Issue No. 268 - Friday, February 13, 2004
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
http://www.gemcutters.org or
Hi all,

Good list today. Keep those post coming in.


Index to Today's Digest

01  RE: Cutting Spodumene
02  RE: Cleaning slabs
03  RE: Cleaning slabs
04  NEW: Lubricant for laps
05  NEW: Tales from Tucson
06  RE: Purple Sapphire
07  RE: Silver Heat Hardening
08  NEW: Colorado minerals. Where to look?


Subject: Subject: Cutting Spodumene
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 18:35:07 -0500
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: "Jonathan L. Rolfe" <jon@gearloose.com>

Subject: Cutting Spodumene

"Any suggestions on how one should cut spodumene?  It has a few cleavages and
I understand that one should cut it slower than other stones.  Anyone having
specifics and would like to share it, I am sure that others would also be

When I cut the first big one, I approached it as if I were disarming a land
mine.  IMO, I believe the problems are overstated.  Consider this: There
are people in South America that cut hundreds and hundreds of carats all
the time, and get paid for piecework for it!!!
Reduce strains by buying a NEW SHARP #600 diamond lap.  The Lopaki ones are
probably cheaper than what you paid for the rough.  Trying to use a dull or
worn plated lap is a good way of making little stones out of one big one
and doing Bad Things to your blood pressure.
After cutting a few, now I would cut it anytime with no
hesitation.  Earlier attempts years ago had made me stay away from it, but
I was younger then and knew everything/nothing.
There have been a lot of legends posted about cutting spodumenes, like
soaking the stuff in Newt oil, etc.  Whatever works.
  Sitting down and cutting it worked for me.


32.1 carats, 17.2 X 20.5 mm

and a kunzite at http://www.battlap.com/redstones.html

12.2 Carats, 13X13.3 mm.

It's really not all that bad, and there is something about its fibrous
bundled crystal structure that gives the stones an ethereal, eerie
fire.  Well worth the trouble.  Light pressure, not too fast, around
100-250 RPM, with sufficient water to guarantee swarf removal...it seems to
foul the lap, and "eat itself".
I found the polishing to be trivial.  Sequence was #600, 3K on copper, 50K
on BATT.
Your mileage may vary. (Since I have tried cutting apophyllite, I have to
add disclaimers like that.  Ask me about it sometime. It forms perfect,
strained crystals.  My theory is that it is formed at great
depths...  Beneath the lithosphere, in Hell.  I believe the word originates
from the same Greek root as "Apoplexy".)


Subject: Subject: NEW Cleaning slabs
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 18:46:30 -0700
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: "Phil(NM)" <goldpnr@yahoo.com>

> Message:03
How about: Soak them in a bucket with a water/detergent solution (like a
few small squirts of Dawn dishwashing liquid) then rinse lightly and put
them in the dishwasher with your regular dishwasher detergent. Will
clean and dry them too!


Subject: Re: Cleaning slabs
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 13:13:31 -0700
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <lapidary@caprock-spur.com>
From: "John McLaughlin" <jemstone@amug.org>
Cc: <bayroo@atlantic.net>

Hi Becca,

I generally put the slabs in a large plastic storage box filled with kitty
litter (not the fancy stuff - the cheap non-clumping clay is best) and let
the oil soak into the litter for several hours.  A large box allows you to
put a lot of slabs in the clay.  I leave a putty knife in the box to bury
and dig out the slabs.  After the slabs appear to be free of oil put them
into a hot bath of Dawn dishwashing soap (available at COSTCO in large sizes
for a good price).  Let them soak for a while and use a vegetable brush to
remove any remaining oil.

Soft stones will soak up the oil and can be very difficult to clean.  Some
folks like to soak softer material in water for a day and then saw.  The
water in the stone helps keep the oil out.

Cracks in the slabs will continue to bleed oil for quite a while.  If there
is no hurry, leave slabs with cracks in the kitty litter for a long time
before washing.

Happy Slabbing,

John McLaughlin
Glendale, Arizona
(Just back from way too long in Tucson and totally broke.)


Subject: Lubricant
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2004 14:01:41 +0200
To: <faceters@caprock-spur.com>
From: "Del Delport" <delldelport@absamail.co.za>

Been faceting for 4 years and would like to know what is the right
lubricant to use on metal type laps as I plan to switch from metal
bonded laps(time to replace the old laps) to copper.
PS. I can be contacted privately at delldelport@absamail.co.za


Subject: Tales from Tucson
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 12:34:45 -0700
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: Steve and Nancy Attaway <attaway@highfiber.com>

Dear Thurmond and Faceters,

   Steve and I have attended the Tucson shows every year since 1988. If
you have not attended the shows in Tucson, we highly recommend that you
place it in your schedule for next year. Wear shoes that you can walk
comfortably in, carry a jacket, snacks, and water. We advise that you
pre-register for as many shows as you can. Make dinner reservations in
advance for certain restaurants. Carry also your business cards, copies
of your tax exempt number, and copies of your business license, just in
case they are needed for a show registration or if a dealer asks for
them. Some of the shows require a lot of credentials and proof of
high-dollar purchases to get into, while other shows ask for none. It is
important to note prices for gem rough and cut stones, as these will
vary according to quality and even just from dealer to dealer. Visit the
booths of noted gem faceters and gem carvers, as well as the famous
jewelers and designers. View the award-winning stones and items of
jewelry from the Spectrum Awards, Cutting Edge Awards, and the Platinum
Awards. Talk to the different mine owners about the geology of the area
that their mines are in and ask about what their mines are like. See and
test the many tools and CAD/CAM programs offered. Tools are available at
many of the shows, especially the MJSA show and at Rio Grande's
Catalog-in-Motion show in the Hilton, as well as some of the tool supply
tents. Please do not be shy about asking for gem rough at kilo prices
and half-kilo prices, and ask for the lowest price a dealer will
negotiate. Keep a list of items needed that you intend to shop for, and
keep track of purchases, receipts, and business cards of dealers.
Remember that several of you can split a parcel of gem rough in a large
quantity that will be less per gram than dealers normally charge you for
selecting only a few pieces. Tucson shows display serious eye candy.
   Steve and I arrived in Tucson for the shows last Tuesday evening and
left Tucson Sunday afternoon. Tucson weather began chilly and rainy but
changed to sunny days with cool temperatures and winds. The many dealers
we spoke to were mostly happy and having a good show, but there were
exceptions. Buyers crowded at AGTA, MJSA, GJX, and GLDA. (Several noted
names in faceting and carving left GLDA for AGTA, and the GLDA Show will
be moving to a new location next year.) Parking lots filled early, and
we searched far and wide for parking places along the city streets.
Dealers in the various shows along 22nd street wondered where all the
buyers were. (22nd Street parallels Interstate 10 near the Broadway
intersection and begins where the Desert Inn used to be.) Parking was
nearly non-existent for the shows along 22nd Street, and the booth and
tent lay-out there was quite hap-hazard. Many of those dealers sold
heavy objects, like huge geodes, fossil plates, and table tops, much too
heavy to carry. When purchases were made, the buyers who brought their
vehicles around to pick up their objects carefully negotiated that
narrow road, dodging cars and people. Parking at the Pueblo Inn was $5,
providing you could even get into their small lot. Parking attendants at
the Pueblo Inn issued fifteen-minute passes to buyers who made purchases
that required a vehicle to pick it up, which we did for a purchase from
Arizona Case. We attempted to park in the designated lot for the show at
the Holidome, but the line for it was very long and time-comsuming. We
parked across the street, instead. Shopping in the Holidome proved to be
quite difficult, with crowds of people pushing and shoving their way
around the aisles, both in the building and in the tent. The dealers
there were packed in tightly. We left that insanity soon after we arrived.

   I left Tucson with several nice purchases of gem rough. I was quite
pleased and thought that the gem rough selection had improved in the
last few years. Nice pieces of gem rough reasonably priced were offered
for sale at the Executive Inn, the Inn Suites, the GJX tent, at GLDA,
and the Pueblo Inn. Often, good gem rough is sold where mineral
specimens are for sale. I purchased nice big, clean pieces of chrome
diopside rough at the Executive Inn from a Russian dealer. I bought
several nice pieces of aquamarine and tourmaline (green and blue) rough
from an Afghanistani dealer at the Inn Suites. I found some really
choice amethyst, ametrine, and citrine rough at the GJX, but prices
certainly varied. It really surprised me when I saw gorgeous chunks of
citrine rough for sale at GJX listed for the enormously high price of
$7.50 per gram when cut stones of the same material were selling for $4
per carat at a booth nearby. Some of these high-volume rough dealers
sell mostly to cutting houses. I did buy several really fine pieces of
rose quartz rough along 22nd Street, and I purchased four gorgeous
crystals of bi-colored (mint green and pink) tourmaline at GLDA for a
very good price. Please forgive me for not revealing my gem rough
sources, but those are my finds. Part of the fun at Tucson is the search
for quality gem rough from unlikely places. Steve and I also purchased
melee assortments for accent stones. I will tell you that Paul Levin at
Tairona in the GJX offers fine quality faceted tanzanite goods, diamond
cut blue zircon, and diamond cut sapphire melee in blue and yellow. I
also look for a few fine quality Chinese freshwater pearls and black
Tahitian pearls at AGTA and have found several at Shogun Pearl and A & Z
Pearls. We use single pearls as drop accents in pendants and earrings,
and we like to have the pearl colors correspond to the colors seen in
our faceted colored stones. We also purchased princess cut Yogo melee
from Roncor at AGTA. I did not find good quality peridot for a
reasonable price. If you want a piece or two of quality gem rough, New
Era Gems offers a wide selection, but their prices are usually quite high.

   You might consider arranging get-togethers at places in Tucson. Some
folks host annual parties. These arrangements are usually done well in
advance, especially if you want to reserve a party room at a certain
restaurant for a specific evening. Also, various classes in a variety of
subjects are offered by some of the shows, like AGTA and
Catalog-in-Motion. Tucson can be a serious business trip and provide you
with quite an education, but please do not forget to enjoy some fun. 


  Nancy L. Attaway

Thanks for the report Nancy. I enjoy hearing about Tuscon even though
I have never been there for the shows.


Subject: Re: Issue No. 267 - Monday, February 9, 2004
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 00:32:17 -0500
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Donald Allen <donallen@gwi.net>

RE:  Hi:  A friend gave me a cross section of purple sapphire crystal to cab.  
This should produce a cab in excess of 15mm.  In order for it to 'star' I
will have to remove a lot of material in order to keep  the hex centered and
perpendicular to itself.  This will give me a nice star sapphire but only in the
range. Being new to lapidary I need adivce to this dilema - Do I go after size
and weight, or sacrifice in hopes for a good star?

  A well centered 8mm purple star sapphire will be worth a lot more than
a 15 mm purple cab.



Subject: Re: Issue No. 267 - Monday, February 9, 2004
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 00:59:28 -0500
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com (LapidaryArtsDigest)
From: Donald Allen <donallen@gwi.net>

RE: Moderators Note: From " The Complete Metalsmith" by Tim McCreight.
HEAT HARDENING: "After all soldering is done, heat to 536 F and hold
for 2.5 hours. Quench in pickle and finish as usual." (do this after all
soldering is done)


That's a new one on me, hard to believe, after working with that metal
professionally for 40 years, but It's refreshing if it works.


Hi Don, Tim's explanation is that at that temp the metal
begins to recrystalize. During this process the number of dislocations and
vacancies is reduced giving a much more ordered crystal alignment in the
metals structure.



Subject: Need Information
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 19:52:46 EST
To: lapidary@caprock-spur.com
From: Stnecutter@cs.com

I am planing a vacation for three weeks to Colorado this summer.  If anyone
has information about where to find minerals, I would appreciate your sharing
with me.

Kelly Lane  contact off list at stnecutter@cs.com


None Today








PERSONALS: (General Lapidary and Faceting)






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

A redhead, a brunette, and a blonde robbed a supermarket.
As they were stealing, a police officer walked in the store
and saw what was happening. He dashed toward them, but
they were able to get away into the back of the store. There
they found three sacks to hide in. When the police officer
checked there, he examined each sack.

He kicks the first bag, and the redhead says "meow" in a
high voice. The cop determines that it must only be a cat
in that bag, and he moves on to the next.

When he kicks the second bag, the brunette says "woof"
in a low voice. The officer determines that it must only be
a dog in that bag, so he moves on to the last bag.

He kicks the third bag, and the blonde shouts "potato"
to the officer.


We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.



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