Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 66 - Mon 9/29/97
2. NEW: What is "Ellensburg Blue"?
3. NEW: URL's for Lapidary Equipment Mfgrs
4. NEW: Waterglass
5. RE: Orienting Phenomenal Stones - Spectrolite
6. RE: Bull Wheel
7. RE: Intarsia and Channel Work
8. RE: Leaking Lids on Lortone Tumbler
9. RE: Leaking Lids on Lortone Tumbler
10. RE: Streaking Minerals - The Streak Test
11. FS: Cab Grade Emerald


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 66 - Mon 9/29/97

The URLs of some lapidary equipment manufacturers are given
below. If you have any to add to this list, please send them
to me. If you have e-mail addresses of equipment suppliers or
your favorite lapidary equipment retailer, please send them,
too. A directory of e-mail addresses will be added to the

The index to the Archives is being updated through Issue 65
and will be available tomorrow in the Archives as INDEX.TXT.

Today is a good day to hug someone you love. Have fun.


Subject: NEW: What is "Ellensburg Blue"?

At a recent gem show, I purchased a chunk of rock that I've
been shaping and polishing. It was labeled as "Ellensburg
Blue." Can you tell me anything about this stone? It seems
to be a very hard stone and is a blue/gray color. Thank you.

Phyllis and Betty
Asheville, NC

Subject: NEW: URL's for Lapidary Equipment Mfgrs

Here are some URLs which point to the web pages of lapidary
equipment manufacturers; if anyone finds other ones, please
send them in and they will be added to this list. Also
send in e-mail addresses of equipment manufacturers to me
at Mailing addresses are found in
the Buyer's Guide issue of Lapidary Digest.

Lortone (USA):

Diamite (Aus): - si

Struers Knuth Rotor 3 Lapidary Table (NASA):

Contempo Lapidary(USA):

Ultra Tec (USA):

Subject: NEW: Waterglass

-- Greetings Gang.

I was reading Issue #57 MSg2 and realized thats the same
thing happening with some beautiful Rainbow Obsidian which I
got from Dale & Carmela Brown (a little plug never hurts :>)
As I'm sanding...never being too rough on looks as
though I'm continually opening up new pores or fibers and
then yea I know dumb. :> The polish fills them up and I got
a mess in otherwise beautiful stuff. I might also add to the
Browns plug by stating the slabs were oriented perfectly as
well. I am trying to find some Waterglass in my area but not
having much luck. Is it used for anything other than Lapidary?
I checked our local Pharmacy but they don't carry it ..
actually he had no idea what I was talkin about :>

Thanks Folks, take care............Dave

Dave Daigle, Edmonton, Alberta

The Edmonton Tumblewood Lapidary Club
(Ed. Note: Dave, the pharmacist might not know the name
"water glass", but he should know the name Sodium Silicate.
It was available at the drug wholesalers and my pharmacist
had to special order it, but it was no big deal. Other
places: Bill Figi told me that horse auctioneers used it to
glue numbers to the hides of horses being sold, as it was
water soluble. So check at farm supply stores or call horse
auctioneers found in yellow pages. hale)

Subject: RE: Orienting Phenomenal Stones - Spectrolite

Orienting Spectrolite

I completely agree with Dave Millis that it is a useful
trick to cut spectrolite a few degrees off the optimal
color plane, if it's to be used for pendants, but I never
go more than 10 degrees; for earrings, I try to be exactly
on the plane and cut them with a very low dome. This works
beautifully for me.

As to the height of the dome; both high and low can be
used, with different effects. High domed cabs can be very
effective, particularly if you can find a piece with a
circular color pattern (though these are scarce); you can
get a sort of floating bulls-eye effect. The drawback is
that larger stones become very heavy.

You can also use a low dome. I'm looking at a very nice
pendant cut from Finnish spectrolite. It's 45x18 mm.,
cabbed and polished on both sides with a groove cut around
the edge for a 22ga. gold wire to suspend it from. The
maximum thickness of the stone is a bit less than 4mm., so
you can see I don't have much of a dome on either side.
Both sides show color, though one side looks better than
the other when worn. The brightest color flash is quite
directional, but the blue/aqua/green/gold pattern is easily
seen through about 60 degrees. I don't know that this
will work with any labradorite, but I've had great success
with the high quality Finnish material that I have cut.

Geoffrey Haughton

Non-commercial republication permitted

Subject: RE: Bull Wheel

To all that want to know...
A few weeks ago there were several inquiries about the
Bull wheel and other items of equipment manufactured by
Rock Lapidary in San Sntonio, Tx. Raymond Rock {real name},
passed away a while ago and all the equipment, molds, parts
and accessories for all the various machines he manufactured
for over 30 years has been sold to: Maxant Industries.,
Box 454L, Ayers, MA 01432, Tel. 508-772-0578. This info
was given to me my Ray Rock's daughter. I hope that someone
will find this bit of info useful.

Fred Pfeil <"">

Subject: RE: Intarsia and Channel Work

In a message dated 97-09-28 11:12:53 EDT, you write:

<<... (snip)... Could someone please do a short paper for
those of us who are not in the know about Intarsia and
Channel Work?>>

Here's the REALLY short version.

Channel work, in jewelry/lapidary terms, means generally
the cutting and fitting of various stones to fit openings
in the metal. Usually, there is only one stone per opening,
much like cloisonne enamel. The stones can be smoothed
flat and flush with the metal, or can be, as with much zuni
"pinpoint" work, actually seperately shaped and rounded
stones. One often sees such work with the metal channels
slightly lower than the somewhat raised stones fitted into
it, much like paving stones are higher in the middle than
the seams between.

Intarsia, on the other hand, is the art of gem inlay to
produce pictures or patterns or images, without
interconnecting metal. You could be doing jewelry, or wall
murals if you like, or anything in between. This is a
little like the old "paint by numbers" stuff, where you'd
fill in each outline with a different color, ending up with
a painting. In intarsia, each piece of stone is chosen for
it's colors and patterns to fit the overall pattern or
image, and shaped to precisely fit the various other stones
used, with no gaps in between. When all are fitted, they
are usually lapped flat, or cut to a uniform level and
contour, so the result is a single stone assembly of
multiple pieces, creating the image. This can either be a
single larger piece, or the same techniques used to create
complex images within inlaid areas in jewelry, such as
Dennis Adaki is famous for, with his realistic birds and
other images set in his silver jewelry. The technical
tricks to intarsia include getting the stones fitted really
close and tight, so the glue joints don't show, and getting
the final surface polished smooth, despite the possibly
varying hardness of the different stones used. The ART
of intarsia, of course couples the art of any image maker,
like painting or photography, coupled with the additional
complication of finding suitable stone materials to include
the needed colors and patterns for your chosen image.

Hope this helps.

Peter Rowe

Subject: RE: Leaking Lids on Lortone Tumbler

<< "We recently got into rock tumbling, with a Lortone 4#
tumbler. Several times, the lid has come off, leaking
slurry all over and making a helluva mess. Is there some
sort of trick to putting it on, or did we get a defective

This will have to be short but, with the Lortones make
sure your water stands around for a couple of days to air
out before you use it, a bucket works well to air it out.
Also you might find it useful to burp the canisters once a
day. Also in the summer they will really barf if left in a
hot area like the garage. The way Lortones are made is why
they throw up like that, they do seal well but any pressure
inside the canister and the lid pops loose.

Ken Wetz

(Ed. Note: I, too, have found that it is a good practice
to open the lids of (or, as Ken says, to burp) the jars
once every day for several day after starting a new charge.
I, too, have had slurry all over my workbench top and on
the floor. Hadn't thought to de-aerate the water, but that
is a good idea!

Can anyone tell us what really causes the pressure to build
up in the cannisters? ...hale)

Subject: RE: Leaking Lids on Lortone Tumbler

I can't recall offhand how the Lortone tumblers are
constructed, but if the lid fits tightly, this might be
your problem: when silicon carbide (Carborundum) degrades
in the tumbling process, it generates small amounts of
acetylene gas and the change in pressure is great enough to
blow the lid off a tumbler. You might try "burping" your
tumbler every 24 hours by taking the lid off. I have vivid
memories of the mess created when my first 10-pound rotary
tumbler went unvented for several days. (The gas doesn't
actually explode, but in my case the increase in pressure
was sufficient to deform a heavy gauge steel lid that was
securely bolted down).

Rick Martin

non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: RE: Streaking Minerals - The Streak Test

<<Here is a challenge for you.I need to separate quickly
and economically White Quartz from White Beryl.>>

Someone more knowledgeable than me will probably come up
with an elegant large-scale solution to this problem
(which is much tougher than I originally thought it might
be). Anyhow, in the FWIW department, I've noticed that
when grinding crystalline quartz on a diamond wheel, the
quartz virtually melts; you have to be careful not to

On the other hand, some cryptocrystalline quartzes like
certain jaspers seem much harder. I tried scratching a
couple of quartz xls and a chunk of aquamarine with Idaho
Bruneau Canyon jasper, bloodstone and a piece of African
blue chalcedony as a control.

I was able to scratch the quartz xl with all three (some
crystal faces were harder than others, so testers might
have to try 2 or more directions), but the jaspers were
consistently harder than the quartz xl. The chalcedony
was a little "iffy," but you might try others like
chrysoprase. None of the three could begin to scratch the

This is a labor-intensive approach, but if you're doing
the testing where labor rates are more reasonable than in
the U.S.???

Anyhow, it's a thought.

Rick Martin

non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: FS: Cab Grade Emerald

I do not post cabbing rough often but just recieved in from
Tanzania, one lot of cabbing grade Emerald. Color is excellent,
good solid medium green, with pieces ranging in size from
about .8 gram up to 4 grams. $200.00 for 100 carats, or will
sell the whole lot of over 250 grams at a lot price...
Thanks and best wishes

Gemstone Brokerage Associates Ltd. Telephone (518)438-5487
To subscribe to the Digest, send a message to, with the word SUBSCRIBE DIGEST as
the subject of the message. Other commands you may use are:
UNSUBSCRIBE DIGEST to quit, HELP to receive a page of help
instructions on the use of the list, and DIR to receive a
list of names of all files in the Archives.

The command <GET filename> may be used on the subject line
(without brackets, of course) to obtain a copy of the file
named "filename". Type filename exactly as it appears in
the directory, including the extension. Do not cut-and-paste
filenames into the subject line.

Each author is requested to write the words
"-- non-commercial republish permission granted --" at the
end of every item submitted. This gives permission for
others to use your item for non-commercial purposes.
Please use those four words at the end of each item you