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This list digest contains the following message subjects:
1. LapDigest News for Issue No. 199 - Sun 1/30/99
2. NEW: Hollowing Out Cabochons
3. NEW: Problem With a Slabbing Saw
4. NEW: Coloring Agates
5. Re: Backing of Gemstones for Setting
6. RE: SHOW- Need Information on Tucson Show
7. RE: Electroforming Gems and Stones
8. RE: Ivory Flakes for Tumbling
9. Re: Beginners- Schools for Learning Lapidary Arts
10. RE: Surface Tension
11. BIO: Floyd & Bev Berg
12. BIO: Michelle Watkins
13. BIO: Martina Hendrix & Fred Scharninghausen
14. FS: Online Rock, Mineral, Gems & Jewelry Auction
15. SHOW: See you at Quartzsite!
16. AD: VROCK
17. SHOW: See Us in Tucson
Subject: LapDigest News for Issue No. 199 - Sun 1/30/99
NEWS: PLEASE READ THIS
There are two NEW pages up on the Lapidary Digest website,
and both are pages of links; the first has either links to
websites or addresses of every lapidary equipment maker we
could find. The other page is the Member's Websites links.
Both of these are accessed from the home page of
Those of you who have a web page and who want it included
in the Member's Links Page, please send me your name, your
URL, and a short (7 or 8 lines) paragraph describing the
contents of the webpages.
The equipment manufacturers links page was originated by JR
Schroeder, who is hosting this page. We all owe JR a round of
applause for doing this page. THANKS, JR!! I added some
information, such as who carries spare parts for equipment
whose manufacturers are no longer in business. I hope all of
you will use and enjoy this page, and add to it when you
find a manufacturer who is not represented.
The other big news is that we have a file in the Archives
which contains every item in every issue published to date.
The software and the computing to produce this file after
every issue is due to George Butts, to whom we are very
appreciative and who also deserves a big round of applause!
THANK YOU, GEORGE!!! The file is named Thread198.txt. In
it, each item is organized by the thread it is in. It is
current through Issue 198. I have deleted WTBs, FSs, BIOs,
SHOWS, and other items which are time oriented. Try it
- you will like everything about this file except the time
it takes to upload and download - it is a large one: 136kb!
It took 25 seconds to download into my computer.
To get it, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with
the words: GET THREAD198.TXT on the subject line of the
There is a BIO below for Bob Berg, who developed a web page
at age 84. Anyone older with a web page? Anyone on the list
older? If so, write! And lets hear from the youngest, who
I suspect is Laura H., who is 9 years old ... and she owes
us a BIO!!! (and I owe her a letter) If you are younger
than that, write and tell us so!
My time will now be spent putting together the next show,
which will be the Jade Carvings of John Burgess and which
is a month overdue!!
Lila Trudel - please write me a note.
Everyone else - You will have fun!! Or else!!! That is an
Subject: NEW: Hollowing Out Cabochons
Walter Schumann ("Gemstones of the World", p 64) describes
the cabochon cut as:
"The upper part is domed and the lower part level, or
slightly domed. With dark stones the lower part is often
hollowed out in order to lighten the color."
Hollowed out? Never heard of this, but it would make a lot
of sense in some materials which were translucent in thin
sections - particularly if it were set so that the back was
open and light could come through.
If the stone is not translucent nor transparent, it would
not seem that hollowing them out would lighten the color,
but I could be wrong. (Perish the thought!!!)
Anyone with any ideas on this? Which stones? How to hollow
them out? Have you seen this done? How did it work?
Subject: NEW: Problem With a Slabbing Saw
I'm having problems with my rock saw. (24" blade). It was
made by a machinist so is one of a kind and well made.
I got it 5 months ago and it ran great. Two months ago it
started to have problems. It would stop in the middle of a
rock and not cut any further. I made sure the blade was on
tight and at the correct angles but it did not help. Because
the blade was old and had a slight wobble to it, I thought a
new blade would solve my problem. It didn't. It still will
stop in the middle of a cut.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Subject: NEW: Coloring Agates
Hi Hale (I like the Digest!) and members of the Digest.
I did some reading in the archives and I saw something about
coloring. This is, like most of the subscribers, not my
intention to encourage this. I do like the natural colors!
What I like to share with you is that when an agate isn't
that bright or the 'picture' isn't sharp enough one can
enhance the color and brightness a bit by vegetable oil.
How? When you (or your wife) is baking a cake in the oven
(80 degC or 170 degF), put an agate in a metal or ceramic
pan filled with vegetable oil and let it become warm as
long as the cake is in the oven. The oil will be absorbed
into the stone and the colors will be brighter. Leave it in
the oven till it has a normal temperature again (be careful
with the hot oil; it'll burn your skin!)
Of course not every type of agate is suitable. I think that
agates that are able to let light shine through are suitable
for this treatment. I did this with some Idar-Oberstein
agates and it worked; I think that Brazilian - and some
Mexican agates can also be treated this way with success.
Has anyone experience with this?? Let me/us know.
Robert M.B. de Jager,
(from the northern flat part of the Netherlands.)
Subject: Re: Backing of Gemstones for Setting
The discussion of applying a backing to gemstone cabochons,
to aid in setting, and cushioning a stone for jewelry needs
to have another 2 cents worth. Here's mine:
I've used pencil shavings, and regular softwood sawdust for
years, and while assisting in teaching silversmithing at
Wildacres last fall, I learned a valuable fact. If you
use sawdust, pencil shavings, cardboard, or any other porous
materials for a filler in the bezel cup, invariably moisture
will penetrate into the space. When this occurs, the
material will swell, and force the stone upward, and force
the bezel away from where it formerly rested against the
stone. Then the material will dry, and the stone will be
loose in the cup. This loose stone will be more likely to
fall out or become wedged for a potential breakage from
The other ramification from using porous material is that
softer gemstones can sometimes be porous, too. This
addition of moisture can cause discoloration, and even
stress cracking from the inward and outward moisture
One cheap, and readily available material for filling bezel
cups is plastic sheeting. Try the lids of cottage cheese
containers, or even soft drink bottles. Recycle!!
M.G. Designs - Custom Handmade Jewelry, and Gemstones.
Subject: RE: SHOW: Need Information on Tucson Show
We have found the best shows to be the Congress St. show and
those along the I-10 freeway in the motels. Park at Congress
St. and walk or take the shuttle bus (free). If you are a
retailer bring your tax number and go to the Holiday Inn
Holidome on Palo Verde.
If you want equipment at great prices, (example: Diamond
Pacific Genie-$1015) call us locally at 889-9853, or toll
free at 800-416-4348, and we will arrange pick up from
many of the manufacturers who are here and whom we
represent. Or we can arrange shipping back to your home.
The Rock Peddler
5561 S Stockwell Rd Tucson AZ 85746
Subject: RE: Electroforming Gems and Stones
(formerly RE: Saleability of Opals with Imperfections)
Tony Lowe said:
<<I have found little difficulty electroforming opal.>>
Andrew Werby then asked:
<<From what I've heard, it is possible to do it using gold
and silver anodes and solutions, but that one needed to
control the process with a computer, and it was tricky and
expensive to do. So I for one would like to hear some more
about the process as you go about it>>
I am not sure about Electroforming with Gold and the need
for a computer, I've never done Gold electroforming, but you
don't need a computer for electroforming with Silver. You do
however need to use a "Fine Silver" Electrode, mechanical
vibration to keep a contact, and watch it more closely than
Most Silver plating compounds are a Cyanide solution do not
mix them with an acid solution, such as most Copper
You do not have to use cyanide solutions for silver plating;
get a copy of issue 115 (GET DIGEST115.TXT) for a discussion
of non-cyanide electroplating and electroforming. hale
Subject: RE: Ivory Flakes for Tumbling
Hi, Yes I have shaved many a bar of Ivory for tumbling rock.
It works well and it cost a heck of a lot less.
I add about 1/2 cup to a 3 pound load. This is much more
than what is recommended by Lortone, but I tumble fire agate
and I have found that lots of Ivory shavings and table sugar
prevent chipping. I get great results! Note: You must
monitor and adjust the amount of froth to prevent the lid
from blowing off and if the level is too high you won't get
good tumbling action.
Hope this helps.
I would appreciate if all of you would sign your letters
with your first and last name. We are not out in the jungle
here, but in a much more friendly and safe society. hale
Subject: Re: Beginners: Schools for Learning Lapidary Arts
Did I miss something? Has this really happened? It seems
you've let the name of the Wildacres Retreat slip without a
To any person living in the eastern part of the US, here's
a tip: Join a local gem & mineral club which is affiliated
with either the Southeast or the Eastern Federations, and
you instantly become an elite country club member. That
country club is WILDACRES. Fred Sias has photographs
nestled into his array of webpages showing the beauty of
this Blue Ridge Mountain facility. It serves as a nonprofit
retreat for the lapidary and jewelry arts for several weeks
each year (as well as serving religious, scientific, and
humanitarian groups). Your club should have information for
this retreat, which can handle near 100 students per
session, to learn and study lapidary, faceting, filigree,
silversmithing, beadwork, wire wrapping, intarsia, soapstone
(They also accept applications from anyone in a club
associated with AFMS - see added note at the bottom)
The fees and curriculum vary between the two Federations,
and prior application is required. But the setting and the
facilities are superb. At Wildacres, you have hotel quality
accommodations, 3 great meals a day, beautiful scenery (as
you are very near the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC), and great
camaraderie and socialization with people of like interests.
I may sound like a preacher, but that's because I've taught
there for 3 sessions, and have had a wonderful learning and
sharing experience. I have learned how to become a better
teacher (I hope), and have gained an appreciation for an
almost forgotten time when I was just starting to inquire
into these crafts. I had forgotten how long it took to make
that first piece of jewelry, or how long that first cabachon
was on the stick before it became a potential jewelry
By all means, check this facility out, and drive up to the
clouds and have fun with your fellow rock cutters.
M.G. Designs - Custom Handmade Jewelry, and Gemstones.
Look at the SFMS Wildacres program website at URL=
and at the EFMLS website at URL=
for further information. Particularly in the SFMS, if a
session is not filled, they will accept anyone from any
club in the AFMS. Also see the Wldacres site at URL=
for info about the facilities. hale
Subject: RE: Surface Tension
Leo Doucet mentions a product described as "Kodak wetting
agent", which may be purchased in small bottles.
He is almost surely referring to Kodak Photo-flo, which is
a detergent-like agent specially formulated for (using
ingredients that do not have or leave things behind that
will harm the pictures) and used in photography for the
purpose Leo mentions. So you don't end up with water spots
on the film.
I believe that just about any detergent (try your liquid
dishwashing detergent) should satisfactorily serve the
same purpose, and is a lot cheaper.
Margaret Malm (retired Kodak)
Subject: BIO: Floyd & Bev Berg
Hi Hale: Bev and I (Bob) have been rock hounds for about
50 years. That means we can remember Horse canyon and the 21
trips across cache creek. Those were the days when all the
hills had cutting rock. Too much of it is now in the boxes
in our back yards. We could trade it or give it away to
those in need and have a prettier yard. Ours is in a stream
bed that we concocted out of polishing rock and leaverite
(that is where you find it).
We also have a web page at www.inland.net/~rockyb/. It has
some information about rocks and some of how to be happy,
and a bit about how to get rich with an idea. Rock
polishing ideas also as long as you can get a patent on it.
I have four patents, only one paid me anything but that
isn't too bad. Read about it on the page.
Anyway keep up the good work and maybe you can connect with
a rock federation like the California Federation of
Mineralogical Societies. They have a page at
www.cfmsinc.org Give it a try.
Floyd "Bob" "Rockyb" Berg
Subject: BIO: Michelle Watkins
My name is Michelle Watkins. I am just starting out with
lapidary. My grandmother, Alice Gagnon, got me interested
and when she passed away in September of 1997, I inherited
all of her lapidary equipment as well as the gems, minerals
and fossils. She had cut, shaped and polished several cabs
that I am looking for Sterling Silver settings for them.
I want to mount all of them to have them next to me.
My grandmother caught my interest as a child with the fossil
end of being a rock hound. It was always fun to go to her
house because she would let you go through her rocks and use
the books she had to identify what they were.
My grandfather, Warren O. Gagnon loved to use the slab saws
and to shape the cabs. He would use the trimmings in the
tumbler. They were members of the Gem and Mineral club in
Anyway, this how I got into the lapidary. Presently I have
a trim saw, sander and grinders, Dremel flexible shaft for
small hand polishing and sanding, currently making a slab
saw. I have 3 flex wheel polishers, lapidary jewelry tools,
jewelry and cab stencils. I have a lot of other small odds
and ends that I haven't even identified yet.
I have old pictures of the Jax Gem and Mineral clubs shows
that were publicized in the papers and my grandmother on the
front page. I would like to learn as much as I can because
I want to pass on the same things that my grandmother passed
on to me. I am 35 years old and have a daughter, 14, that
already loves the rocks.
Thank you for your time and the digest.
Michelle K. Watkins.
Subject: BIO: Martina Hendrix & Fred Scharninghausen
Hi everybody, we are true beginners to this.
I have been interested in minerals for a while but never
collected til I moved from Northern Germany to Germany's
agate State (Rheinland-Pfalz). In 1996, I started collecting
and in the beginning, Fred just went with me.
Fred's interest in minerals started when we were in the
middle of the woods in Idar-Oberstein and nature called...
Well he discovered (If you want to call it this, :)) a very
beautiful blue agate and has been a true rockhound since.
We started cutting with a modified tile cutter but have
advanced since to a real cutter. By now we have a very
pretty collection of agates from the Nack area to include
scolicites in almost every color and shape.
I hope my English wasn't all that bad.
Subject: FS: Online Rock, Mineral, Gems & Jewelry Auction
Gemstone rough, Jewelry, Gems, Rocks and Minerals
to be auctioned off at online Auction
Tell your Friends.
Online Rock, Mineral, Gems, and Jewelry Auction.
Subject: SHOW: See you at Quartzsite!
Nothing like last minute arrangements! But vacation's
approved and I've got Booth 311 at the Pow Wow for Feb. 3-7.
Hope some of you can drop by and say hello!
I'll be looking for Dixie, anyone else going to be there?
Carol J. Bova
Subject: AD: VROCK
Wholesale-Import-Export Gems, Jewelry, gifts, etc., Rock,
Mineral, Fossils, Lapidary oriented gifts for Gift shops,
Museums, Parks, Boutiques and more.
Must have Business and Tax ID's to obtain prices.
Subject: SHOW: See Us in Tucson
Come to the Sheraton 4 Points while in Tucson. We will have
lapped rough, crystal caps, and basalt as well as finished
opal and jewelry. We are the owners of one of the opal
mines in Spencer, Idaho and look forward to seeing some of
the Lapidary Digest members.
Bob & Susan Thompson
Idaho Opal Mines, Inc.
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