Issue No. 229 - Friday, October 17, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
Hi all,

Another good List Today.  Many thanks to all who posted.
Have a great weekend and remember to share your cutting
experiences from this weekend with the list next week.


Index to Today's Digest

01  RE: big diamond
02  WTB: Facet Manager/Accu-Light
03  RE: lapidary the old way
04  RE: Turquoise
05  RE: the great unwashed
06  RE: What is a gemstione?, Value, appraisals.
07  RE: Honduras Opal Cutting
08  RE: lapidary the old way
09  RE: Honduras Opal Cutting
10  RE: Honduras Opal Cutting
11  RE: Saw coolants
12  RE: big diamond


Subject: Re: Issue No. 228 - Thursday, October 16, 2003
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 20:55:42 EDT
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: PANACHEGEMS@cs.com

I say the Diamond will go above the expected $10,000.000.00. Just how many
are out there in that clarity, Color & Carat. And basically the economy is right
for a Collector in that category of purchase. In ten Years you are looking at
a Major return if it were to be offered for sale. Just look at the price the
Natural 1/4ct Red Diamond  sold for. And what is it worth now? not even for
sale. If I were Bill Gates that bauble would be mine, but he will only pay $6.00
for a haircut, and only flies standby, Go figure.


Subject: Wanted: Facet Manager/Accu-Light
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 18:19:20 -0700
To: "'LapidaryArtsDigest'" <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Dan Linder" <dan@madfrog.net>

Has anybody used an attachment for the Facetron called the "facet manager",
and/or a visual depth-of-cut indicator called the "Accu-Light"?  I'm
interested in getting feedback on these items!

If anyone has an extra or unwanted facet-manager or Accu-Light that they'd
like to sell, please contact me off-list.




Subject: Re: Lapidary the Old Way
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 21:03:47 -0500
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Downey <alckytxn@swbell.net>

> Subject: Lapidary the Old Way
> Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 22:57:16 -0700
> To: <ttrimm@dragonbbs.com>
> From: "Steven W. De Long" <sdelong@san.rr.com>
> Cc: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
> Hi,
> Also, there is a fair amount of information available in old magazines etc.
> about how stones were cut in Idar Oberstein in the old days on "giant" 15
> foot diameter sandstone wheels driven by water.  That would obviously be
> difficult to replicate today.

I believe I read (or I think I saw a lithograph - fitting!) that those
lapidaries would lie on their stomachs and work on the top side of those
wheels, whoich were driven by waterwheel. In the winter ,to help keep
warm, they would actually have dogs lie across their lower backs!
Sorry I can't remember the source.

1 Lucky Texan


Subject: "stabelised"
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 22:26:53 -0400
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "RICHARD P ROSENTHAL" <kenaii@earthlink.net>

In response to the comments about backing up Turquoise. It seems that
Tiffany et.al.mined most of the known deposits of good Turquoise in the
`20`s and most of what is left is chalk or material that is too powdery
to be used as a gemstone. Stabilization is a process developed by the
father of Marty Courbough the Kingman Turquoise dealer in which material
is dried to almost zero percent moisture in a vacuum and then a epoxy
mist is introduced, this is drawn into the stone by the vacuum and
impregnates the stone inside and out creating a cutable product. Most
Turquoise today is stabilized with the exception of Sleeping Beauty
which is usually sold natural. Stabilized stone is generally considered
of lesser value then a natural stone of equal size and color. Thanks to
everyone who helped answer my questions about Almag.
kenaii@earthlink.net  Best Wishes


Subject: unwashed
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 22:59:33 -0400
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "RICHARD P ROSENTHAL" <kenaii@earthlink.net>

I hate to add my two cents to tempest in a teapot but I thought I heard
a very rational thought yesterday somewhere in that thread. Allow me to
repeat it as I understood it. Perhaps in some cases it is the skill of
the faceter which is being sold more then the actual stone itself.  If
this is the case and there is a market for people who appreciate this
skill maybe it makes more sense economically to use synthetic stones so
that the work can be sold at a more competitive price. Surely this is an
acquired taste and so this market is going to be smaller then the
overall market. In this case it would seem to be somewhat the sellers
problem to cultivate this market. It is useless to sell fish at the beef
market then complain that people are to stupid to realize that fish are
better then beef for them. Contrary to popular myth if you build a
better mousetrap the world will not beat a path too your door. If you 
are in the gem business part of the job description is marketing. This
is not as important as the actual skill of the faceter but you would be
surprised how close to fifty percent of the equation it is. It is
commendable to take the quality of ones work personally, I think it
should be so,  much of a good stone cutter or jewelers work is going to
be here long after the creator is gone, it is part of your legacy to the
world,  but unless you are a hobbyist that is only part of the job. Many
people who may not be educated to detect the skill of a well cut stone
are plenty smart enough to know if they are being talked down too. With
the proper magnifiers and other educational tools customers could easily
be shown the difference between a well cut stone and a piece of schlock.
If the jeweler is not responsible  to teach about jewelry who is? You
must either find and cultivate the market you want or create it.That is
the business you choose. 

Best Wishes kenaii@earthlink.net


Hey, Watch those beef comments!! LOL



Subject: What is a gemstione?, Value, appraisals.
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 20:05:03 -0700
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Galarneau's" <gggemswcr@cox.net>

  Seems so I started this with a simple question of what is a gemstone
let me try to explain my own observations of selling gemstones,
interfacing with other cutters, interaction with many jewelry store
owners, interaction with gemstone rough sellers; interaction with
finished gemstone sellers from the USA, Brazil, Africa, Madagascar,
India, Thailand, SriLanka, Korea, and China, for the last 25 years.  The
basic question that can no longer be answered is "What is a gemstone? " 
 Without an answer to the question one cannot assign value because there
is no standard by which to judge the object.  A gemstone always
historically had a value assigned to it by its physical characteristics
of weight, color, and clarity.  Added to that value is the value of the
finished stone be it facetted, carved, or cabbed.
  The amateur cutter explosion in the USA has dramatically altered the
basic definition of a gemstone.  Amateurs have no idea of what the
current value of rough or finished gemstones are on the current world
market.  Amateurs spend way too much for rough that has little to no
commercial value.  Because of this the finished products these amateurs
are trying to sell their products at  tremendous prices because of the
skill of the cutter.  A few of these stones are sold, but by and large
the majority of these stones still reside with the person that cut them
or are given away because they can not convince buyers that the skill
required to cut that stone in that manner is worth that much money.  
How many competition cutters do you know who make their living cutting
gemstones?  I know of none.  Can you name me one?
  I am a cutter.  That is what I do for my whole living.  In order for
cutting to demand  a high price a cutter must  work on material that
demands a high price on the world market.  Cutting will never on a daily
basis obtain the highest price when the material being cut is of low
value.  I cut and sell lot of quartz, but I do not command the same
price for my labor as when I cut a 10+ carat gem grade beryl or
tourmaline, or a 3+ carat gem grade sapphire.  Neither do I put the
effort or skill into the quartz that I put into the gem grade materials.

  In my opinion cutters in the USA are making a big mistake by comparing
artists to gemstone cutters.  An artist historically took materials that
were basically of no value, pigments, canvas, clay, massive stone, etc
and made objects of such beauty and splendor that people gave their
works value and prestige. Gemstones and jewelry are not the same. 
Gemstones and jewelry have value assigned to the raw materials as well
as to the craftsmanship of the artist that put them together.  To me it
is fine to sell a piece of glass cut in a fancy shape with perfect
cutting for a million dollars if you sell it as art.  If you sell it as
a gemstone you are really making a mistake and contributing to the many
half truths that are making it harder each day to talk sensibly about
the value of what a cutter makes.
  I am not an award winner because the only competitions I enter are the
major gemshows and everyday selling of my products.  I have competed in
that forum for 25 years. Each and every  opportunity I have I talk to
people about the value of what they are interested in.  I tell them  the
truth as far as I know it.  All the stones I sell are accompanied by my
receipt with my full contact information.  If a customer demands more
than that I gladly supply them with what I have available.  If a person
comes to me with a piece of junk I tell them it is a piece of junk and I
tell them why it is a piece of junk.  If a customer comes up to me with
something valuable, I tell them it is valuable and why it has value.
  I find so many cutters, gemstone dealers, and rough dealers operating
in the realm of half truths trying to establish great value at the
expense of the true value of the rough that the truth about value is
getting harder and harder to distinguish.  That is why I now ask - Does
anyone really know what is a gemstone?

  Gerry Galarneau


Subject: Honduras Opal
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 23:16:55 -0400
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: sinico@nbnet.nb.ca (H.Durstling)

Hi Steve,

As to cutting and polishing the Honduras matrix opal, my personal practise
is to not bother. As you say, it is porous. The black basalt has small open
pores plus larger pale "sandy" areas which crumble.

I've tried capping it with clear quartz. No go. Unless you have a truly
exceptional stone the fire's just not strong enough. My doublet looked like
sand under glass. I've tried epoxy and opticon with about the same results.

Yet I still find it hard not to buy the stuff: it looks so pretty in the
water when they sell it. I'd say its best use might be carving.

Hans Durstling
Moncton, Canada


Subject: Re: Issue No. 228 - Thursday, October 16, 2003
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 00:57:19 +0000
To: LapidaryArtsDigest <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Kreigh Tomaszewski <Kreigh@Tomaszewski.net>
Cc: ttrimm@dragonbbs.com

LapidaryArtsDigest wrote:
> __________________________________________________________
> Message:09
> Subject: Lapidary the Old Way
> Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 22:57:16 -0700
> To: <ttrimm@dragonbbs.com>
> From: "Steven W. De Long" <sdelong@san.rr.com>
> Cc: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
> Hi,
> T. Trimm
> I am responding to a post that appeared on the Lapidary Arts Digest that was
> forwarded to it by Hale Sweeney.
> I guess it really depends on what you mean by old.
> Francis J. Sperisen's book "The Art of the Lapidary" CopyRight 1950
> references many of the old techniques.
> Hope this helps,
> Steve
> __________________________________________________________

The growth and popularity of the lapidary hobby in America was sparked
by a (how-to) Scientific American article by J. H. Howard in the March
1932 edition, starting on page 144. The title was "Gem-Stone Cutting For
The Amateur".

The explosive growth of the hobby was reported by A. G. Ingalls in the
Febuary 1933 issue on page 89. The title was "Amateur Rides A New

And if anyone knows of any earlier references to our shared lapidry
hobby (in the US) I would greatly appreciate you making me aware of
them. These are the earliest I have been able to confirm.


P.S., Hi Hale! Its good to hear from you again, even if indirectly. I'm
overjoyed you passed on your legacy of information (and thanks to
Thurmond for accepting it). Thanks again for your incredable
contributions to our shared hobby. God Bless!


Subject: Honduras Opal Cutting
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 02:06:42 EDT
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: ACMEMINER2@aol.com

Hi, Steve

  What I have been told about polishing Honduras opal is this.  prepolish
with 14,000 then finish with optical grade cerium.  It takes about 5 times longer
to polish than your average agate.  And you need to have to stone "pull" on
the leather.

  After you get a decent polish, clean the cerium as best you can out of any
small pits, let dry.  If it still shows some cerium in the pits take a black
marker, paint over the stone then rub of the rest on a towel. 

  Next put the stone in a small oven safe container and cover the stone with
opticon, (resin only)  and put in a toaster oven at 250 to 300 for 15 minutes.
Turn off the oven and let everything cool down overnight. Take the stone out,
scrape off the opticon and buff with a clean towel. 



Subject: Re: Honduras Opal Cutting
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 23:48:27 -0700
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Tony <lightbender@thegemdoctor.com>

Hello Steve,

Well it seems you have a problem that may not be solvable.
Basaltic opal is seldom a good candidate for cutting and is
usually reserved for specimen use only. Occasionally you may
find solid portions that will take a polish but they are rare.
Stabilisation may be your only recourse if your piece is
particularly friable (sandy and breaks apart with fingers). The
only trouble is you now have essentially a piece of resin with
all of the wearability of plastic.



Subject: Re: Issue No. 228 - Thursday, October 16, 2003
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 23:27:31 -0700
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Don Rogers <Don@Campbell-gemstones.com>

>Actually, the antifreeze used in a saw should be the kind that is used to
>'winterize' the drinking water systems of motor homes. The name of it is
>propylene glycol and it is nonpoisonous. Propylene glycol is available at
>vehicle centers.

Grant, having used that type antifreeze in both my campers and sailboats,
it doesn't strike me as having the properties that would make it a good saw
lubricant and rust preventer.  It is watery and although I didn't get any
rust in my plastic pipes, I don't personally know how it holds up under use
in saws as a rust preventive.  I am also not sure it is good to breath the

My point though was that whatever you use in your saw, even though it may
be food grade to start with, will be contaminated with the swarf from
cutting the stones and then becomes an unknown as to it toxic
prosperities.  A lot of the stones we cut have some very dangerous
chemicals in them.  To amplify my point, I just bought some tool steel bits
for my lathe.  I was shocked to get a MSDS with them listing all the know
bad things that would be released when grinding them.  Overkill?  Don't
know.  However, some 40 years ago, the airlines used to serve little
packages of cigarettes with the meal because they were good for your
digestion.  Every C-ration box had a package of 4 or 5 cigarettes in it
also.  Lead based paint was common.  I still have a big snuff box full of
Red Lead that I used for scraping in machine ways.  I am not sure how to
dispose of it now.  The altitude of "it didn't kill me yesterday when I
used it, so it's OK" is sure to kill you tomorrow, or next year, or 20
years from now.  I'm 62 years old.  I've worked in many unhealthy
environments.  First in the Auto industry as a machine repairman.  My bench
was 10 feet away from the "body in white" line where the car bodies that
were just welded together had the seems soldered in.  All the guys on the
line were checked for lead poisoning every six months.  I wasn't on the
"line" so I was never checked.  I worked in the spray booths repairing
machines, and would come out and blow my nose and it would look like a nose
bleed from the red primer paint I had inhaled.  I would work in the paint
mix rooms fixing machines and have to use all brass tools because the air
was explosive with paint fumes.  I worked in the press rooms where there
was a constant puffs of air and oil from the air cylinders and other air
activated equipment. I used hand grinders for days on end rebuilding
machines for the next model year. No air mask.  None of this killed me
then. but it is adding up and killing me now.  As my Pulmonary specialist
said last year, "you have had a good life, but unfortunately your end curve
is going to be short.  You should have taken better care of your
lungs".  Who would have thought that in their 20's or 30's?

Find out what it is that you are breathing.  Take care of your lungs.

My point isn't to scare you away from a hobby and business I love.  It is
to alert you to the fact that there are dangers in it, and you should take
the appropriate precautions so you can enjoy it for many years to come.

Time to put the soap box away for now.



Subject: Re: big diamond
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 22:56:27 +0800
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: Stewart Cole <solitairegems@iprimus.com.au>

It may be very lucky its being auctioned in November.
If the new "cultured" D/IF diamonds are released in February. Then its
worth roughly $15 a carat.
We live in interesting times.



Hale receives questions from time to time and I have agreed to
handle them via the list. If any member can help any of these
not yet members.

Remember to copy the list for the information archives.

Thx. Thurmond

From: "k.kassel" <kasselco@comcast.net>
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2003 10:31 PM
Subject: Message from Web Site


Not sure if you all will get this message but hear it goes.  I want to learn
about cutting, polishing and setting turquoise in silver.  I have cab
machines and cut cabs of agate etc.  Just purchased a 40 year old turquoise
collection that has some great nuggets, some I will keep and others will be
made into jewelry.  Can you help by directing me to silver and turquoise
jewelry making.  I don't want to damage a good stone until I know what I am

Thank you



From: Alan Sanderson  <sandersona@onetel.net.uk>
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2003 12:43 PM
Subject: stone polisher for grandaughter in Poland?

I have your address from Lapidary Digest, and wonder if you can help.  My son,
in Poland, has requested a stone polisher for his 8 year-old daughter's birthday,
31st Oct.  I live central London and have no idea where to get my hands on an
affordable, child-proof machine, nor even whether there are such things.     I don't
want to spend more than #35 for it, and I want something of a size that won't
cost a fortune to send to Poland.
If you can give me any advice that will turn me in the right direction, I'll be
very surprised and very grateful.



From: T. Trimm" ttrimm@dragonbbs.com
  Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2003 7:27 PM
  Subject: Message from Website

  I am looking for information on how to do lapidary the old way.
  Without the modern day tools.
  If you could point me in the right direction I would appreciate it.








PERSONALS: (General Lapidary and Faceting)






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

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Please do not stand here and talk, whine, or ask questions. Wait until I
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And yes, I still love you.




It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

---Tom Robbins---


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