LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
Issue No. 101 - Friday April 4, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
POST TO EITHER LINK BELOW:
VISIT OUR WEBSITE TODAY
From the Moderator:
Topical Focus for This Week: Gemstone Photography Clinic
and Dan Clayton submitted this topic:
CUTTING FIRE OPAL
We have post on both subjects today so we will continue
the week with a dual topic. Several more topic suggestions
have come in as well and they will be addressed in the coming
weeks or whenever a topic dies whichever comes first.
NEXT WEEK TOURMALINE CLINIC
Well another week has come and gone with some great topics
and equally great post. Although I have not yet cut any tourmaline
I have some (both open and closed C axis) that I need to try out so
the upcoming clinic will be of much interest to me personally. I know
we have some list members that cut a lot of tourmaline so we should
have a good session next week.
Have a great weekend.
Index to Today's Digest
01 NEW: 77 index gear design
02 RE: Digital photography
03 RE: Digital photography
04 RE: Fire Opal Carving
05 RE: Cutting and carving Fire Agate
06 NEW: Looking to Contact Frank Locante
07 NEWS: Jubilee project - urgent update
08 RE: Digital photography
Subject: 77 index gear design
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2003 23:27:21 +0100
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Gustavo Castelblanco" <email@example.com>
I've had the pleasure to get to know a lot of nice people from the
different faceting related lists. Not long ago Billy Springfellow really
touched my heart with an e-mail that he sent to the USFG. Since then
Billy has become a very good friend of mine. His great heart and
kindness was shown when he made the 77 index gears for the Raytech and
gave them as a present to many of us. Billy to me is a symbol of what
humanity should be.
I decided to make a design for him using the 77 index gear, just as Jim
Perkins also did, and share it with all the faceters so that every time
we use it we remember to love and be kind just the way Billy does.
God Bless you Billy.
To view the design go to http://gems.dnsart.com/faceting/gustavo.html
I would like to thank Dan Clayton for displaying my designs in his web
site and for all the encouragement, help and inspiration he has given to
me to better understand designing with GemCad.
Subject: Digital photography
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2003 00:21:34 +0100
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Gustavo Castelblanco" <email@example.com>
Thank you very much for your information. I had a lot of fun going
through all the different sites and looking and the examples.
In your post you wrote:
"Incidentally, I've heard this type of dichroic stone referred to as
"double-sided" tourmaline. Quite a bit of it came out of East Africa recently. Some
of the East African material has a very nice pink on the C axis and an orangy colour on the
AB axes. If you aren't careful, these will mix together and make brown. It's probably
not a good idea to attempt to cut such a stone in the same style as the tourmaline you've
just seen, because the colours don't complement each other so well. "Blue -> teal ->
green" is much more attractive than "orange -> brown -> pink". Maybe try a plain
emerald-cut instead, which doesn't mix the colours so much."
I have a good example of this tourmaline, showing quite well the pink
and the orangey/yellow colour of the different axis. The blue that you
can also see is just a reflection of my shirt. I forgot to move away
from the front of the stone when I set the timer to take the photograph.
You can see the stone in my web site:
Something that works well for me when taking photographs is to place the
stone in such way that the day light is coming from behind the stone. I
use a small white paper box to cover the back area and this helps to
show the facets better. Sometimes I even put my hand at the back and
play with the light by spreading my fingers very slowly and see how the
camera is reacting to subtle light changing conditions. When the stones
are on the dark side. I'd like to use a mirror as a base for the stone.
It's important to try the different set ups that the camera offers, such
as, white balance, cloudy conditions, incandescent light etc.
Subject: Digital Photography
Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2003 07:12:43 +0000
From: "Frank Romano" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Without a doubt, a good camera is a must. I started out with a 1.3megapixel
Hewlett Packard camera and couldn't post anything on the 'net without being
humiliated. For snapshots it was OK, but it wouldn't do small items well,
even with a loupe mounted over the lens.
Got a Nikon 4300 and what a difference! It can focus as closely as 1.8
inches from the object.
I also got some better lighting. Much as I love my new Nikon, left to its
own, the pics still turn out a bit dark. I guess this is just a property of
digital cameras? Bought some deer-spotting lamps on sale at WalMart. For
the record, I don't hunt, chew tobacco or drive a pickup ;-) Anyway,
handheld, so they're easily adjusted for directing light and 500,000
candlepower each. With 2 of them, you can cancel out shadows by hitting the
gem from 2 different directions, if shadows bother you. LOTS of light.
Bear in mind that the halogen bulbs aren't
daylight bulbs, though. Those are best for color reproduction.
Since these are so bright, I have free light diffusers available at any
time. Just tape a sheet of white typing paper over the light.
Finally, you MUST have a tripod. Without it your pics will blur, at least
slightly, especially the enlargements. A remote shutter release is nice
because you can easily shake the tripod just by pushing the camera's shutter
Also on blurring/image quality reduction: many art packages compress your
images. This IS a must, or the data file would load so slowly that it'd be
useless. But too much compression will kill the pic.
What little I've learned can be seen on my website. A few enlargements are
still blurred, which I need to correct, but overall, I'm at least not
embarrassed anymore. Just have a good camera, a tripod and lots of light
and you 'll come up with a respectable photo. BTW: the Nikon 4300 is only
about $300. It was the best bang for the $ I could find.
"Gemcutters are Multifaceted Individuals"
Subject: fire opal carving
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2003 07:58:49 +0300
From: "birdamlasu" <email@example.com>
I have carved a flower when I was learning and I put a bird on it in my
design of a brooch. You can see the brooch in:
This was one of my favorite pieces and it's gone forever like many
Kind regards from Turkey,
Note: I want to thank many people who wrote me about my website. The
more I get mails like these the more I get encouraged to start working
and creating again.
Subject: Cutting and carving Fire Agate
Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2003 02:50:03 -0500
From: "Douglas Turet" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hi Pauly, Thurmond and all,
I'm surprised I haven't read more postings or articles on the potential
quagmires one can get into with Fire Agate, since they are bountiful, to say
the least. The best way I've found to cut it is to carve and/or contour it,
gently and slowly, using diamnond tools and plenty of water. As with most
other materials, you'll need the water to prevent heat buildup but, with
Fire Agate (and fine Opals), the water's also necessary to maintain your
laser-like focus on the depth of that elusive fire layer, as well. Unlike
Opals, whose "colorbars" can be several millimeters to a centimeter or more
thick, the sources of Fire Agate's punch are its micron-thin layers of
irridescent iron oxide crystals; these are so this that it's actually
possible to _polish_ your way through them, if you fail to leave enough of a
protective layer above them! (But if you do, fear not: it's a lesson you'll
only need to learn once, I promise you; sort of like leaning on a hot
As for how to keep this from happening, in the first place, begin by
wetting your rough down with a slightly soapy solution of warm water, and
examine it under a reasonably strong light, like a 75 watter, with the aid
of a 10x jewelers' loupe. Instead of looking down from the top, view the
stone from it's side, such that the direction of the lamp's beam is
perpendicular to both your line of sight and the primary direction of the
Agate's formation. Look carefully at the number of layers you're dealing
with, especially those through which the light seems most able to penetrate.
Make a mental note of the point at which the material becomes opaque; that
is, the point at which all light is reflected back upwards. This is your
Next, pull out a suitable marking device (either a bronze or aluminum
scribe or, in a pinch, a bottle of "Wite-Out" correction fluid) and color
all of the areas below this layer. Be sure to follow along all of the
various curviliear undulations of the Agate's growth, and mark any
high-spots upon the surface of the orbicular surface, especially those where
the fire layer protrudes from the depths to the surface, if any exist. With
the exceptions of such elevated areas, the color layers of Fire Agates tend
to follow a fairly predictable pattern, with their overall depths following
along fairly consistently from one side to another.
Now, look at the overall shape of the undulating Chalcedony mass before
you... does the shape suggest any others you've ever come across, in nature?
If so, you might want to try using that to your advantage, by carving that
object best represented by the form, from within it. (Example: does it look
like a horse's head? Where would the eyes be? The mouth? What about the
mane? ...etc., etc.) In practice, whether you're doing formative carving or
just following the curves, your goal should be to leave somewhere between
0.5 and 2.5mm of clear, colorless Agate above the fire layer, to protect and
magnify it, from above. Unless and until you've really attained a mastery of
the flex shaft (or other carving chuck), don't be too concerned with getting
into the smallest, tightest corners and crevasses of you Agate's surface,
but do make sure that you neither accidentally burn through the fire layer
nor leave many unattended scratched in or on your finished piece's clear,
glassy surface. (Doing so will stand out like a sore thumb, since it'll not
only appear on top of the stone, but also once more, in a more magnified
version, when reflected off of that precious irredescent layer. You'll know
it if this happens to a piece of yours, since it'll consistently look like
it's in need of a good dusting!
As for the actual numerical aspects of the carving process, I recommend
beginning with either 260 or 325 mesh plated or sintered tools, then moving
on to 325, 600 and then 1,200 mesh wet-or-dry papers (or resin-bond Diamond
tools) with a copious water flow, moving at between 200-600 RPM, for a
maximum "bite" of the compound and a minimized friction coefficient. I'd
then finish up with Linde 'A' on either felt or split leather, again
watching the speed and temperature levels. Unlike many other Agates, this
variety has a habit of being a bit heat sensitive, and can develop both heat
cracks and what, essentially, amounts to a 'burning' of the oxide layer, if
pushed far enough. (Since the condition of this layer's crystals determines
the degree of the light's refraction off of them, you could reasonably say
that burning them "would be a bad thing"!)
So, there you have them, the steps to successful Fire Agate cutting:
measure well, mark clearly, move slowly, look often and be patient. And
remember: bright blues, crisp yellows, reds and purples will trump all
manner of oranges, greens and browns, everytime. Enjoy!
All my best, as ever,
Douglas Turet, GJ
Lapidary Artist, Designer & Goldsmith.
P. O. Box 162
Arlington, MA 02476, U.S.A.
Tel. (617) 325-5328
Fax: (928) 222-0815
Subject: Looking to Contact Frank Locante
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2003 22:40:46 -0300
From: "robertplowejr" <email@example.com>
03 April 2003
I would like to be able to contact Frank Locante who is a
professional faceter whose last address I had was in Merritt
Island, Florida. I would like a working e-mail address or
phone number or both. Thanks in advance to any one who can
help give me contact information.
Lowe Associates - Brasil
Gemstones, Rough, Specimens
Tucson-Feb 5 - 11, 2004 - GJX Booth # 205
Subject: Jubilee project - urgent update
Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2003 11:11:50 +0100
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jeff Post has been in touch with me again with an urgent note: for those of
you who are sending stones to the Smithsonian, please try to do so by
registered mail, UPS or Fedex, so that the packages are not irradiated as
part of their anthrax screening programme. All of their regular mail is
P.S. if you have already sent your stone by regular mail, it's not the end of
the world; I believe that irradiation damage can be reversed by heating,
although obviously we want to avoid having to try this.
Note this is a repost with links to pics now.
From: Steven W. De Long [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 12:23 AM
Subject: Gemstone Photography Clinic
Here is a link to a site that has a nice tutorial on photographing jewelry.
Seems like the concepts could transfer to loose gemstones as well.
I personally use a older model Canon Elura DV Camcorder that takes stills as
well as video. It's low res (720 x 540 or so) but works ok for electronic
media. The biggest problem I have with it is focusing. The autofocus goes
haywire on small close up objects and the manual focus is a little wheel on
the back of the camera that is difficult to adjust accurately. Add in the
tiny video viewfinder and focusing is sometimes difficult.
I do better with opals than faceted stones. I've attached two photos to
Lighting is probably the most critical factor and I haven't attempted to
create a setup for that. I think if I did as well as using a tripod I could
improve my pictures substantially with the electronic camera I'm using. I
have a nice Nikon but I haven't tried taking any slides at all. I may try
that next. Just get set up and shoot an entire roll of my gemstones.
Anyway, that's my two cents.
San Diego where the Padres lost their fifth opening game in a row
RESOURCES FOR LAPIDARIES:
PERSONALS: (General Lapidary and Faceting)
Lurking is fine, but participation is better for learning !
Post something from your experiences in gemcutting today!
TODAY'S FUNNY ~
This fellow is looking to buy a saw to cut down some trees
in his back yard. He goes to a chainsaw shop and asks about
various chainsaws. The dealer tells him, "Look, I have a lot
of models, but why don't you save yourself a lot of time and
aggravation and get the top-of-the-line model. This chainsaw
will cut a hundred cords of wood for you in one day."
So, the man takes the chainsaw home and begins working
on the trees. After cutting for several hours and only cutting
two cords, he decides to quit. He thinks there is something
wrong with the chainsaw. "How can I cut for hours and only
cut two cords?" the man asks himself. "I will begin first thing
in the morning and cut all day," the man tells himself. So, the
next morning the man gets up at 4 am in the morning and cuts
and cuts, and cuts till nightfall, and still he only manages to cut
The man is convinced this is a bad saw. "The dealer told me it
would cut one hundred cords of wood in a day, no problem. I
will take this saw back to the dealer," the man says to himself.
The very next day the man brings the saw back to the dealer
and explains the problem. The dealer, baffled by the man's
claim, removes the chainsaw from the case. The dealer says,
"Hmm, it looks fine."
Then the dealer starts the chainsaw, to which the man responds,
"What's that noise?
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LIST and WEBSITE INFO~
LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
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