This list digest contains the following message subjects:
1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 181 - Mon. 11/30/98
2. REVIEW: Lapidary Journal for December 1998
3. RE: Tumble Polishing Obsidian
4. RE: Tumble Polishing Obsidian
5. Re: Tumble Polishing Obsidian
6. NEW: Need Information o Production Machines
7. Re: Polishing Jade
8. Re: Polishing Jade
9. BIO: Charles G Heick
Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 181 - Mon. 11/30/98
I am pleased to present the first monthly review of the
Lapidary Journal by JR Schroeder.
We now have three reviewers, and need a backup for LapJour,
for those times when JR is away (maybe out of the country
to Australia buying for his business! Lucky Dog!!) The
backup person should not have to do more than one or two
issues per year.
Steve Henegar is the reviewer for Rock & Gem, and Wally
Baxendale is the Rock & Gem backup reviewer.
These reviews of Lapidary Journal and Rock & Gem will be a
regular feature from now on. It was suggested by a member
that it would be nice if members who saw other lapidary
articles or special lapidary exhibits would write up reviews
and send them in. Please do.
Thank you, JR, for doing this. I know we all appreciate it
and look forward to your reviews.
Everyone is invited to see a showing of the lapidary works
of Roger Pabian, at www.lapidarydigest.com. Go to Lapidary
Show Gallery, and click on 'Roger Pabian'. We all know of
his expertise in agates; I know you will enjoy his original
designs and executions.
As of the 29th November, these were 5918 hits on the website
since November 1. WOW!!!!
It is warm and sunny in NC, and the days are glorious! Wish
I were back outside!! Hope you all have a few beautiful
days before Winter sets in, and, for goodness sakes, be sure
to have FUN!!!
Subject: REVIEW: Lapidary Journal for December 1998
(These reviews focus on items relating to
A Light Touch (Page 32)
Andy Oriel interviews Deborah Hamm about her unique
ability to combine both rough and finished stones in her
creations. Sometimes she will use a rough and finished stone
of the same type as shown on page 35. She uses a rough,
tumbled, and faceted garnet in her Heart Mountain brooch.
Other times she uses contrasting stones. On page 33 she
combines a rough river pebble and a spinel. Namms work can
provide ideas on how to use stones in lapidary work that we
may never have considered.
Shades of Smoky (Page 44)
Si & Ann Frazier have an extensive article on Smoky Quartz.
There is great detail on Cairngorm, as it comes from the
Cairngorm Mountains in central Scotland. The article talks
about the differences between smoky topaz and smoky quartz.
It also does a good job of explaining what causes the color
of smoky quartz. This is of great benefit for anyone working
with this material as it is not very stable and the color
could fade with even a modest amount of heat buildup during
cutting or polishing. Another interesting fact is how smoky
quartz can be baked inside a loaf of bread to heat treat it
from brown to deep yellow(citrine). This is a risky attempt
though as it may need to be baked three or four times and
you run the risk of the stone exploding during each baking.
Order of Excellence (Page 64)
June Culp Zeitner covers five new members of the National
Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame. The five new members
are Allen Graffham, Maren Hirsch, Glenn and Dorthy Lee,
Edward Soukup, and Antonio Bonanno. There is a nice article
on each one of the new members.
Almost Heaven (Page 69)
Maryann Hamer describes a place that for rockhounds is
almost Heaven. That place is Cowee Valley in North
Carolina. This area has a large amount of gem mines, one
of which is the Rose Creek mine operated by Gus and Connie
Martinez. For those who dont know, anyone can stop buy
the mine and buy a bucket of gravel and then work it in
the provided flume. This type of mine offers a unique
opportunity for those interested in lapidary to find a
rough ruby or garnet and then take it back to the shop
and create something wonderful.
Pine Tree Intarsia (Page 79)
Tom Benham provides this advanced project that is spelled
out in great step by step detail. Material used in this
project includes white opal, lapis lazuli, red opal, brown
Louisiana opal, green opal, black jade, and Sugilite.
(Hale's note: Tom is and has been for a member of this list
for a long time; he teaches at Wildacres and is quite a
good teacher, and a great lapidary.)
J & J Jewelry
Subject: RE: Tumble Polishing Obsidian
I, too, have never had luck tumble polishing obsidian.
I finally got a vibrating polisher and found that, on the
lowest setting possible (while still getting the proper
swirling action of the stones), I could get a reasonable
near-polish. I used 1200 grit as a prepolish and 50,000
grit diamond impregnated walnut shell as a polish. This
did not get a satisfactory high polish, but it was close,
and had no scratches. It was a simple matter of a quick
polish (and I mean quick!) on my flat lap polish pad at
100,000 grit diamond to get a beautiful high polish.
I would welcome any better suggestions, but till then, this
works for me.
Subject: RE: Tumble Polishing Obsidian
Am a devoted lover of obsidian, have dug some from Glass
Butte in Oregon and at Davis Creek Ca. I can tumble
needles, and pieces great, even some cabs, but am having
really tough luck polishing flats, I have a vibratory
tumbler, and it does not do as well as my old Lortone
rotary, but I gave that one away.
I have talked to a lot of people about obsidian, and am
learning more every day. I tried to polish some of a flat
polisher, and could not come up with a nice polish, found
out I was using too much pressure, it is a soft material,
and I was really using a heavy hand. Now I am going to go
back and see if a 'light' touch will help.
When I tumble I get to cerium, after that I go to Ivory
snow (flakes worked better, but they don't make that
anymore) sometimes I add lots of sugar to the mixture,
and someone told me (after I had been using ceramic tiles
for quite awhile) that the plastic pellets were better,
they said the tiles scratched the polish, who knows maybe
they did, I know I had scratches on the stones, but
thought they had scratched each other in the tumbling
process. I have no tried and positive method I just try
anything that works.
I have some needles and smaller pieces that are the
absolute beauty of mahogany obsidian. Some of my gold
and silver is nice, and I wouldn't touch Mexican at all,
Anyone know what I can do to get the polish on those
flat pieces short of buying a flat lap, let me know.
Subject: Re: Tumble Polishing Obsidian
To tumble-polish Obsidian, do not use Cerium Oxide or Tin
Oxide; these, being acidic, react with the obsidian, which
is alkaline, and the best you can usually expect is a soft
matte finish. (I can and have gotten good results with Tin
Oxide using a very thick Tide (R) slurry, but that is
because the TIDE is SO alkaline, it overcomes the weak
acidity of the Tin Oxide. Don't rely on it; it takes a
My best success has been with Raybrite (R), which is
Aluminum Oxide, Octagon Process (R) liquid detergent,
smashed Walnut shells, screened thru 1/8" mesh, and only
enough water so that the whole mass will move. (I use a
teaspoon!) Put it on and forget it for a week. (Unless
you're using vibratory tumbler, which I don't recommend
because Obsidian spalls like crazy unless you're using so
much carrier that there is no chance for obsidian to strike
obsidian) Open it up and look.
Here is the trick that very few people know. OBSIDIAN,
ONCE POLISHED, UNPOLISHES READILY! So, once it has almost
polished, look at it every hour or so until it has reached
the shine you want. Turn it off at night. I know; that's
a sin you're not supposed to commit, but if it's polished
at hour 3, it would probably be unpolished by hour 8!
It's mighty persnickety stuff, but the results are worth
the extra care. Oh - and pellets are a poor choice for
carrier on obsidian; walnut shells or rice hulls work much
better. Leather punchings are good, too.
Subject: NEW: Need Information o Production Machines
I have a customer who wants to add a lapidary stone cutting
section to his existing jewelry workshop. His requirements
are as follows:
1- Cutting rough stones of similar hardness to turquoise
into flat and cabochon.
2- Cutting rough stones (malachite and some other harder
rock quality stones) into same shape as above.
3- Cutting rough stones into beads.
4- Drilling holes into polished stones to make pendants (he
might need to drill holes in beads all the way through).
5- The production capacity cabochon shaped stones is about
500-1000 stones per month.
I would appreciate it if anyone can tell me what machines
and consumables are needed to fulfill their requirements
and where is the best place to be able to obtain them.
Subject: Re: Polishing Jade
Hi Folks -
I'm afraid I myself have had very little success polishing
jade by the method Don Campbell recommends, sanding to
1,200 and then polishing lightly on leather with Linde A.
Now, that may well be due to the jade itself that I have
(various pieces of British Columbia nephrite) and not to the
technique. Perhaps it works for some jades and not for
others, or for some people and not for others.
In any case, for me, the one consistent result, is that if I
go to leather, and leather with _anything_!! (cerium oxide,
chromium oxide, tin oxide, Linde A, diamond, it doesn't
matter) I can almost instantly UN-polish the stone.
So I'd be really curious to hear how the person in the
Houston Lap Club who posted the original request for help
Subject: Re: Polishing Jade
For cabbing nephrite jade, which does have this nasty
tendency to orange peel, I agree with everything the man
said up thru prepolish. (Except that the old Carborundum
wheels also do a great job.)
There are two methods of polishing that I can recommend;
one does a super job, but takes a long time. Simply put
the cabs in your pocket along with your keys, change,
whatever; look at them every few days until you have the
polish you want; "Pocket Polishing" can be gorgeous!
The other method is for long evenings while you're watching
TV. DOP your stone, put a little Linde A into the palm of
your hand, spit on it, and start twirling the cab in it.
Occasionally spit on it again. Wash it off during
commercials. You can get two or three cabs out in an
evening. This method is one I also use for Opals.
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 10:45:00 -0500
Subject: BIO: Charles G Heick
Hi List Members,
My name is Charles Heick and I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I do not presently
have any lapidary equipment nor have I ever attempted doing it. Lapidary
an area I have recently become interested in and hope to try my hand at
in the near future. What better place is there to learn and get advice!
I am a student of GIA's distance education working toward my Graduate
Gemologist diploma. Having started in June of this year I have a long
to go. Last week I returned from eight days of training in stone setting,
casting and jewelry repair at Conner's Jewelry Institute in Georgetown,
Kentucky. I've always been interested in mineralogy and geology and have
collected specimens for many years. I'm not working full time in the
jewelry business, but I have just started my own part time jewelry business
at home. Called Charles Joseph Jewelers, it is limited to stone setting
the selling of diamonds and precious gems. I do little business and with
full time job and my studies want to keep it that way, at least for the
present time. In the near future I'm wanting to try my hand at just about
every area of the jewelry business. For now, I'm looking for all the
information I can get my hands on to prepare for my new career.
Charles G Heick
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