Lapidary thread

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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 17 Sep 2016, 05:28

A piece like 100mm x 100mm might be a candidate for carving.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 17 Sep 2016, 05:43

Yeah, reckon that might be the go. Ok, off to the quarry I go :jump catch you lkater
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 17 Sep 2016, 05:49

Good luck!
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 18 Sep 2016, 05:54

Picked up about 40 pounds of the material and dragged it half a mile through the bush back to the car. I cabbed another piece yesterday arvo, it's not exactly mind-blowing as far as agate goes but it continues to look surprisingly more pleasing when finished than the rough stone looks.

The stuff is found all over the sand quarry site (a couple of km long) but I've noticed that it seems to get better looking toward the far end. Where the quarries lease ends there is a fence and a cattle property begins and a little hill with a very suspicious volcanic cone shape is visible - might be some really good stuff hiding there somewhere.

Anyway, I won't run out of cabbing material any time soon!
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 18 Sep 2016, 08:03

40lbs! Plenty work there and should be easy to sell.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 21 Sep 2016, 07:50

Haven't liked any as much as the first piece - the deeper oranges just look rusty brown. I think the yellow and bright orange bits will be the go.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 24 Sep 2016, 08:47

Gotta get my bum into gear and finish this workshop while I'm on holiday. Greg is getting into carving and is going to use it some days while Tara minds the shop front - not much room in his tiny workshop.

Better yet - he's bringing out three pieces of equipment he doesn't have room for or doesn't use much any more. A full sized rock slabbing saw, a silver/gold casting centrifuge and a burnout kiln. With those items added to what I have already, this will be a fully-kitted out lapidary workshop, capable of turning any bit of rough stone into practically any kind of finished jewellery piece :jump

I must get the water connected, get the sink and cabbing machine plumbed and get heavy security bars on the windows before everything finally goes in place.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 24 Sep 2016, 08:51

Oh wow, will be a great little workshop! Don’t forget the beer fridge!
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 25 Sep 2016, 07:21

Don’t forget the beer fridge!


Already arranged :bgrin Dad has two fridges on his veranda, the small beer-fridge sized one is coming to the workshop since he doesn't need two on the veranda as well as the one in the kitchen.

Nice of him to donate the fridge - be even nicer if he stocked it before bringing it :bgrin But not with pseudo-beer alcopops like Great Northern! That stuff (1)is not actual beer, (2)does not taste like actual beer, (3)gives me a headache anyway.


Installed the water drain for the cabbing machine. Hole-sawed through the floor under the bench, put in a 65mm diameter poly pipe with a removable cap. Smaller hole sawed through that and pushed the twin drain hoses of the cabbing machine through, sealed around edges of hole in floor (was a pretty good fit anyway). Didn't install the usual j-shaped water trap that you see underneath your kitchen sink. The water trap stops smells from the drain and deters creepy-crawlies since they would have to hold their breath and go diving but the hoses that take the waste water away from the cabbing machine tapers down to the size of a pencil, so no significant sized snakes can come up anyway. The main reason for no water trap was that the waste water from the cabbing machine is more like stone soup than water - it's a slurry. Experience with kids at work putting sand and dirt down sinks tells me what will happen if I put in a water trap. The removable cap will allow me to easily evict any frogs that take up residence :yellow

The sink will have a water trap though, for the forementioned reasons.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 25 Sep 2016, 08:27

Yeah, stone soup, yum! A Jtrap would fill in no time!
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 04 Oct 2016, 05:27

Might have some rough jade soon—reckon you could facet or cab it? What to look for when buying rough?
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 05 Oct 2016, 05:37

Hmm - jade - no experience there so don't really know what to look for. Will have to get back to you on that one. According to gemologist who runs the GO forum, almost all jade is treated today, colour enhancing dye and polymer injections to stabalize it.

Sounds like a challenge but I'm up for it! :jump
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 05 Oct 2016, 07:27

OK.

Guy I will buy the jade from also sells opal: he has some model trucks with a “load” of opal “boulders” in it. Reckon I will get one of those, bit of a twist on model cars :jump
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 07 Oct 2016, 06:02

From a bloke I talk to about rocks...

Nephrite is a lot easier to get than jadeite, mostly because it's found way more places. Gem-quality jadeite is largely sourced from Burma, with some production from Guatemala (omphacite counts) and California, and probably a few other places. Nephrite is all over the place in varying quantities and qualities. That said, top grade nephrite is still expensive--it was the original jade used by the Chinese until the early 1800s or so, and as such is strongly associated with historic artifacts there. Rich, highly attractive colors are always going to be expensive, as are very white stones, stones with high translucency or the yellowish-white 'mutton fat' variety. But if you want darker mottled green, black, or some of the blended 'chicken jades' it's pretty trivial to get at a bargain. Even if it's not "ye fine gemme"-type stuff with a solid color and translucency they can still yield very attractive cabochons. This is one that was cut for us from a piece my dad found in Wyoming:

Cutting it is apparently a bit of a pain, though. My ring saw will go through it, but very slowly. I haven't cabbed any myself, but it is slow going and undercutting/orange peel can be an issue. I have heard it advised by a few cutters that it needs to get hot during the polishing to really get a good gloss. Maybe that's just a bit of mythologizing though.

That said, not all jadeite is super expensive either. I have some small off-cuts I got at Tucson this year (pre-embargo, allegedly) which are white with a bit of green and ran me a couple bucks a pop.



See how you go getting hold of some. Nephrite jade should probably not be hard to get hold of at a decent price. If they are selling something at a high price as jadeite jade, ask a few questions. Seems like it comes mainly from Burma and there is an embargo against Burmese gem exports.

I questioned the fibrous, asbestos-like structure of nephrite jade regarding potential health risks - apparently they are negligible. Unlike asbestos in which the fibres separate very easily and drift about on the air, the fibres of nephrite jade are so interlocked that it is practically impossible to separate them into individual tiny airborne bits - this accounts for the remarkable toughness shown by the material.

Send er up and I'll see how I go! :jump
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 07 Oct 2016, 06:19

Yup, will talk to him Sat week.

He also has chrysoprase and opal that he has dug himself.

Fuck! Some idiot kids in a stolen car have collided with three cars on the exit ramp of the Southern Expressway so South Rd, the busiest road here, blocked off for a kilometre. Two drivers badly injured and one is dead. The youths are in custody. Fucking chaos on all the roads around that bit of South Rd.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 07 Oct 2016, 08:07

Chrysoprase is a nice material to work with (as long as it doesn't have too many pits in it). Dad's neighbour gave me a piece a few weeks back that I made a nice cab out of.



Some idiot kids in a stolen car have collided with three cars on the exit ramp of the Southern Expressway so South Rd, the busiest road here, blocked off for a kilometre. Two drivers badly injured and one is dead. The youths are in custody.


Why are young blokes so stupid? :sad
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 07 Oct 2016, 08:38

They need an initiation into manhood. Guy Fawkes night was one such, allowed to light more and more crackers as got older, then could buy firecrackers. Namby pambys closed that down. Lift drinking age to 21 maybe, liquor makes so much behavior so much worse.

An ambulance was threaded to the site of the accident just minutes ago, guess some other poor sod is hurt.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 11 Oct 2016, 05:06

Card reader appears to be cactus so you'll have to take my word for it :bgrin - virtually flawless Rubyvale yellow sapphire, finished at 6.2 carats in a rectangular cardinal cut. Tis worth some significant sum, too bad it doesn't belong to me. Will still make some $$$ out of cutting it for the person.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 11 Oct 2016, 06:30

Yup, charge at least close to commercial rates—it takes a lot of time and expendables to cut a stone!

Think it may be time to get that last big sapphire of mine cut and a set of jewels made: earrings from the two tiny stones, a brooch or pendant and a ring then sell it. Probably do that early next year, the money will come in handy for that other project. So will get you to cut that last sapphire and hold it and I will send the other stones later to be set in silver etc.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 12 Oct 2016, 05:48

Oarsum - I'm up for it! :jump

Yeah, definitely some time involved in cutting a super-hard rock like sapphire. Regular-size ones don't take that much longer but really huge ones certainly do and with their extreme hardeness, the big ones inflict some wear and tear on laps as well. That yellow just well and truly broke in my new #600 lap, not that it was one of the really expensive types but it would have taken a bunch of amethysts and smokeys to inflict the same amount of wear as this one stone did.

Currently doing a good-sized piece of ametrine (pale colour, looks natural rather than enhanced) for dad in this design....Cleopatra's eye.

Image

Here it is cut in cubic zirconia (this is a photo of someone else's stone, I haven't cut this design before). Apparently based on an original design inspired by huge jewels embedded in the eye sockets of some ancient idol.

Image
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 12 Oct 2016, 07:25

That looks oarsome! Must find a big piece of amethyst or something and get you to cut it in that pattern, give it to Mum as a simple pendant than I will put it in a small display of jewelry: lapis lazuli and other semi precious stuff and a silver brooch Mum gave me that she wore during the war as a gesture of defiance: it is the Dutch coat of arms.

Any money I can spare for Ebay I might buy a few more stones: easy to pack and move!
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 13 Oct 2016, 20:20

Burra, part of “Little Cornwall” here in SA. A copper mine paying 200% dividends EVERY QUARTER!

Bought a piece of malachite. Might be nice to have it cut in half and the new faces polished.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 14 Oct 2016, 05:14

Malachite can be beautiful stuff. A bit on the soft side for jewellery work but looks great as a cab, polished slab or carving in a display case. Do wash your hands after handling it, you don't want to absorb copper. The risk from just handling is probably negligible, wise to take some precautions if working with it and shaping it though. A Gemmo told me she copped a dose of copper poisoning from working with malachite years ago, cabbing a number of pieces in a row, didn't wash hands before eating - started to notice a metallic taste in the mouth then really crook for about a week.

Man, that Cleo's eye is taking an agonizingly long time - really big stone is the main reason, not so much the design.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby HBS Guy » 14 Oct 2016, 06:31

Yeah, that design did look complicated and a lot of work. Be a great display piece once done tho.

I was thinking just cut through it and polish it, just want it as a display piece, love how malachite looks.
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Re: Lapidary thread

Postby Lefty » 18 Oct 2016, 05:33

Cutting another sapphire for one of Greg's customers. I have put dad's Eye of Cleo ametrine aside for the moment to concentrate on these few stones.

From one extreme to the other, the ametrine was taking forever because it is one of the largest stones I have cut, this thing is probably about the smallest I have ever done - it is tiny! Only a few mm across, if it wasn't a sapphire you'd say why bother? Surprisingly, it still takes a while to cut something so small because it's fiddly.
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