Issue No. 296 - Friday, August 06, 2004
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
Index to Today's Digest

01  FS:  Aragonite rough
02  NEW: Topaz cleaning
03  RE: Turquoise
04  RE: pyrite, to cab or not to cab? that's the question!
05  NEW: Kyanite questions


Subject: Aragonite rough
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 11:07:26 -0400
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: "Frank lavin" <nival42@hotmail.com>

I have come into a kilo of aragonite rough.  I will be selling at $15/grm. 
Anyone interested in cutting this rare material, please contact me.



Subject: Topaz
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 16:20:02 -0700
To: <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: Webb Long <webblong@mindspring.com>

I would really appreciate any help or suggestions on the cleaning of Topaz.
I have quite of quanity of Topaz from Utah which has I believe Perlite as
the host.  What is the besst way to remove this and leave me some nice facet
rough? Thanks in advance.  Webb Long-Spokane


Subject: Re: Turquoise
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 21:32:40 -0400
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: Jim Larsen <jlarsen6@tampabay.rr.com>

RE: turquoise
From rehema kolly

>Now my question is thus, if it is iron for green and copper for blue, does
>this mean the copper is NOT present in the green stones?

While there is a mineral called turquoise, it's only one of several that belong
to the turquoise group, which, like the garnate group, is a set of similar minerals.  

The mineral Turquoise has aluminum, copper and phosphorus and it can be
blue, blue-green, or green with the copper (which can be green or blue) giving
it color.  The different colors come from variations in the bonds that are caused
by inperfections or variances in the crystal.  While it's possible that traces of iron
can occure in this mineral, the stong color of the copper would likely obscure
any green component from small amounts of irom.

The mineral Planerite has aluminum and phosphorus with no color causing atoms. 
But, also because of inperfections or variances in the crystal called color centers
the crystals are light blue, blue-green, green, or olive green. 

The mineral Aheylite has aluminum, iron, zinc and phosphorus. The proportion of
zinc and iron can vary but the color remains in the blue-greens.

The mineral Faustite has aluminum, zinc, copper and phosphorus. The color is
listed as apple green. Most refences I've seen (only a few) list this as the "green"
turquoise and say that zinc is the green colorant.  However, like I said, copper
can be either green or blue, as can be seen in malachite (green) and azurite (blue).

The mineral Chalcosiderite has copper, iron and phosphorus and has a green
color.  I wonder if this is what Webster was refering to.

The mineral Coeruleolactite has aluminum, copper, calcium and phosphorum.
Depending on the amount of copper present the color varies from light blue to
white.  This is, I believe, the famed White Buffalo Turquoise.

Jim Larsen


Subject: Pyrite stuff
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2004 09:46:35 -0700
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: Mark <stonebrk@comcast.net>


    One thing you may need to watch for that hasn't been mentioned is
affectionately known as "pyrite disease" or "pyrite rot".
Interesting terms for oxidisation or rust. Some pyrites are worse than
others and I have been reading many books on the subject, but don't have
the time right now to delve into it in great detail.
    As a matter of coincidence, I am working on a pyrite pendant for my
daughter right now. It is actually a small fossilized or pyritized
scallop that my wife found many years ago while my daughter was a pup
(She turns 21 in a couple weeks). I am essentially shaping the matrix on
the back and trying to fit it into a pendant, so it's not actually
cabbing. My biggest concern is that it was severely oxidized when my
wife brought it out from her collection and I managed to shine it up
with a light use of a brass wire brush on the foredom. It's been a
couple weeks since I did that and it's already started to get a little
dull. I believe a good smooth polish would go a long way toward
preventing this, but since this is a delicate, detailed fossil, that
wouldn't be real possible here. The books on preserving pyrite are all
in agreement of one thing though... Don't use a coating of any kind on
it (like opticon or laquer). This will only make matters tougher to fix
later.  Sometimes, it will actually speed the process of oxidisation.
    This may not even be a concern in your situation, as some purites
are less prone to the problem than others, depending on the "other"
elements present in the pyrite. Well-formed, relatively pure crystals
won't be a problem.
    I'm sure there are others on the list who can expound on this in
greater detail and with more authority. My research tells me that, with
the tougher specimens, the only known way of even slowing the problem
down is to store it in a dry vacuum (not at all convenient for our
    As for my daughter's pendant, I'm considering treating it with some
marine tool preservation liquid (essentially a blend of various silicone
oils and other stuff). One recommendation I've found is for the use of
silicone based liquids for a light coating/soak. Again, this won't stop
the problem, but will at least slow it down. It won't actually seal it
to the degree that opticon would, therefore, it would also allow fixing
any future problems that may arise.
    Got more into it than I thought I would! - Now it's off to the coast
(vacation time)... Maybe find some more great pyrite specimens?

Mark Williams,
Eugene, Oregon


Subject: Kyanite
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2004 14:49:02 -0400
To: faceters@caprock-spur.com
From: "David Timpany" <timpany@earthlink.net>

What special handling is needed to facet kyanite? 
Wanting to facet some North Carolina deep blue pieces
without damage. Also due to its double hardness, what
would be a good general vibrating tumbler formula for
some run-of-the-mill pieces?

Thanks, dave t.

David Timpany

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

Subject:How did it start?
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 09:46:39 -0400
From: "Frank lavin" <nival42@hotmail.com>

Subject: How did it start?

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water
temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to

Here are some facts about the1500s:
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in
May, and still smelled pretty good by June.  However, they were starting
to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house
had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and
men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By
then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence
the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood
underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the
cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it
rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip off the
roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed
a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess
up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung
over the top, afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.
Hence the saying "dirt poor."

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when
wet , so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their
footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when
you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood
was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a
"thresh hold."
(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that
always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things
to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They
would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in
it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, "Peas
porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It
was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They would
cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew
the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content
caused some of the lead to leak onto the food, causing lead poisoning
death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years
or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of
the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would
sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.  Someone walking
along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.
They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the
family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they
would wake up.  Hence the custom of holding a "wake."

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of
places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the
bones to a "bone-house"
and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins
were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they
had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist
of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and
tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all
night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone
could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."

And that's the truth... Now, whoever said that History was boring! ! !
Educate someone...Share these facts with a friend

Moderators Note: The accuracy of the above post  has not been verified.


Do not save your loving speeches
For your friends till they are dead;
Do not write them on their tombstones,
Speak them rather now instead.

---Anna Cummins---

Tempie Francis, Attorney at Law / Legal Advisor
Published about once a week, except holidays
from Spur,Texas

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PERSONALS (General Lapidary and Faceting)