Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 59 - Fri 9/12/97
2. NEW: Gaspeite as a Cabbing Material
3. Re: Flat Vibratory Lapping
4. WTB: Rainbow obsidian
5. WTB: Rainbow Obsidian
6. RENEW: Orienting Rainbow Obsidian (Abstracted


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 59 - Fri 9/12/97

Well, back from the hospital and all is well. Thanks for
all the messages of concern....

There is a great sale going on of lapidary machines and
cabbing rough by Ray Johnson. Send him an e-mail and he
will send you a list. <rayj@BLomand.Net> Tell him you saw
it on Lapidary Digest! If enough people request the list
and say that, then maybe he will send us the notices of
future sales first!

Next issue will be Monday 9/15, if we get enough mail to
make an issue by then. I will be away after that, back to
the mountains, taking a course (yet again) in intarsia by
Phil Magestro. Will return on Sunday, September 21. Maybe
I'll get it right this time!

Lloyd Duncan sent in a query about gaspeite which I
pursued; it was a lot of fun. The query isn't answered yet.
Read on.....

Take care, have fun, be safe...


Subject: NEW: Gaspeite as a Cabbing Material

I have just seen earrings and a bracelet made with
cab's of Gaspeite (a green mineral) in a catalog and
decided I would like to try this material. In addition
to cabbing, I would like to carve some. The color is
"new" and this material also would seem to be a nice
addition for intarsia. The two rock/gem shops in my area
do not know what it is or where to get it. Any help
finding some (sale or trade) AND any tips/suggestions
from anyone who has worked gaspeite would be appreciated.

Lloyd Duncan ~ Utah/USA
(Ed. Note: This is a new material to me, so I looked it
up in the Mineral Data Base, and if the material Lloyd
is talking about is the same as the mineral I found (and
it appears to be), then its characteristics are:

Name Gaspeite
Composition (Ni,Mg,Fe++)CO3
System Trigonal
Color Light green
Luster Vitreous to dull
Group Calcite
Streak Yellowish green
Hardness 4.5 to 5
Density 3.71
Cleavages 1
Cleavage Desc. {10-11}good
Fracture Uneven
Habit Crystals rhombohedral, small
Information Series with magnesite

Other well-known lapidary materials in the calcite
group include: calcite, magnesite, rhodochrosite,
and smithsonite.

I searched the WWW for references to gaspeite, and found
seven, but none panned out with useful info. Did see a
photo of a sample, and it is a beautiful lime green,
without intrusion of other colors. Nothing on Usenet.
Posted a note on Rockhounds and on Rocks-and-Fossils,
and got three replies:

.Diederik Visser, who runs a mineral shop in Holland,
said he had two small specimens, both about 2.5 x 3.5
cm, for about $US 8.00 each.

.A note saying that WMC corporation in Western Australia
is now having a big sale on Gaspeite which started in
late July and early August. The writer will try to get
the names of the successful bidders (to buy some) and if
so, will get back to us as to who's selling the rough.

.A list member, Terri Collier, sent the name and
address of a dealer who may have some. I will contact
him and tell you the results of the call.

Thanks, Lloyd, it has been fun trying to find some and
find out something about this material! It is obvious
that this query isn't answered yet! hale)

**non-commercial reproduction permitted**

Subject: Re: Flat Vibratory Lapping

If you are worried about splashing from your vib lap,
this is what I did.

I got a 50 gallon trash can. I cut it off 12 inches
taller than my vib lap. I cut small hole in the side
for the power cord to run out, put the lap in the
trash can and put the lid over the top. I have not
had any grit or mud on the floor since.


Subject: RE: WTB: Rainbow obsidian

Dave said: <<Now, ...anybody out there know where I can
obtain some Rainbow Obsidian?>>

New Era Gems has Rainbow Obsidian. Their address is: New
Era Gems, 14923 Rattlesnake Rd., Grass valley, Ca. 95945
(1-800-752-2057) email:
(Ed. Note: The same answer was given by Jenna Ortolani
<> of Terrell, TX; she adds New Era's
phone number (916-272-1334) and their fax number
(916-272-2985). hale)

Subject: RE: WTB Rainbow Obsidian

One of my favorite places to buy rainbow obsidian is from
Larry Castle dba "Carved Opal and Obsidian", P.O. Box 3250,
Madison, WI 53704 He usually has Rainbow Obsidian in the
rough. I purchased a 7# piece last year that is fantastic.
Now all I have to do is get brave enough to start cutting

His phone # is 608-255-3997 .....he does lots of shows so
he will be hard to catch but I know he has a direct source
for Mexican Rainbow Obsidian.

Lots of luck........geri
(Ed. Note: Back in Issue 27, methods for cutting rainbow
obsidian were discussed. The main letter is abstracted and
summarized below. Hale)

Subject: RERUN: Orienting Rainbow Obsidian (Abstracted
from Issue 27)

The "Rainbow" comes from the obsidian being "layered"; I
don't know how the "layering" occurs. Each layer reflects
light differently and gives a single color per layer.
(Maybe someone can give a more correct definition of the
physics of the process). The result is that to cut for a
rainbow you cut at an angle through the layers. The most
common angle suggested is 15 degrees but my experience is
this is just a starting point. Different pieces of obsidian
will have different thicknesses of layers and the angle of
the cut can be adjusted to give better results.

Cutting parallel to the layers will give a Bullseye result
which can be attractive if the layers are thin. The
"circular rainbow" comes from the dome of the cab when the
rough is cut at an angle. ...( snip) ...FYI: I have had
better luck identifying the layering in the rough. If the
obsidian has been blocked on a slab saw I have a much
harder time orienting it.

Dick Friesen (

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