gravity feed machine
and I was just pulling on the chain to feed the rock through and put too
much pressure against it. I studied an old article and did just as it
said. Unfortunately the blade got lost in a move before I could prove
whether it was fixed or not. Like Peter said, it needs to be put on a
flat sheet of steel. Then you pound in arcs from the center out to the
rim, keeping the same pattern all the way around the saw blade..sort of
like lines the shape of a Cuesinart blade, if that makes sense. Then
turn it over and do the same thing on the other side.
Rose Alene McArthur
Subject: facetted cabs.......
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 19:10:37 -0500
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Peter In Maine" <email@example.com>
I have been messing with some black tourmaline ( pocket pieces / real hard
and glassy ).........I have and old ring my Pop gave me that is black onyx
and I thaught ..well .....why not try the schorl.........Believe me its
beautiful...........The Brazillian's facet rose and other items that are not
facet grade.......they look great also..........I also do some freeform
beryl ..........comes out very nice too.....
If anyone needs any beryl let me know........just got 2 boxes of crystals
from Rattlesnake Mountain ( Stoneham Maine ).........run from 10mm to 2
Will let em go for 10 cents a gram.............hard and cabbing grade
..........blue color aqua...........( bigger pieces for less $$ ) or if
anyone wants to trade let me know........
Subject: Re: Growing Opals
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 18:18:38 -0800
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Don Rogers <Don@Campbell-gemstones.com>
At 01:49 PM 11/21/03 -0600, you wrote:
>I also am intensely interested in growing some
>opal and would prefer using Len's approach than using highly refined
You might be interested in the latest GIA Insider that released
today. There is a short article on a new synthetic Opal. The link is
I don't know Len Cram personally, but his work with opals legion. He
doesn't share much about his "Opal Farm". Some rumors are that he uses a
"pinch" of the local dirt to give his created opals a real look. Again
rumor, it is said that his created are not distinguishable from natural but
he refuses to release any information on his process to protect the opal
industry that he loves. This love of opals is very evident in his books.
Thurmond, I admire your quest. I'm not sure where you live, but when you
consider that opals are found all along the pacific divide, as well as
Louisiana and Idaho, you might just hit the jackpot. There is a place just
south of Santa Cruz, Ca called Opal Cliff. It is completely covered with
houses now, but I have always wondered where the name came from.
Subject: Faceting Cab Materials
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 19:38:33 -0500
From: Ted Shack <email@example.com>
Subject Facet Cabs;Just read the post of Jerry Stroud about faceting
cab materials.I do a lot of custom cutting & have used Black Onyx,Opal
Jade,Tiger eye as well as Hematite.I think I've used more materials but
those are a few that come to mind.Red materials are difficult to find
but I have faceted red jasper for chess games & checkers.Would you
believe a combo of cab & facet for cribbage pegs in all types of
materials!!!I've even had a call to do a set of black onyx cribbage pegs
with a small .05 pt diamond in a gold bezel drilled & glued in the top
of each one.The other set was green BC jade with a ruby set in the
I've faceted small triangular cubes of agate to be used in various
board games.One client was a master monoply player,I didn't know they
had compeitions for the game and requested some unique pieces for his
boeard.Doing the rounded milk bottle in white quartz was a
challange.I've used epidote to facet dice & drill holes on the sides for
the numbers and use epoxy & black carbon to highlite the dots.Hope
others can use their imaginations as a lot of the old cab materials can
be utilized for a lot of useful purposes.
My favourite task was doing a set od checkers in tigereye.I did them as
8 sided blocks,approx 7.0mm thick & flat top so they could be
crowned.The other set was done in blue lace agate.They were outstanding
on the checkerboard which was done in black onyx & red jasper squares.I
had a mahogany trim on the sides & slots for the checkers on each
players ends.I was very fortunate to match each jasper square perfectly
as they were all cut from the same piece as was the tigereye and blue
lace agate.I used my faceting machine to cut the squares for the board
so they were identical.Lots of work but the result was spectacular.
Wow Ted, Those sound beautiful. Any Pics?
Subject: Faceted cabs
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 19:59:31 -0800
From: Webb Long <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hi Thurmond and all, Ok I give, What is a faceted cab ? You really have
my interest let's hear more (Moore)! As a side bar, I had a big wow in my
28" saw. I took it to a saw shop and they straightened it as good as new
and at a very reasonable cost. Webb Long, in Spokane,Washington where we
don't have to look at the mountains to see snow, just look out the window!
Subject: Re: Issue No. 250 - Friday, November 21, 2003
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 08:31:51 -0500
From: "Don Sommerfield" <email@example.com>
Regarding the straightening of saw blades. I took my blade to a shop that
sells wood saw blades to wood workers. The operator had a small anvil and
used a hammer to true up my blade in a few minutes.Look in the yellow pages
amd give some of them a call. My source was quite reasonable. I am in Cape
Subject: Re: Issue No. 247 - Monday, November 17, 2003
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 16:24:46 -0300
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: David Stanley <email@example.com>
Dear fellow readers,
Below find an excerpt from the 2nd edition of "The Gem
Merchant-How to be one-How to deal with one." I hope that it is
informative and perhaps entertaining. If you want more information about
the book, or wish to order the easiest way would be to go to
www.gembuying.com an click on the link for more information.
Since a profit is the difference between what you buy something for and what
you sell it for, what you do with that something usually has a lot to do with your
profit. If you're not going to simply resell the whole rough lot, you need to work
the material into something of greater value. Those who feel they have gem
knowledge know that this is a crucial step.
Working the rough means first separating the rough into different categories--
categories which are most appropriate to produce the different type of products
which are available from what rough. It means manufacturing the rough into those
products and/or selling part or all of the rough to people who can do so.
This can be the most sophisticated part of the gem business, because it takes
greater understanding of raw material, production capacities and markets than any
The first, and often the most important, part of working rough is a phase which
was started during the analysis of the rough before it was bought--the separation
When carefully evaluating and separating rough for its most profitable use, we
first have to keep in mind existing orders. Besides the factor of customer
satisfaction, we should consider the faster turnover. Less interest paid on capital
and perhaps greater annual return on capital are other considerations. With these
in mind one sometimes "forces" material into other shapes or categories than
would be ideal for the rough.
After classifying the rough there are times when we want to hold part in reserve
SECTION III/ CUTTING (MANUFACTURING)
Figure 16. For best gem recovery, faceted stones are usually cut from rough material
of a generally similar shape. Here a long piece of rough is converted to a baguette;
an unusual shape, to a pear shape and a cushion; and a pebble, to a round and an
oval. for future orders. Sometimes these grades will be grouped with similar reserves.
Within the following classifications we sometimes separate by shape. Some
rough will cut easier with less weight loss into one shape, while others fit another
category. Some entire lots fit one category. There is some rough tourmaline, for
instance, which are long bar-shaped pieces which cut baguettes with low weight
loss. The same pieces with certain classic stress inclusions would be much better
for pear shapes, triangles or slices; and if broken pieces come out, these goods
would be better for rounds or ovals (see Figure 16). The cutter prefers to keep
stock this way in order to calculate the capacity to execute incoming orders from
Normally we separate in order of descending economic value. One clean gram
of facet quality rough would usually be worth more than one gram of identical
material that is milky and appropriate for cabochons. An order for separation
. Center Stones
. Accessory Stones
. Calibrated Stones
-Carre (Calibrated Squares)
. Free Form and Fancy
100 THE GEM MERCHANT
. Carved (for J ewelry)
. Center Stones
. Free Forms
Carvings (Free Standing)
Pebbles (for Glued Painting, Fish Tanks, etc.)
Except at times for carved works of art, faceted stones are usually the most
expensive (this excludes some phenomenon stones) in a species.
Center stones are larger stones (of a species) which are generally rarer and
more expensive. The larger, cleaner pieces of rough are segregated for this use.
Accessory stones are located next in the order of separation. They are cut from
pieces of rough which have at least one small, clear piece of faceting material. If
the rough has at least one larger clean piece of acceptable color, it goes into the
center stone pile. You should realize that one piece of rough may have within it
many different qualities of rough and that it is graded according to the best grade
that it has. Calibrated stones are picked from center and accessory stone rough.
This rough conforms closer to standard shapes and sizes; therefore, it will lose
less weight in cutting.
From the smaller pieces of this rough and later from the leftover sawed pieces
are first chosen the harder-to-find, squarish pieces in order to make carre stones
and finally other very small pieces which are used to make melee. Free-form
stones will generally get the best recovery from rough. The opposite is true if one
is trying to cut a predetermined free-form size or shape and has to "force" the
rough material. These stones will be found in the center stone group and will
appear by the process of elimination. Some cutters have no market for free-form
or even fancy shapes and will elect not to cut or even sell this rough but cut it in
standard shapes. Carved stones sometimes are derived from material which has
inclusions or shapes which otherwise prohibit productive use in jewelry. In some
of these cases a sculptor can utilize the material. As with free-forms, trying to
make a stone into a predetermined size or shape makes recovery very low.
After all facet-grade material has been picked, the next major classification to
be selected is cabochon. Cabochon material is disqualified for faceting because of
visible inclusions, cloudiness (sub-optic inclusions) or at times very strong dichroism.
When dichroism is the problem, it means a strong negative (devaluing) hue
and/or tone would appear in the finished gem if cut in a non-wasteful shape. This
may be avoided in a cabochon cut.
SECTION III/ CUTTING (MANUFACTURING) 101
CENTER STONE CABOCHONS CABOCHONS--Are cut into round and oval shapes. All
other shapes are considered fancy or free-form. Because the rough is less valuable,
greater weight loss (lower recovery) is accepted in order to cut into a few
CALIBRATED CABOCHONS CABOCHONS--Calibrated cabochons are cut into round,
ovals and occasionally pear shapes. All others are considered fancy shapes.
FREE-FORMS AND FANCY CABOCHONS CABOCHONS--There is a small but growing
market for these stones in recent years. Fancy cabochons have been showing up
more in calibrated sizes. BUFF-TOPS UFF-TOPS--Occasionally we find a stone with a
cabochon top and a faceted pavilion. This we call a buff-top.
CARVINGS (Freestanding)--After all faceting and cabochon material has
been picked, the good-color, larger sizes may be carved or sold to carvers for free
standing pieces (objects of art).
BEADS BEADS--Smaller pieces can be cut into beads and drilled or sold to bead
TUMBLED STONES STONES--Over a period of time, you may collect enough one- to
two-gram pieces of grades so inferior that they don't serve the above functions.
These can be put in a vibrating tumbler with the proper abrasives, and in some
hours to days they will be polished. You can also try to sell these to a concern
PEBBLES PEBBLES--Finally we reach the lowest rung on the ladder. This rough is sold
as fish tank gravel or as material to be glued onto handicraft works.
COLLECTION PIECES PIECES--In truth, collection of rare and unusual crystals is
not part of the business of a gem merchant or a cutter. It is a separate business
with different expertise. If, however, one is going to buy mine-run lots of rough,
at some point you are going to find yourself with collection pieces. In order not to
throw profit away unnecessarily, you may wish to study gemology, geology and
especially crystallography (enough to at least recognize what is valuable). In this
case you should probably also attend some shows and/or clubs for collectors to get
an idea of what is desirable and how much it is worth.
Subject: Faceting cabs
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 21:27:41 -0500
From: Denney Wilson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I love to facet emerald cabs! If you have some grade B or C opaque
emerald, it makes beautiful faceted cabs and they are actually worth
something! Other items are badly included quartz items (amethyst,
citrine, etc.) and even some jaspers. The beauty is that, if you do an
oval, you can set the stone in a standard cab mount and have a truly
unique piece of jewelry. This type of faceting was not uncommon about
100 years ago, but is rare today. As to polishing, just use what you
always use (I only use diamond.) and take care to polish as if the stone
were the best grade of facet material you ever cut. Enjoy!!!
Denney L. Wilson
Subject: an information about myself
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 08:22:13 +0200
From: "birdamlasu" <email@example.com>
I would be very happy if you publish this mail. I usually am curious
about the people I correspond through internet, how they look like, what
they do, do they have children, grand children etc.. When I receive a
photo from them I am very glad. I wanted to let my friends know that I
am moving from Ankara to Istanbul for the winter but after winter I will
be in this place;
I am hoping I will be able to create again with my full ability when I
Kind regards from Turkey,
Subject: Opal Plantation
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 22:01:45 +1030
From: "aurimas" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A few years ago, in Viet Nam, some enterprising Aussie soldiers made a
nice profit by selling kangarooster feathers to the GIs. The local
chooks were more frightened of the Aussies than they were of the Viet
Cong, and there were many sad and embarrassed cocks trying to hide
their plight by walking backwards and squatting a lot.
I know that you got a couple of pounds of Aussie opal dirt, but mate,
fair suck of the sauce bottle, that is not enough.
I live in an area that in many ways is similar to Texas, so if I got a
bucket or two of Texas dirt, could I then grow some oil???
A good way to find the stuff is to dig a hole, have a look, if empty,
dig another one, in a known opal bearing area. Back in the 60's I met a
very interesting chap in Andamooka, an opal miner, full of booze and
attitude. He swore on his mother's grave that the best way to find the
direction of the opal vein when down the hole was to use a hollow
pendulum made from Bakelite with a small piece of the correct colour
paper inside. The colour of the paper had to be "in sympathy" with the
opal, then it would swing towards the opal. He carried a tobacco tin
full of bits of variously coloured paper, just to make sure he had all
the bases covered. It worked, I saw it . The pendulum did swing, but
not always in the same direction. This called for a drink,and after 2
coffee cups of El Cheapo Wine, he would try again to confirm the best
direction before starting a drive. No bloody good, mate, the bugger
would not swing. I did not have the heart to tell him that the booze
stopped his hands from shaking. He kept on finding small bits, just
enough for tucker and booze, but he held on to his dream. He made sure
that he embalmed himself well before his death, but did not "strike it
Aurimas in Adelaide in South Australia,7hrs S of Andamooka.
Hi Aurimas, The dirt from oil property will not work. Already tried that one
since we are almost surrounded by wells and dont have any of our own. LOL
I don't know much about Len Cram's methods, but what I can find makes much more sense
that the "accepted" science concerning opal formation. What I can glean from his work
would seem to indicate a process of ion exchange similar to a water softener setup.
It appears that the chemical processes involved would tend to assemble the array
of silica spheres much the same way crystals grow, but, at a microscopic scale rather than
atomic scale. Opal though not crystaline shares many characteristics of crystals due
to the necesity of an orderly array of spheres.
Keep providing balance for me mate.
Subject: gemological courses
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 11:25:27 -0500
From: "breed8" <email@example.com>
I have available the Diamond, Colored Stone and Gem Identification
course which I studied back in 1979.
If anyone has an interest in purchasing these for their information
content only, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
MESSAGES FORWARDED FROM HALE SWEENY
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 ~
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 20:33:17 -0500
From: "J Wagstaff" <email@example.com>
LETTER FROM A FARM KID, NOW AT SAN DIEGO MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT
Dear Ma and Pa:
I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine
Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile.
Tell them to join up quick before maybe all of the places are filled. I
was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m.,
but am getting so I like to sleep late.
Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and
shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to
split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. Men got to shave but it is not
so bad, there's warm water.
Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon,
etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant,
pie and other regular food. But tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit
by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds
you till noon, when you get fed again.
It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much. We go on "route"
marches, which the Platoon Sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If
he thinks so, it is not my place to tell him different. A "route march"
is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore
feet and we all ride back in trucks.
The country is nice, but awful flat. The Sergeant is like a
schoolteacher. He nags some. The Capt. is like the school board. Majors
and Colonels just ride around and frown.
They don't bother you none.
This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals
for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a
chipmunk head and don't move. And it ain't shooting at you, like the
Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and
hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.
Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to
wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they
break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home. I'm
about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in
Silver Lake. He joined up the same time as me. But I'm only 5'6" and 130
pounds and he's 6'8" and weighs near 300 pounds dry.
Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers
get onto this setup and come stampeding in.
Your loving daughter,
~ Gail ~
TIDBITS AND REFLECTIONS~
When I'm feeling down, I like to whistle. It makes the neighbour's dog
run to the end of his chain and gag himself.
Submitted by J Wagstaff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
LIST and WEBSITE INFO~
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