Edited and Published by Hale Sweeny
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Associate Editors: Geo. Butts, JR Shroeder, Steve Henegar
and Margaret Malm

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 217 - Thurs. 7/1/99
2. NEW: Minerals in Mexican Psilomelane
3. RE: What is Lapis Nevada?
4. RE: What is Lapis Nevada?
5. RE: Nevada Lapis
6. RE: Who Can Straighten Large Diamond Blades?
7. RE: Suiseki - Is It a Form of Lapidary?
8. RE: Suiseki - Is It a Form of Lapidary?
9. Re: Large Scale Rock Tumbling
10. RE: Do-It-Yourself Drip Tank Plumbing


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 217 - Thurs. 7/1/99

I will be in Nashville, TN all next week at the AFMS and
SFMS annual meetings; will be back on July 12.

In the meantime, you know ... have fun!


Subject: NEW: Minerals in Mexican Psilomelane


I'm writing an article for my lapidary club's newsletter
and need to tap into the expertise of some of your readers.

Can anyone tell me the mineral constituents in a particular
psilomelane that comes from Mexico. This material is very
distinctive and well suited for making fabulous jet black
cabochons with swirling, silvery lines reminiscent of

There are numerous manganese oxide minerals that are
suspects: pyrolusite and of course psilomelane the foremost.
What I would like to know is which mineral is responsible
for the hematite-like silvery lines and which is responsible
for the black background.

This is not a soft material. It has to have a hardness of
6 or more and it usually doesn't undercut. I don't believe
there is any hematite because the ground remains are black,
not rust red.

That's all I can tell you.


Subject: RE: What is Lapis Nevada?

I seem to recall that "Nevada Lapis" was a nickname for
Shattacite, a Navy blue stone which is a dead ringer for
Lapis Lazuli; Shattacite occurs out Nevada way.

Another one frequently confused is Variscite, which you
might mistake for Turquoise or even Chrysophrase.

Mark Liccini

Subject: RE: What is Lapis Nevada?

<<... the name Nevada Lapis is a misnomer, because it is
neither from Nevada nor in the lapis family of stones.>>

We had a person (a bit of a wag) at our mineral shows in
Miami who had a display of the various "Lapis" stones. They
were samples of each of the common minerals with the word
"Lapis" in from of them. His point was that "Lapis" is
Greek for rock. It is the "Lazuli" that has a family, not
the "Lapis", by this logic. We just take the American
proclivity of shortening things by their first name,
especially when that word is foreign to us, when
remembering Lapis Lazuli.

Not an important point, just entertaining.

Fred G.

Subject: RE: Nevada Lapis

There is a Cal. Federation of Mineral Societies (CFMS) Club
in Yerington, Nevada, called the Mason Valley Gem & Mineral
Society. Our last field trip included a location where
Nevada lapis was collected. The description I read in the
last issue ( #216) sounded just like the chunk I have in
my shop.

Very pretty combo of pinks and greens. Some pieces tend
toward the pink and others the green.

Steve Swartz
Carson City, Nevada

Subject: RE: Who Can Straighten Large Diamond Blades?

On Tue, 29 Jun 1999 wrote:

<< So, I am wondering if anyone knows of another place to
send blades to be straightened that might be faster and
- since I am in S.C. - closer than California... >>

I would go to a local industrial tool supplier. Check the
Yellow Pages under Saws - Sharpening and Repairing.


Subject: RE: Suiseki - Is It a Form of Lapidary?

On Tue, 29 Jun 1999, wrote:

<<In Japan there is an art form called suiseki... >>

My brother-in-law, a suiseki devotee and collector, claims
that the Japanese got the idea from the Koreans, but he's
Korean and probably not unbiased.

<<... the stone is then displayed to emphasize that part;
in some cases, this entails cutting off part of the stone
so the base will be flat.>>

It's my understanding that cutting the stone at all is a
no-no, at least for the purists. Instead, they carve wooden
display stands to fit the bottom of the stone and hold it
in the proper viewing position.

<<Is this a part of lapidary?>>

It is certainly part of the appreciation of rocks, but
calling it lapidary is too much of a stretch for me :}

BTW, suiseki is often associated with bonsai. If you have
a local bonsai society, chances are some of the members
are also suiseki collectors.


Subject: RE: Suiseki - Is It a Form of Lapidary?


I'm with you. Suiseki is definitely lapidary. You are right
about cutting be minimal. You are allowed only to flatten
the base. I have found/made two pieces so far and am always
looking for appropriate specimens while out rockhounding.

It is an art form that involves rocks. No question in my
mind that it is lapidary. I've always loved Bonsai but have
a bit of a black thumb. Cactus are about the only plants
that survive in my care (most of them anyway) so I loved
discovering Suiseki. Same feel as a Bonsai but

There was a great article in Rock and Gem a couple of years
ago. Check it out.

Glad you didn't give up on us.

Steve Swartz
Carson City, Nevada

Subject: Re: Large Scale Rock Tumbling

On a trip to Utah a few years back I saw an interesting
Homemade Tumbler. It was a used tire, set upright on pipes.
The material was tumbled in the trough of the turning tire.

Simple, low-tech. A great way to recycle old tires.
Probably a real pain to unload.

Has anybody out there tried this?

Steve Swartz
Carson City, Nevada

Subject: RE: Do-It-Yourself Drip Tank Plumbing

The following is a (bio)chemists trick to generate
a steady flowrate:

If you want the drip rate to not be dependent on how full
the jug is, add another tube so the air has to bubble into
the jug. Depending on how high the shelf holding the jug,
variations in how full the jug is can have a large or small
effect. If your shelf is low the flow will decrease
noticeably as the jug empties and you will have to keep
adjusting the IV clamp. With the added tube the flow
rate wont change until the level in the jug drops below
the end.

Was that clear? Think rubber stopper with two tubes
through it. One tube goes to the bottom of your water
bottle. This is the outlet and is connected to your IV
tube. The other tube goes nearly to the bottom. This is
the inlet and is open to the air at the top. If it
doesn't bubble you probably don’t have a good seal.

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