Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. Notes for Issue #16
2. RE: Treating Opal (was Stabilizing Turquoise and Opal)
3. RE: Treating Opal (was Stabilizing Turquoise and Opal)
4. RE: Treating Opal (was Stabilizing Turquoise and Opal)
5. RE: Rapid Polish
6. RE: Rapid Polish
7. BIO: Scott Steward



Subject: Notes for Issue #16

Some of you got multiple copies of LapDigest yesterday; others got
their copies very late. I apologize to those of you who had these
problems. The ISP server had trouble keeping up with verifying each
address in turn, and the list software kept timing out on me, and
stopping part way through. It took several restarts and several
conversations with the software developer to find the proper solution.

Very early, Brad Smith sent a list of suggested topics. These are
reproduced below; if any of them strike a bell with problems you have
faced it the past, please submit them as new queries. His list is:

Polishing the "difficult" materials (tiger's eye, charolite, etc.)
Stabilizing techniques for certain roughs (turquoise, etc.)
Grinding polishing techniques for odd shapes (crosses, hearts, etc.)
Primmers on tumbling, diamond polishing, and other basic techniques
Doublet and triplet fabrication
Jigs and fixtures to help with special projects, such as trim and
slab sawing
Orientation of Cat's eyes, moon stones and star stones.

How about it. Do these raise any questions?

As a start to organizing the Archives, the file Contents.txt is a Table of Contents which contains the Subject Lists of all LapDigests from the very first one. It is available from the Archives.



From: Mel Albright <>
Date: Tuesday, July 01, 1997 1:31 PM

Subject: RE: Treating Opal (was Stabilizing Turquoise and Opal)

In Issue #15, Gary Ogg ( wrote:

<<At a Show several years ago I was told to stabilize some Louisiana Opal and what appears to be a synthetic Black Opal. I have not yet attempted to cut them because I have forgotten the instructions, but they seemed to involve a thick sugar syrup and a crock pot. Acid may also have been involved. Does this ring a bell with any one, and if not (or even if) , can any one recommend some good books on the subject, magazine articles, or whatever?>>


Soaking with a saturated sugar solution allows the sugar to creep into the cracks. Then treating with sulfuric acid oxidizes the sugar leaving black carbon residue. Sulfuric is mean stuff, so if you try it, wear rubber gloves, use glass receptacles, have active ventilation and remember AAA - Always Add Acid to water to dilute. Vice-versa with sulfuric gives a BIG problem.

Mel Albright
Hug or call a loved one today!

Date: Wed, 02 Jul 1997 05:12:31 -0400

Subject: RE: Treating Opal (was Stabilizing Turquoise and Opal)

It is not stabilizing that will occur with the method you are describing
here. It is a Black coloring that happens on a type of Opal out of
Australia (sorry I've forgotten where) and Honduras. You heat the Opal on a hot plate to open the pores, soak in a sugar solution, and then dunk in Sulfuric acid. It "burns" the Opal which is naturally a tan color to black, but does not color all the way through the piece. Can get pretty deep even 5mm or more. Is best done on Cabs. If you recut slabs you might go through the acid coloring.

For Stabilizing on real crumbly stuff, paint the back of the Slab before
sawing and grinding with the gray plumbers epoxy you can get at the
hardware store. Then if you want to remove the backing, soak in a solvent
Mark Liccini

Gemstone Rough Dealers since 1970 U.S.MAIL
E-Mail: 107 C.Columbus Dr.#1A Jersey City,N.J.07302
Voice Mail/Fax: 201-333-6332

Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 23:25:42 -0700

Subject: RE: Treating Opal (was Stabilizing Turquoise and Opal)

Maybe I am just being picky but I don't think this is "stabilizing", I think
it is "treating". In any event, some opal is porous enough to absorb some
of the sugar from the syrup, the acid then carbonizes it and turns the
sugar black. With the right opal the results can be very good. The
blackened background makes the play of color really stand out, but the
color must be there first, this process will not create any color.

Another good book on the subject is:
"Opal Cutting Made Easy" by Paul B. Downing, Ph. D.
Printed by:
Rose Printing Company, Inc.
I have seen copies at several local "Gem Shows".

Dick Friesen

Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 23:25:42 -0700

Subject: RE: Rapid Polish

In Issue #15, Lester <> wrote:

><... does any one know what "rapid polish" is? >
>There is a Myer's Rapid Polish. He is located @ P.O. Box 646 Keller, TX
>76244, phone is 817 / 379-5662.

It probably is the same polish. I have never heard of two different
polishes with the same name. I was hoping someone could tell me what it
is made of, I could write to them but I'm lazy. If no one knows what
it is, I may have to write them.

It has some very interesting polishing characteristics. It is the best jade
polish I have ever seen.

Dick Friesen


Date: Wed, 2 Jul 1997 10:12:48 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: RE: Rapid Polish

I've used a proprietary "Rapidpolish" on chrysocholla and malachite. The
instructions were to mix it into a paste, dab some on the sanded-out stone,
then use immediately on a chamois-covered wheel. The polish seemed to
develop quickly, hence the name I suppose. I'm not sure if this is the same
stuff, nor what it contains, but it was recommended for softer stones.

Andrew Werby - United Artworks
Sculpture, Jewelry, and Other Art Stuff

Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 19:51:09 +0600

Subject: BIO: Scott Steward

I am 27 years old, and originally from Whittier, North Carolina, but
have been living in Blacksburg, Virginia for about ten months. Currently, I
am pursuing a PhD in materials science, but would love to get into the
wholesale jewelry and jewelry manufacturing business professionally. I have
been collecting gems and minerals, silversmithing, and cutting gems for
about 15 years. I have a small outfit for cutting cabochons, and almost a
complete metal shop. Unfortunately, since I moved to VA, I don't have room
for my equipment, so I have been reduced to things that do not require water
or fire. That is why I was so glad to find this list.


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