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This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 161 - Fri 7/31/98
2. NEW: Used Motors for Replacement
3. NEW: Dyeing Onyx Black
4. RE: About Charoite
5. RE: About Charoite
6. RE: About Charoite
7. RE: Tumble Finishing Cabs
8. RE: Tumble Finishing Cabs
9. RE: Tumble Finishing Cabs
10. RE: Orienting Jade for Polishing
11. RE: Orienting Jade for Polishing
12. SPHERES: Sphere Maker's List
13. BIO: Sally Hintz
14. BIO: Jim Flora
15. WTB: Charoite Slabs
16. FS: Quartz Crystal Rough for Sphere Making
17. FS: Gyroc Vibrahone
18. Show: San Francisco, CA


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 161 - Fri 7/31/98

Dianne Karg wrote to tell about the formation of a new group
dedicated to wire wrapping. To get more info about this group,
write Dianne at <<>>, with the words
"WIRE ARTISTS GROUP INFO" on the subject line.

Anyone into scrimshaw? Please let me know who you are! Would
anyone like to see something on 'how to do' scrimshaw? If you
have ideas on this, let me know.. it is your list, too!!

Well, it is going to be a great weekend; going to a 'Willie'
(Nelson) concert up in Boone NC... the second one we have
been to in NC this year! So join me in spirit and let's all


Subject: NEW: Used Motors for Replacement

Surplus Center, Lincoln Nebraska, 1-800-488-3407, is a good
source for reasonably priced motors. in their latest flyer
#271A on page 3 (center column bottom) is a good replacement
motor for the Lortone combo unit and probably some other
small machines such as Lee. It's worth having the catalog,
especially for builders and modifiers and just guys who pick
up older used equipment

Leon Kusher

non commercial copying permitted

Subject: NEW: Dyeing Onyx Black

Does anyone have any information about or a recipe for dying
black onyx? It would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You.
(Note: Get a file from the Archives: ColoringGeodesAgates.txt,
and get issues 130, 131 and 132. Issue 130 has an article
entitled: Coloring Agate Slices--Historical German Method
which may give you some ideas about getting black color. hale)

Subject: RE: About Charoite

I have collected the various suggestions about pronunciation
and here they are:

...I've always pronounced it " Char " but then again I don't
speak much better than I spell. <G>

Craig Nielson

...I have always heard Charoite pronounced like Charo the
singer/entertainer or the ch in church.

Cathy Gaber

...I have always heard it pronounced as char (as in charred
embers) - o - ite. It will be interesting to see what others
have to say.


...Bill Vance, who was with New Era for a while says the
correct pronunciation is chair-o-wheat with an accent on the
wheat. 'Least that's my interpretation of how he said it.

Steve Case
non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: RE: About Charoite

Some quick ideas on Charoite (pronounced CHAROite):

...There are many grades of it as you can tell.

...Always be leary of material displayed in water, or with
oil on it! Dry it before you buy it!!

...If when dry, it looks fibrous and the grain looks raised,
put it back.

Even some of the best quality Charoite can be SLIGHTLY
fibrous. But the grain will not raise, and unless mishandled,
will yield beautiful stones.

Should you like to try lesser grades, try backing the piece
with a thin slab of obsidian, or black onyx, secured with Hot
Stuff, or another comparable fast acting glue. This will
stabilize the piece making it easier to handle. Still treat
it with kid gloves.

Lots of dealers will slice lesser grades and display it in
water, using the line "so you can see what it looks like when
polished." Dry it! I'm a show dealer and I do display some
material in water - so that is a valid claim. Save yourself
some money; dry it and inspect the material.


Subject: RE: About Charoite

<<I find I get the best results treating it like jade. After
sanding through 1200 grit, (with diamond but I don't think
the stone cares) I dry sand it with 1200 grit silicon carbide
and polish with aluminum oxide.>>

I hope you're not one of those who cut and polish their rock
in their home or garage. Jade "Nephrite" is Asbestos. Please
don't DRY CUT Jade, or advise others that they should.

I know a lot of people swear by the dry polish method with
jade but its not worth the risks, you can still generate a
high heat polish with water.

<<If you are having good luck with your cerium oxide, stay
with it. If you are having problems, try a different source,
you may have better luck.>>

When working with cerium oxide ckeck to make sure that it is
white, if it has a pink tint to it it has contaminated and
won't work right.

Gil Shea

non commercial republish permission granted

Subject: RE: Tumble Finishing Cabs

Hi all,

I've read the first wave of responses on the subject of tumble
finishing cabs. I've had some experience and a different
method that worked well for me. There are some pre-qualifiers
to list:

1) No soft stones, most turquoise, opal and etc. will get too
"beat-up" (maybe someone else has a technique for soft

2) Any heterogeneous materials of varying hardness will
undercut. This includes agates such as "dry head" which
have softer layers.

3) Cleavable minerals will cleave in the tumbler. Topaz,
Charoite, Sodalite, and etc.

Most agates work great. I've also had good results with,
quartz crystal (rutilated, amethyst, clear, and smokey),
garnet, and colored glass. In an experiment with Mexican
crazy lace, I found that by using the tumbler I could produce
calibrated cabs with no more than 10-15 minutes total time in
each cab (beginning with pre-slabbed material).

The method: I rough the stones on a coarse 6" diamond grinding
wheel. Only the small ones were dopped. The stones are then
sanded on a fresh 220 grit silicon carbide belt on an
expandable drum. I run my expandable drum slower than most
folks so I can use the "give" of the rubber to wrap around the
stone and reduce the ridges produced. (I can't get this part
to work with diamond) If done right (only a little practice is
needed) agates finish this step with no ridges whatsoever. I
then turn the stone over and kiss the sharp edge from the
back of the stone. I should also note that I cut most of my
cabs with a bevel.

The stones go into a Vibrasonic tumbler (manufacturer doesn't
matter) with 600 grit and only enough water to allow the grit
to cling to the stones. This is important! Most people use too
much water. I load the tumbler with the cabs and enough scrap
(of the same material) to the weight specified by the
manufacturer. Then I add a heaping teaspoon of grit (I use a
4 lb. tumbler). Then I turn it on dry and slowly add water
until two things happen 1) I see the grit clinging to the
stones as they cycle to the top of the heap, and 2) the action
of the stones becomes less violent and the heap rolls over on
itself with a steady action. At this point the sound will be
much more subdued as well. I run for 12 hours, clean and rinse
the load and repeat. After 24 hours, I inspect the load. This
is usually enough. If needed the load can be run again. The
load is then cleaned, prepolished, and polished. I get a high
polish, minimal size reduction (can't measure any) and only a
slight rounding at the dome, bezel edge. Too coarse a grit or
too long in the grit wwill produce more rounding of the edges,
deformations, and size reduction.

The important thing is to experiment with your tumbler and
the material you are cutting. Keep notes!, and modify your
technique to fit the occasion. No one cookbook technique or
formula will work for all cases and situations. Be patient and
when you hit on a method that works for you, write it down,
remember it, and for goodness sake, send it out on the list
for the rest of us!

Paul Boni
Boulder CO

non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: Tumble Finishing Cabs

Hello Steve and Terrah

First, hopefully you have a small barrelled tumbler because
you won't want to share your cabs with any other stones and
you will need enough preforms to make a tumbler load.

Second, all the same size helps.

Third all the same material helps a lot.

Fourth glue the stones of the same size back to back, this
stops that little dent in the back of the stone from
happening and also keeps a crisp girdle line. Also this
practise preserves calibration and prevents chipping if you
are using a rotary(WHY?) tumbler

Note; the more care you take in accurately shaping preforms
the better looking cabochons you end up with.

The grit size you start with is determined by how much stone
you estimate needs removing, if larger than the finest is
needed the shape will suffer. The cutting stage should be kept
as short as possible anyway. Use your usual polishing
techniques and compounds for the material you are tumbling.

I have only tumble finished stones cut with automatic cutting
equipment. A tumble polished stone cannot withstand a 10x
loupe. at least mine didn't. I feel personally that automatic
preforming is the only excuse for tumble finishing.

I have never tried this with hand cut stones, I couldn't
imagine anything worse than putting the effort into getting a
nicely shaped stone and then missing out on the good part
where you make it come alive in your fingers. I always thought
this was the magic part, the moment the rock turns into a gem.

Lapidarius interruptus, not for me thanks.

Anthony L. Lloyd-Rees
web site:

non-commercial republish permission granted

Subject: RE: Tumble Finishing Cabs

Tumble polishing cabs. Yes, it can be done. I have done it,
with good success, using tin oxide in honey with 4 mm glass
beads as carrier. The thing to remember is not to cut the
edges to razor sharpness. They need to be about 1 mm. thick
to withstand the occasional edge-to-edge impact. (I am
assuming cabs of Jasper, Agate, or similar hardness). Don't
crowd them. About 2 volumes of beads to 1 volume of cabs is
about right. (In a conventional tumbler it takes a week to
10 days.)

Ted Robles

non-commercial republish rights granted

Subject: RE: Orienting Jade for Polishing

Do you know what type of jade it is: Jadeite or Nephrite? If
it is Nephrite, is it BC or Alaskan?

Most Alaskan jade is chatoyant along one plane due to the
orientation of the Actinolite fibers, this does require
making a couple of faces to find though, and needs diamond to
work right to prevent under cutting of the fibers.

Most Nephrite will have better color along directions in
relation to the fibers, which frequently result in a white
appearance on the skin of the rock, its sort of similar to
your hair getting split ends. "REMEMBER IF IT IS NEPHRITE IT

Gil Shea
- non commercial republishing rights granted -

Subject: RE: Orienting Jade for Polishing

<<But is there any way that you can determine the optimal
direction without cutting and polishing three sides to
observe the difference?>>

I have found that MOST of the information on the requirements
for orienting jade is just folklore. Think about it from this
point of view: if all jade could only be polished in only one
orientation, jade carvers would be out of business. Also you
would be unable to polish the side of a stone that is cut to
be bezel set. What is true is that because the fibers are
random, they are sometimes parallel, almost like tigereye.
When this occurs over a large area the jade is called
chatoyant and if you are VERY lucky you can cut a cats eye
stone. The last time I saw one the dealer wanted $2000 for a
25x18 Siberian cab!

More realistically, what can happen is that you will find
small areas where the fibers all lie in the same plane. Then
they may pull or undercut when you work them. This is just the
normal orange peel but it just doesn't look the same.
Depending on the size of the area, cutting from a different
angle can give different results. This is also more likely to
show up in larger stones.

Rather than worrying about orienting the jade, learn to
control the orange peel and most of the problems will go away.
If you do find some chatoyant jade, you will know right away.
It doesn't work like jade at all, no orange peel, cracks along
the fiber lines, and the dealer will want more money for it.

Dick Friesen

-non commercial republishing rights granted -

Subject: SPHERES: Sphere Maker's List


Please add my name to the list of sphere makers. I have 3
machines, with 2 currently operational, and a marble maker
by Covington. I work almost exclusively in agate and have
done about 200 such spheres. Really enjoy them.

Best regards.

Roger Pabian

Subject: BIO: Sally Hintz

Hi, I recently started lapidary. I fabricate silver jewelry,
or rather, I like to *frame* stones. Since I live in Houston,
I've had the opportunity to buy stones from the creme de la
cremes of lapidaries, Joe Jelks (who was featured in Lapidary
Journal magazine) and Ron Talhelm. The bad news is that any
stone I do suffers immeasurably in comparison to their stones.
So far I've done a few stones in Zebra marble, jasper, and
dino bone which still has undercuts. I bought a Hi-Tech
diamond All-you-need- flat lap and a six inch diamond saw
from them. I love both, especially the light weight which
means I can haul them out to the kitchen if it's too hot
outside,we're in our 18th straight day of 100 degree plus
temp) and the fact that they use water and don't rust. I'm
looking forward to reading any tips.

Sally Hintz

"non-commercial republication permitted"

Subject: BIO: Jim Flora

My name is Jim Flora and I've been a mineral collector for
about 10 years. I started by joining the Gem & Mineral
Society of the Palm Beaches down in West Palm Beach, FL. This
club had a wonderful lapidary shop run by some dedicated
member/instructors. It's was where I learned to cab and cut

Before I moved to the Atlanta area, in the fall of 1991, I was
elected the club's second Vice President in charge of programs.
In Georgia I joined both the Georgia Mineral Society (Atlanta)
and the Cobb County Gem & Mineral Society. The Florida club
hardly every went on field trips but the Georgia clubs went on
one to two trips a month. This is the area where I really
enjoyed myself. Out in the woods in some old abandoned mine
digging big holes in the hope of finding minerals that I could
add to my collection for display and to my inventory for
lapidary work. For the past two years I've been the Field
Trip Chair for the Georgia Mineral Society and I can safely
say that my basement hold a vast horde of rocks that I need to
do something with. This brings me to the reason why I started
my e-mail subscription to the Lapidary Digest. I plan on
setting up a shop to cut and flat lap large specimens. I
would be interested in hearing from those of you who share
the same interest.

Now for something completely different: I am also the
webmaster for the Georgia Mineral Society. The GMS web site
currently holds almost 120 pages of material about our club
and it's activities. Since I'm also the Field Trip Chair, I
take a lot of pictures on all the field trips and other club
functions. Almost 200 pictures are here for you to look at.
Unfortunately, our Lapidary Section does not meet anymore and
we do not have a location to set up any of our equipment to
hold classes. This is the one area that we need to do some
work. We do have an active Mineral Section which meets every
month at Georgia Tech., a new Micromount Section and a very
active Fossil Section which goes on their own field trips.
We're also trying to rebuild our Juniors Section for those
rockhounds under the age of 16. Please give us a visit at Drop me an e-mail and
tell me what you think about our web site. I specifically
would like to know what you like and don't like and what you
think should be expanded or added.

Jim Flora

Subject: WTB: Charoite Slabs

I have a simple want: Does anyone have a few slabs of Charoite
available for sale? There is none here in St Louis!


Leon Kusher

Subject: FS: Quartz Crystal Rough for Sphere Making

The ultimate in Shere making "CRYSTAL BALLS" is difficult to
achieve because large flawless Quartz Crystals are rare.
Please consider this collection of 900 gms to 3 kilos in size
at: http://www.LICCINI/Carving/Qtz1.htm

Have also 4 large Smokey Quartz, one pictured at:

If you can form a buyer's group to take all 19 Crystals total
23.654Kg it will be $110/kg ($.11/gm <$02.2/ct>) for the lot.
Total $2,600 the lot.This is extraordinary value.

Mark Liccini

Subject: FS: Gyroc Vibrahone

A big thank you to all of you who answered my query about
tumbling cabs. Am synthesizing all of your input. I really
appreciate it.

I also wanted to let you know Hale what a great Mailing List
Digest this is. I subscribe to others and there is quite a
difference in the quality of the info and the format.

Really glad I found it/you.

For Sale: Have a Gyroc Vibrahone Model C. This is the 40 lb
capacity unit. It is in great shape mechanically.
Cosmetically it is average - not bright and shiny but not bad
either. This unit sells for $600 new. Will take $300.

Steve Swartz
Carson City, Nevada

Subject: Show: San Francisco, CA

I have been quite remiss in neglecting to tell y'all about
our show:

The San Francisco Gem & Mineral Society's annual show is
August 1-2 (that's this Saturday and Sunday - I'm sorry to
give such short notice). It's in the Hall of Flowers in
Golden Gate Park, at 9th Avenue and Lincoln. Parking is
available in the UCSF parking lot, with a shuttle to the show.
Admission is $3.50, seniors $3, and children under 12 free
with an adult.

We have an active club, and there'll be all sorts of exhibits,
demonstrations, lectures (Si and Ann Frazier always give a
talk), door prizes and vendors. It's a really nice show.

For more information, you can check out our infrequently
updated web site at, contact me personally, or
call us at 415-564-4230.

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