Edited and Published by Hale Sweeny
Web Site:
Associate Editors: Geo. Butts, JR Shroeder, Steve Henegar,
Margaret Malm, Sam Todaro, and Ed Elam

This list digest contains the following message subjects:

1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 292 - Fri 4/20/2001
2. NEW: Cabbing with a Faceting Machine
3. NEW: How to Dye Coral
4. NEW: Sphere PreForm Cutting Jig
5. NEW: How to Make Beads
6. NEW: Stability of Peruvian Blue Opal
7. NEW: American Opal Society
8. RE: Flexible Shaft Tools for Opal Carving
9. RE: Enhydro Quartz
10. RE: Enhydro Quartz
11. BIO: Wag Wheeler
12. WTB: Need Someone to Cut a Cab For Me
13. WTB: Used Genie or Titan
14. FS: Lapidary Magazines
15. FS: Lapidary Rough


Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 292 - Fri 4/20/2001

I just bought a 30 gig hard drive and a new copy of Win98,
2nd Edition. My son has installed the hard drive and will
next install Win98. I had this next issue ready to go so
am sending this issue out now in case we have trouble with
the new installations. Wish us luck!!

If you know about working coral or know anything about coral
of interest to lapidarys, please write it up and send it in
soon. Thanks.

Thought you would like to know: After each mailing, a number
of Digests come back marked as undeliverable, for one reason
or another (sometimes in error). Their addresses are sorted
and saved and if someone's Digests have been returned as
undeliverable for three issues in a row, I assume they have
changed addresses or stopped their e-mail account and I just
delete them from the mailing list. You'd be surprised how
often an issue is returned from a member, and the next three
issues are delivered. And on the one which was returned is
a message which says it was undeliverable!

Most returned issues are returned immediately - within the
hour of publication. But some ISPs keep trying to deliver
issues for three days, and we usually get a batch of
returned undeliverable issues three days after publication!

It generally takes 2½ to 3 hours after each issue to handle
the returned issues, and a half hour three days later for
the stragglers. So in addition to the time for composing an
issue, it takes 3 hours or so to sort out the returned

Jackie Paciello Truty <> wrote to say that
she is leaving on Outback Gem's opal tour with her husband
on April 27th for 3 weeks. She'll be at Yowah, and Lightning
Ridge, but will miss all the fun stuff (expos) in July. Take
lots of sunscreen with you, Jackie, and take lots of
pictures. Have a great trip!!

Green with envy...


Subject: NEW: Cabbing with a Faceting Machine

I have a Graves Mk IV faceting machine. Is there any reason
I could not use it for cabbing opals?
If you cut cabs with a faceting machine, why not write up
how you do it and send it in. I'm sure Winfiel would like
to know, and possible a lot of others!! This is a topic we
have never had discussed before. Thanks hale

Subject: NEW: How to Dye Coral


I have been trying to find someone that knows how to dye
coral. Perhaps one of the members will know.

Thank you

Rain and Sam Silverhawk

Subject: NEW: Sphere PreForm Cutting Jig

Does anyone know where I can buy a Sphere jig preform for
my 24 inch saw. This jigs allows one to accurately cut the
"blank" for the sphere machine. Somebody must have made one
to save time. Anyone know where to buy one??

Thanks and happy rockhunting this summer!!

Brian Jackson

Subject: NEW: How to Make Beads

Yes! I am interested in learning more about beadmaking. I
have some obsidian cut into 1/2" cubes that I plan to
experiment on. Thought I might drill holes and then tumble
them, or tumble then drill????? Any info the Digest can
offer would be helpful.

MaryJane: I wouldn't tumble, but there are several other
ways to make beads - first cut cubes as you have done. One
way is to make them before you drill holes, and the other
is to make them after you have drilled holes in them. I
am sure a lot of our members (coralnut, for example) know
how to do these and I would like one or more of the members
to write up how to do it and send it in. Remember, MaryJane
has her cubes already cut and is waiting. (smile) hale

Subject: NEW: Stability of Peruvian Blue Opal

Dear Hale -

We are having a problem with Peruvian Blue Opal rough. After
sawing it, some of the stones are drying out, cracking, and
becoming milky. Can you please advise us, if possible, of a
stabilization process to take care of this problem?

Thank you and best regards,


Subject: NEW: American Opal Society

Does anyone on the list know of this group and how to
contact them? Thanks for any help.

Bob Edgar
Bob - I've been a member of AOS for several years and have
enjoyed their newsletters - too far away to go to meetings.
See their web page: for full info.

Subject: RE: Flexible Shaft Tools for Opal Carving

The best flexshaft tools I've ever found for sanding and
polishing stages are the Nova Miniature Points from
Diamond Pacific (800-253-2954). Basically these points are
like Cratex, but with diamond grit instead of silicon
carbide. They are BLOODY expensive, about USD $7.25 each.
However, they last quite well, cut fast, and give excellent
results. Their grit sizes are: 60, 140, 280, 600, 1,200,
3,000, 8,000, 14,000, and 50,000. The points come in flame
and bullet shapes, both small and large. I buy the large
flames and bullets in every mesh. It costs a fortune but
it's worth it because of the time that you save.

For polishing larger areas of a larger carving (not opal),
try the Diamond Pacific Nova wheels in the 2 3/8 inch
diameter. They come with bushings that take the internal
diameter down to 1/4 of an inch. Put a 1/4 20 bolt and a
fender washer through the bushing - ta da! Mounts in your
#44 handpiece. Again, these wheels are expensive, USD
$50.00 each or set of 4 grits for $180.00, but they will
polish slabs and large areas of a carving faster than you
can say impending recession.

Hi-Tech diamond (805-522-6211) has a similar line of points,
and they also have a line of mini-disks. Their process is to
embed diamond grit in epoxy and spread it in a thin layer on
a disk or felt bob. They are *much* cheaper than the Nova
points. I keep a good supply of these on hand even though
they are vastly inferior to the Nova points. The Hi-Tech
diamond mini-disks are pretty good and inexpensive solution
for polishing large areas of a carving.

Another product I like from Hi-Tech diamond is their pretty
extensive line of diamond compound in a syringe. They take
diamond grit and mix it with a toothpaste like material. You
squirt very small amounts of it on a felt bob and start
polishing. You cannot use this stuff with opal since it must
be worked dry and will heat the opal too much. However, it
is handy stuff to have around for other materials since
there are many shapes of felt bobs/disks/pads/etc that you
can put it on. I think I paid about $10.00 for a 5 gram tube
at a recent show.

Happy polishing,


Subject: RE: Enhydro Quartz


The inclusions in your crystal are as old as the time the
crystal was formed. The inclusions are a scientific
opportunity as they reflect the conditions at the time the
crystal was formed. If you know where it came from, the
geology of the locale will give its age. You may want to
talk to a geologist at a local college before doing work
on the crystal (assuming you can identify where it came
from). The formation of quartz crystals is not well
understood, and your specimen could help unravel that

The cause of inclusions is not well understood either, as
far as I know. Possibilities include some foreign element
concentration (micro level) affecting crystal growth, and
random favorable conditions (temperature, pressure,
solution, etc.), at a micro level, that surround a low
growth area with favorable growth conditions. There may be
other alternatives.

The odds are that the crystal was formed at some depth (and
temperature) and pressure, so the inclusions will be a
stress point now that it is at surface conditions.

I would suggest that if you really want to see the inclusion
better, you do no more than flatten and polish an existing
crystal surface (and only by hand?), attempting to minimize
the amount of quartz removed. This will do a minimum of
damage to the available science, and minimize the risk of
destroying the specimen.

Kreigh Tomaszewski
Please visit our family web pages at

Subject: RE: Enhydro Quartz

Hi there Gail!

Saw your Query on the water and air inclusions. I deal a lot
in the inclusion quartzes from Namibia and you can get some
more info on the subject by going to our site where there
is a small article about the inclusions:

If you require any more info feel free to write, though
please mind we will be away this week. (Gone Rockhounding!!)

Wish you all the best

Mike and SONJA

Subject: BIO: Wag Wheeler

Hi Hale:
Great publication!!!! Plenty of useful information.

About me: Wag Wheeler, Grand Rapids, Mi. Moved here from
Oklahoma in 1972. I love Michigan - never moving back to
Oklahoma. Been involved in rocks and lapidary for many
years, am a self taught silversmith, but am taking classes

I have a Covington 10" self-feed diamond saw, which I got
from my dad when he died in 1987. This saw has never been
assembled and may have some parts missing. I am looking for
someone to help me put it together and show me all the
features and how to use them. I have a Lortone unit with a
six inch saw that I use now and have used other saws in
the past. So I am not totally unfamiliar with them. I have
called Covington and can ship it to them for assembly, but
I still may not know all the features and how, when and why
to use them. I would like suggestions and places where I
might take it. Anyone close to Grand Rapids who can help?

Thanks, and keep up the great work

Subject: WTB: Need Someone to Cut a Cab For Me

Hale, I have a small amount of Spectralite. I would someone
to cut some for me and make me a "cab" for my wife. I will
send a E-mail photo of the piece I want cut to anyone
interested. I will share what is left with the "cutter". I
am also interested in having someone in Texas evaluate the
collection of Agate and wood specimens I have, with the
intention of reducing my inventory by 1/2 at a reasonable
profit for us both (I bought most of an old rock shop)
Victoria Texas

Subject: WTB: Used Genie or Titan

Hi Hale

Thanks for the GREAT news letter. It's far better than
everything else out there. Keep up the good work!

I am in need of a used Genie or Titan .. I used one at
Wildacres and got spoiled. There is something about those
machines I really like. I just can't afford a new one.

Thanks .... Have a great day!

Jimmy Quigley

Subject: FS: Lapidary Magazines

I've been kind of a lurker I guess. But I found quite a few
back issues of the Lapidary Magazine in my store room and I
would like to offer them for a couple bucks if anyone wants
them. Let me know.


Subject: FS: Lapidary Rough

Hi Hale,

My name is Rob Goodenough. I have been a subscriber for a
few months now, but I have not sent in a profile. I became
interested in Lapidary by accident.

A few years ago I inherited a large collection of gemstones,
rough and mineral specimens from my uncle Kenneth Merwin
Castro of Murphys California. There are some large Benitoite
specimens and an assortment of other stuff such as Opal,
Jade, Black Coral, Tourmaline, Agate, Apache Tears, Quartz
(many types), Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, Topaz
(Imperial), Axinite, Turquoise, Tortoise Shell, Garnet,
Spinel, etc... I don't have the equipment to work the rough,
so I am interested in photographing and selling it. If you
or your subscribers are interested, please e-mail your needs
to Thanks

Rob Goodenough
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