LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
Issue No. 302 - Friday, September 24, 2004
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
Here is this week's issue. Enjoy and have
a great weekend.
Index to Today's Digest
01 RE: Synthetic Alexandrite
02 NEW: surprise
03 NEW: first change
04 NEW: 0ld Gem Maker
05 NEW: THE FACETERS MUSEUM AND HALL OF FAME
Subject: Identifying Synthetic Alex by it's shape
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 19:50:44 -0400
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "All That Glitters" <email@example.com>
Cc: "ATG" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thanks to Jeanne Ridolfi for describing exactly what we have!
"Regarding Jerry Newman's question (above), I haven't been reading the
so don't know what is being offered, but I do know that the "real" synthetic
alexandrite, that is, the synthetic mineral that is chrysoberyl, does come
in what is called a boule. It is a different shape than the synthetic
corundum or synthetic spinel boules."
If you refer to the photos of the "boule" it is the shape that she describes
which also helps to identify that it is Synthetic Color Changing Chrysoberyl
AKA Synthetic Alexandrite. Though I am a Gemologist (GIA), we deal in fine
faceted quality gemstones (natural), but do sell Russian Syn Alex calibrated
as well, as we can sell it for $70 per carat less than a major wholesaler of
this material. However, this material is too dark over say 7mm when
faceted. Years ago, we found this other material that had less Cr
(chromimium - I also have a degree in Chemistry), so the color saturation
allows much larger stones to be cut without this problem. We originally
called this a "boule" - we believe this is grown via the Czochralski Pull
Method. If the finished product is called something different than a boule,
this is where we might be off in nomenclature, but the material is certainly
Chrysoberyl vs. Corundum.
I have to laugh, because we used to sell this out of the country to
manufactures - and would sell it by the kilo. We were asked if we would
sell smaller pieces so many times that we decided that we would break up a
kilo - so we did, and we offered it on a number of sites. Though we have
specified that it is Syn Alex, I guess people have been confused about the
low price and the term boule. I must admit, that when I have made an
inquiry of one company about their "Syn Alex" and I got a price of about
$500 per kilo, I new that this was not Syn Alex as one can expect to pay FAR
more - it must be corundum. Upon another more probing inquiry, they still
called it Syn Alex when they came back with the price. I then specifically
asked whether it was perhaps Syn Sapphire (color changing) and it was only
then that I was specifically told that it was corundum. So, though I
thought this Alex would provide quick sales at the price and sizes we were
advertising, we have gotten more inquiries and generated more posts than I
Again, thanks Jeanne - your accurate description of Lab Grown Synthetic
Alexandrite shows that what we have is indeed the Real McCoy! (Not to
mention the RI and colors seen within a dichroscope.
To see what Jeanne has described and what a "boule" of this material looks
like, check out the following page. Note that I believe that the last
current parcels have been sold. Future parcels, depending on total number
of grams purchased, the size of the pieces, etc. will be $7-10 per gram.
=====> If you would like to put on a waiting list, please email us with
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 22:40:53 -0500
From: "Larry" <email@example.com>
Hello all ....
I have set the old DOS version of my Gemcad site back online under another
name and you can still view it for free. The new site is called
toprough.com/gemcad.html and when fully set up it will cover a wide range of
topics and have loads of materials for sale. In this way I can hopefully
keep the site paid for. The gemcad.html suffix will get you into the gemcad
part of the site. It will continue to be a sub part of the site. The site
is still under revision and construction so be nice to me as I get it going
for all of you.
The rough will be sold in smaller quantities (by the piece or up as you
require) as very good prices. I hope to fill the needs of the smaller
cutter that like me is on a shoe string budget. I have been getting into
contact with people in other countries as well as here in the good old USA.
I may even have some great deals on cut stones too and some of them have
been quoted to me at prices that are below the cost of that same rough from
some other dealers. If that is the case you may see some very nice
Subject: first change
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 22:44:07 -0500
From: "Larry" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just to let you know that I am making changes as you read.
The gemcad site will open to the old first page if you type in as follows:
Good reading to all.
Subject: 0ld Gem Maker
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 19:50:11 -0400
From: hanya <email@example.com>
I recently bought a machine at an estate sale that Raytaech says they
haven't made in 20 years. It is called the Ray-Tilt Gem Maker. it is in
really good condition. The model number is RT-1. I would like to have the
specs or a manual on this machine. I wonder if anyone has one and can share
the manual or any information about the machine I would appreciate it.
Thanks, Hanya Kandlis
Subject: THE FACETERS MUSEUM AND HALL OF FAME
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 17:04:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Glenn Klein <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For over two years now, I have been deeply into studying about the faceting
of diamonds and colored stones. The subject interests me very much, and
the interest grows the more I look into it. The history has become an obsession
I am proposing here today, that we start day one of bringing about a Faceting
Museum, which honors the equipment and information from those Great Faceters
who have helped us all enjoy our hobby, or for some, a way of creating a bit of
pleasing income. The Hall of Fame portion of the Faceting Museum would
acknowledge those who have substantially in the past and those who will in
the future bring/brought about new equipment, new methods, or new major
information regarding the faceting of diamonds and colored stones.
Diamonds have been faceted for many centuries, and no doubt colored stones
were being shaped and polished much earlier, but it has really been just in the
past 50-60 years that colored stone faceters have had the proper equipment
and have learned to share faceting information with other faceters. That is not
a very long time at all. The number of faceters in the United States has grown
greatly during this span of time, and in Australia there are also many faceters.
We are not there yet, but in the next 50-60 years I expect there will be a great
increase in the number of total faceters worldwide.
I think we should not lose the early equipment that came into being after World
War II, or even earlier. Let us save those old unique one of a kind home built
faceting machines and those older Jam-Peg's that are around. We should not
wait much longer, because those old pieces of equipment that have to do with
faceting diamonds and colored stones will be thrown away as junk. I am speaking
first hand here. Joe Rubin of UltraTec said that it had come the time when they
needed to throw out a lot of the "junk" that had accumulated around his plant.
If he had not been at work on one day, some great stuff would have been tossed
into the trash bin. He kept two pieces which he gave to me. One of these pieces
is the original faceting machine that Mr. Stanley made up, to prove the concept
that he had for a good faceting machine, the UltraTec. The other relic that I have
is the first production model of the Stanley UltraTec faceting machine. I think that
these two pieces should be in a museum somewhere, along with early models from
other manufacturers, and those special individual models that auto mechanics or
machinists made up for the early faceters in the United States. Some of these
machines were what became successful in "mass production" so that we faceters
can buy a new one now.
These two early models do not look all that different from my Stanley UltraTec machine,
which was one of the last made by Mr. Stanley, before Joe Rubin and Warren Haynes
took over the company...somewhere back in the early 1970's or so. The latest model
of the UltraTec is not all that different. Sure there are many improvements and features
that make it easier for us faceters to make adjustments during faceting, but Joe Rubin's
idea from the start was to improve the machine but to make the improvements adaptable
to the earlier models.
This is much like what Nikon did with my fantastic FILM camera that I have had for over
forty years. Nikon made improvements that were adaptable to the early basic camera.
I still would not think of exchanging my Nikon for a new digital whatever. But Nikon and
Eastman Kodak have had to change now in order to stay in business. I could rave on for
hours about all of the dumb new changes that have been made in my lifetime...like the
scourge of the present times cell phones.
So, I would be interested to have this Faceters Museum and Hall of Fame thread discussed
by you other faceters. Comment now, and in the future months about it. Where could a
Faceters Museum be located, how can we be sure that these old relics are not lost or destroyed?
I am a member of the Faceters Guild of Southern California, and "my"Guild has sponsored three
Faceters Symposiums of which I was honored to be the Chairman. We do not have a future
Symposium in mind. My guild is losing members by those who die or move too far away. We
are not getting new and younger members to replace them and grow. This same story happened
earlier to the Faceters Guild of Northern California members. That Guild was the major reason that
faceting as a hobby took off in the 1970's, in my opinion. The days of the Faceters Fair were the
most beneficial and rewarding times in my life. That group started progress in faceting that has
not been duplicated. But now, there is not really a FGNC anymore. I think they have a few
members that meet maybe once a year. Correct me if I am wrong about that.
The Tucson OPLC group is growing it seems, and the Texas group in Austin are a great bunch,
the faceters of the Northwest area have lost important members too and I hope they keep that
special equipment they have for cutting very large gemstones. How the Midwest group is doing
I really do not know. Possibly one of these mentioned groups could be the location for a Faceters
Museum and Hall of Fame, at least temporarily if not permanently. We need some location now
that could take in the old faceting equipment, and see to it that the equipment is not lost, not
altered, not improved, not changed from what those pieces represent. The written word should
also be made up, so that in a museum setting the equipment could be described as to what features
and faults it had, etc.
As far as the Hall of Fame, I can think of many people who have been instrumental in a big way for
faceting. I will throw out these names, in no particular order, to see what you can comment on or
Bob Long, Norm Steele, Dan O'Brien, Thomas Ricks, John Sinkankas, Edward Soukup,
Robert Strickland, Glenn & Martha Vargas, Fred Van Sant, Basil Watermeyer, Gerald Wykoff,
Louis de Berquem, Marcel Tolkowsky, for starters. Each of these people could be written
up as to what they contributed to the faceting of diamonds and colored stones.
Note that I personally would not like to see the area of faceting be included as part of a general
museum for lapidary fields. The baseball Hall of Fame in New York State would not want to be
just part of a museum that also included the football Hall of Famers, even though those are both
sports (like faceting is to lapidary). There are lapidary related areas of interest like cabochon cutting,
metal casting, and sphere making, etc., but that is not faceting. I feel that we should maintain our
area of interest as the unique thing that it is.
Please feel free to express your feeling about this, and I hope that it will be in a constructive way.
Glenn Klein, USFG Historian
Lake Forest, CA USA
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