Administered by Hale Sweeny (

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 169 - Thursday, October 22, 1998
2. NEW: Carving Troughs in Slabs
3. NEW: New Lapidary Templates
4. RENEW: Home-Made Sea Glass
5. RE: Diamond Ring Saw or Band Saw?
6. RE: Diamond Ring Saw or Band Saw?
7. RE: Diamond Ring Saw or Band Saw?
8. Re: White Turquoise?
9. Re: White Turquoise
10. Re: White Turquoise
11. NEW: Cat's Eyes
12. RE: Australian Tigereye
13. COMMENT: Field Trips in Winter
14. COMMENT: LapDigest Down Under
15. RE: Trading Rough Materials
16. RE: Copyright Release
17. BIO: Clint Ebstein
18. AD: Lots of rough real cheap
19. AD:
20. WTB: Used Crown Machine


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 169 - Thursday, October 22, 1998

I want to apologize for the long 'drought' (22 days, in fact!) in putting out the Digest. and I
want to explain. First, I was ill for a couple of weeks, but I am much better now. Next, and
some of the old timers know this, my wife (of 50 years, as of last Tuesday) has Alzheimer's
and her memory is almost completely gone. She can do nothing to care for herself, and I
must do it all for her. She has gotten much worse in the last couple of months, and the long
delay, when I lost the hard drive, was partly due to her condition and the time it required to
care for her. Same for last several weeks. I am proud of the Digest and want it to be
published regularly, but she does come first.

HELP!!! I want to start planning a website for the Digest, and want you to write me with recommendations of what you want to see in a Lapidary Digest Website. I have five pages
on the planning list: an opening page with button for easy subscription, a page of FAQs
about the operation of the list, a page about us, a page with descriptions of how to access
the Archives and what is in the Archives, and a copy of the latest issue published (but
without the e-mail addresses of those who submitted items). Think about it -- what do
YOU want in a website for the Digest? Remember that we can have plans and pictures
(graphics) on a website!

It's cool here- the trees are starting to turn, and we are definitely heading for autumn!
Take care of yourselves, and above all,
have fun together every day!!


Subject: NEW: Carving Troughs in Slabs

At a recent gem and mineral show in Toronto I came across a slab with a dug-out. The slab
was about 3/4 inch thick and the oval trough measured about 4 inches at the wide and 2
inches at narrow diameters and about 1/2 inch deep. It was well polished.

How are these troughs made and has it been discussed before? Can anyone point me in the
direction for such jobs?

Unionville, Ontario, Canada

Subject: NEW: New Lapidary Templates

Hi, I recently saw some lapidary templates with shield shapes(curvy triangles) and eye
shapes. No one seems to remember where they came from. Does anyone have a good
source for uncommon lapidary templates? I'm not talking about the standard hearts
squares and ovals, but more interesting and smaller shapes.

I have already scoured the engineering and architectural templates. The templates I saw
were specifically for lapidary work. Thanks in advance,

Sally from hot and humid Houston.

Subject: RENEW: Home-Made Sea Glass

I purchased a product called "sea glass", which is sold as a potpourri- you add fragrance
oils to it, and set it around to make the room smell nice, and wash it when you tire of that
smell ;^). It is quite co$tly- $20 for about. a cup full.

Quite simply, this stuff looks like broken jar & bottle bottoms (they're thick pieces) that
have been tumbled............anyone know how this would be done? The pieces are smooth,
but have a frosted appearance.

Our sons were given a barrel-type tumbler, and think this would be a neat way to make
gifts from the family "dump pile", and recycle the many old glass things tossed by their
Great Grandma, sort of a recycled heirloom project.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated- if this is an inappropriate for this list, off-line is
fine, too, (with my apologies :^)

Lucinda Culp

Subject: RE: Diamond Ring Saw or Band Saw?

Joe Williams, writing about the ring saw, wrote:

<Hale, the ring "blade" is literally a steel ring embedded with diamond chips...>

I'd call the blade "coated", not "embedded".

<...(snip)... The manufacturer suggests using ice water for cooling, but my shop is air
conditioned so I don't bother when cutting 22 gauge metal. Rocks and minerals probably
should be cooled with ice water.>

I've never used ice water, and haven't noticed any overheating problems so far.

<...(snip>... Would like to learn of other experience with the Taurus II.>

I've had mixed results. The ring saw was designed to cut stained glass, and it does this
pretty well. Harder materials go a lot slower- so slow, that it won't replace a regular trim
saw like I'd hoped it would. For special situations, however, where a straight cut would
waste valuable material, it might be the way to go. I haven't tried using it on metal, although
this is supposed to work. An interesting feature is that the ring-blade cuts in any direction,
so one can pull the material through as well as push, and can wear the blade out more

The blade it came with developed a bare spot, but the company replaced it at no
charge when I called them about it.(E-mail, on the other hand, was useless- apparently
they only check it every other month.) The most problems I had were with the plastic
cogwheel blade supports. They tend to jam and self-destruct; also the action of turning
unscrews the screw holding the left cogwheel; putting a nut and lockwasher on the back
side seemed to help.

I've also got an older model Gryphon diamond bandsaw, but I wouldn't recommend it-
it's basically a toy, not a tool. The blades are so fragile that you can count on spending as
much time soldering them back together as you do cutting - and cutting takes a long time
with lapidary material- it's even slower than the ring-saw, although the mechanics are more
straightforward. Perhaps they have improved in recent years- the new models looked more
heavy duty, but I haven't tried

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

Subject: RE: Diamond Ring Saw or Band Saw?

Please check out the diamond band saw sold by Harbor Freight. It is a remarkable
$145.00, with blade included as well as a regular saw (non diamond) blade.

Several of us use and love this little gem, hundreds less than those sold by jewelry

Hale's Note: For those of you not familiar with Harbor Freight, they sell tools and lots of
other stuff. See their website at and order a catalog. You may
download product manuals (which I have never done) to read before you buy! The band
saw Teresa is referring to is a 5" Universal saw by Chicago Electric Power Tools. Check it
out and other tools in their catalog or on the web! (Usual disclaimer- I have no stock in
that company, but am just a long time and satisfied customer!)

Subject: RE: Diamond Ring Saw or Band Saw?

Hale; in our museum we have a band saw, and my daughter has one as well, that she has
long used to cut glass for making her stained glass angels. She likes hers; as for the one
in the museum, it is very picky. Everything must be done both flat and slowly. You can
cut circles, ovals, or arabesques, but don't try to turn a corner over about 10 degrees, or
you buy a $45.00 blade! If you absolutely MUST have a square corner, make two cuts.
OH, yes - work it very wet; it loses diamonds against dry jasper or jade faster than you
can imagine! Other than that, you can do things with it you simply can NOT do with a trim
saw, and it may save you lots of time on the Cab machine, because, with just a little
practice, you can cut right to the line! No production shop should be without one, but
they are probably an expensive luxury for the individual rockhound. Clubs which have
workshops should definitely consider getting one, and then appointing one member
to learn how to use it, with the idea that he can instruct others.

Ted Robles
"Non-commercial republication rights granted."

Subject: Re: White Turquoise?

Dick Friesen wrote:
<<snip>Many years ago I got some "white turquoise" from the owner of the Carico Lake
mine. He claimed it was "Foustite" (sp.) but I have never seen any more, nor can I find it
listed in any of my references. Maybe someone has a better set of mineral references and
could check it out.>

OK, here is what I have: the Glossary of Mineral Species 1995 edition does list Faustite
gives formula zinc, copper, aluminum etc. Triclinic, apple green, Turquoise group. ref.
#'s 38, 964-972 (1953) (American Mineralogist)

(Hale's Note: I just love my copy of The Mineral Database (that's it's name), and tried
Foustite, but nothing! I didn't try the spelling FOUSTITE! But the data base does have it
as: Name: Faustite ; Formula: (Zn, Cu)Al6(PO4)4(OH)8+4H2O ;System: Triclinic; Color:
Apple-green; Opacity: Opaque; Luster: Waxy to dull; Group: Turquoise; Streak: White to
pale yellow-green; Hardness:5.5 to 5.5; Density: 2.92 to 2.92; Fracture: Conchoidal to
smooth; brittle; Habit: Massive, compact. Thanks for the correct spelling, Earl, and
the basic information.. and sorry I missed you two weekends ago.)

Subject: Re: White Turquoise

There has been recent discussion in some circles that turquoise shouldn't be a mineral
species... it's just a variety of planerite with some copper. According to this philosophy, the
"real" mineral is white, and the exception is blue. I think this is kind of silly- just consider it
the blue part of a chalcosiderite-turquoise-planerite series.

Dick Dale
Cochabamba, Bolivia

Subject: Re: White Turquoise

"White" Turquoise? As a chemist, I can categorically say, "There ain't no such animal!" If
ferrous iron substitutes for copper in the copper-aluminum-hydroxy-phosphate, it might be
very pale blue, and if neither iron nor copper are present, it might be Aluminum Phosphate;
but generally a "White" Turquoise would be either Howlite or Magnesite, both of which can
have patterns approaching the most prized Iranian "Turquoise," but very pure white
otherwise. Both can be dyed blue, but that's another subject.

The highest quality Howlite and Magnesite "Rough" can be had for prices ranging from
$5.00 t0 $25.00 per POUND! I'd look long and hard at a high-priced "White Turquoise,"
and ask the dealer if he would mind having a qualified gemologist examine it. He may be
innocently deluded, he may be running a scam, or maybe there is something under the sun I
don't know about; but Turquoise should be green or blue.

Ted Robles

"Non-commercial republication rights granted."

Subject: NEW: Cat's Eyes

Cat's Eye; Oh, you lucky person! These are not just curios, they can be strikingly beautiful,
and are far too expensive (even at the wholesale shows) for my tender pocketbook, which
insists on readily salable stones. Being a tightly woven mesh of Calcite and Aragonite, with
organic "Glue," they are nevertheless fairly soft and need tender loving care after cutting as
well as before and during. Yes, the dust from cutting and polishing them is probably every
bit as poisonous as abalone, being chemically and petrographically nearly identical, so I'd
work it in a well-ventilated location, and avoid breathing the dust.

They are best worked on a flat lap with slow to medium speed, and plenty of water.
Flatten the back just enough to put the dop on, and use "Crazy Glue gel," largely because
you don't want to heat the "Gem." It is the Operculum of a marine snail, (a variety of whelk,
I think, but don't quote me; it is basically the animal's "Front Door," and grows along with
the creature, which is what causes the chatoyancy, I believe.

Start your cut with 220, and inspect it every time you make a pass, because the
chatoyancy shows up reasonably quickly after you get through the black coating. It makes
a lovely cab, but should be worn as a pin or pendant, because it will not take the kind of
knocks a ring does. For polish, you can go through the wheels to 14,000 diamond, but the
three cat's eyes I have worked in my life were all polished in the palm of my hand, using
Linde A and saliva, and they were beautiful! (After 1200 diamond).

Interestingly enough, the remarks about Chloroastrolite as far as working technique goes,
would probably fit Cat's Eye as well!

Ted Robles

"Non-commercial republication rights granted."

Subject: RE: Australian Tigereye

I didn't look at the picture, but it sounds like that's what you have. Australian Tigereye is a
brecciated form of the minerals forming tigereye, meaning that as the crystals were forming,
geologic forces pushed them around so that it has an irregular shape compared to what we
usually think of as tigereye.

In new age circles this is also known as Tempest Stone. Calling it that usually adds 3x to
the price. South Africa has a similar stone called pietersite and here in Minnesota we have
Silkstone and Binghamite which are very similar to Australian Tigereye.

If you are interested in working it, it handles pretty much the same as tigereye. There might
be a little undercutting in sections that have streaks of hematite (a silvery black mineral),
but it will polish up beautifully. Enjoy!

(Hale's Note: Now if some dealers who have some for sale would just write and tell us
how much it costs, I think most of Nancy's questions would be answered.)

Subject: COMMENT: Field Trips in Winter

Hey Hale
I want to thank you for all the good info you have been publishing but I beg to differ with
you on the weather getting colder stopping us from rock hounding. Here in southern
California this is the only time to go out to the deserts of California, Arizona and Mexico
and should I mention Quartzsite.

Thanks again,
Ernie Ogren, The Geode Man

Subject: COMMENT: LapDigest Down Under

Hi, Hale
Its great to have the first issue (for me) of the "L.D". Here in Australia we are in a bit of a
back-water .I found it very hard to get information of the kind that seems to be in the "L.D.".
Now all I have to do is to figure out how to access the previous 167 issues of the Digest.


Bill Beke -ph/0357 861 861 482
Foggy Mountain Forge
PO Box 9,Kinglake 3763
Victoria, Australia
Hale's Note: Bill, WELCOME!! To find how to access the archives, start by sending an
e-mail to, and put the following on the subject line:
GET AccessingArchives.txt
it is all explained in that file. hale)

Subject: RE: Trading Rough Materials

I have traded with several members of the list and whilst I can't speak for shipping inside the
US it costs around 25 USD to air mail 4 pounds of stone to the UK ( and the same for me
in reverse ).

I have never had anything but joy from trading but the same can not be said for buying from
people in newsgroups.

If you have more patience than me then surface shipping is a cheaper option but that is the
one virtue that passed me by (apart from modesty ?)

I am always interested in trading UK material for lapidary materials from anywhere else -
especially my first love: AGATE!

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England

Subject: RE: Copyright Release

And that's that for now, except for my two cents' worth on the "REPUBLICATION"
subject. As you know, current law provides that your creation is copyrighted the instant you
write it; you must give away the publication right, or sell it; I believe your idea would work,
provided that the author is given credit for his/her work. Let's face it; in hobby info passed
from one rockhound to another, there is little fiduciary interest; if I want to be paid for
something, I "Offer first North American Serial rights at your customary rates," as I do
with you; after all, you pay nothing, so I'm writing for the joy of it, and the desire to help
others from my store of knowledge such as it is.

Reprint rights are granted to anyone who gives me credit for the work, which is in itself
credit enough. But, to be on the safe side,

"Non-commercial republication rights granted."

so there!

Ted Robles
(Hale's Note: I have only received 5 letters on this topic, and am reconsidering the wording
of our new policy on transferring copyrights on submitted items. So for the present it is in
limbo, and I will try to get some legally acceptable and list-acceptable wordings together for
the next issue!)

Subject: BIO:

My name is Clint Ebstein. I live in Oranjemund Namibia, and I am relatively new in
lapidary. I mainly collect raw rocks and minerals, and have recently started tumbling and
polishing agates and other stones.


Clint W Ebstein
Tel : +264-63-232291
E-mail :
(Hale's Note: Welcome, Clint! Hope you get as much enjoyment from this List as I do
in publishing it!)

Subject: AD: Lots of rough real cheap

The response to my $1. per pound rock yard sale has been good but I still have a lot of rock
to move out. Bruneau Jasper (tumble grade), Owyhee Picture Jasper, Succor Creek
Geodes, mahogany and black obsidian, paisley stone, and quite an assortment of petrified

Check my web sit at Disregard the prices posted on
these rocks on the site. I am not going to bother my web master for a temporary sale.

Dixie Reale

Subject: (AD)

Hi all, just wanted to remind everyone that we stock a wide variety of faceting/cabbing
and carving materials for immediate shipment. Call, fax or email us now!! All materials
are 100% guaranteed and backed by our customer satisfaction policy.

For those of you that have not joined our email and US Mail based sales lists, do so now.
Just shoot back an email with your snail mail address, and we will do the rest.

Also. for those of you that are interested in faceting, or are facetors, or just have an
interest in learning how gemstones are cut, please consider joining the FACETORS
DIGEST listserver operated by our friend Jerry Dewbre. This is a daily digest devoted
exclusively to the art of faceting, and everyone is welcome. :-)

To subscribe, send an email with the word "subscribe" in the subject line to: That's all there is to it! You will immediately begin to receive
the daily digest seven days a week. To post to, or respond to topics on the list, just send
an email to the same address,

Paul Ahlstedt / Owner
P. T. Ahlstedt Mining and Mineral Exploration
(Hale's Note: About Faceter’s Digest, Jerry Dewbre does a great job and I highly
recommend his list to all faceters or wannabe facetors.)

Subject: WTB: Used Crown Machine

Hi, thank you for adding me to your digest. I have been cutting
stones for the trade for almost 24yrs. now. I do most any type of
cutting, carving or faceting.

About equipment. I have been using a Crown machine for about 20yrs.
now. Its the type that uses a poly arbor turned upside down with the
motor on top of the machine. At this time its more rust than machine. If
anyone has a good used one I am very interested in hearing about it.

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