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Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Yes! Gem thread is back!

I'll have to organize some things and post some pictures when I get a chance.

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Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Bhurak posted:

I've been looking at picking up a couple boules of synthetic Ruby to try and make something out of. What should I watch out for? I do a lot of metal work so files and such aren't that foreign to me. Obviously a regular steel file won't do the job but what is the basic tooling I need to make a thing?

You're going to need diamond coated tools afaik. Diamond saws, dremel (or handpiece) tools that are diamond coated/sintered.

Most of the stones I cut are sapphires and everything from cutting the stone down to polishing is with some form of diamond.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Joshua was beside himself when he posted those, it was obvious how much they meant to him.

And if they mean that much to someone like him, they're very, very rare haha. His spinel collection is nuuuts.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Xun posted:

Does anyone here use diasticks from gearloose with a water? How much water do you use and do you keep the water dripping while you cut? I don't think I like using an oil based extender and want to try something new.

I've used his cutting grits (325 and 600) with water. I found they washed off quite easily but that might just be the cutting grits? Seemed like too much of a contamination risk in the end.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




large hands posted:

There are places in the gemfields in central Queensland where you can pay to dig up a wheel barrow of dirt from the alluvial deposits and run it through a sluice looking for sapphire.

It's mostly a tourist thing and I'm pretty sure they toss lots of little rough sapphire chips into the sluice before you get there so everyone gets some little souvenirs. They were not expecting me to find that one and were pissed when I didn't take them up on their offer of $500 to sell it to them. Not sure of the worth of the sapphire but the ring is appraised for $10k Canadian. It's a platinum setting with 2x.33 carat colourless pear diamonds I bought loose.

Hahaha holy poo poo you found that in a dirt bucket.

Good on you, I currently have a aussi sapphire I cut (it's a parti though) that's about 2.7ct in the store I work for at $3000/ct CAD. If I was selling it loose and not through a retailer it wouldn't be quite as much but still...you made out like a bandit.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




large hands posted:

I know right? I spent the rest of that trip with my eyes glued to the ground expecting to trip over gems. I can see how people get the fever. In Coober Pedy they told crazy stories about people finding opalised ammonites digging new driveways, it's almost enough to get you hooked.

Ain't that the truth! I'm hooked just from scouring the internet, can't imagine what I'd be like if I could dig them up.

For some content (finally), here is a ring I finished a few months ago, a 7.34ct cushion cut Chivor emerald. It is shockingly clean, a beautiful colour, and easily the finest emerald I have ever worked with. I did not cut this one, because I probably would have had a heart attack doing so haha.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Currently cutting up this unheated kenyan sapphire



Could be a bit dark, who knows!

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Scarodactyl posted:

*sometimes some stones (some garnets in particular) will chip off bigger sharp bits just to screw with you, and those can be a real nuisance, but it isn't that typical.

This absolutely hosed with me. I got a bag of so-so garnets to practice with as my first stones, and one of them must have broken off a chunk and embedded in my pre-polish lap. Took me a while to figure that one out!


Scarodactyl posted:

Claes: nice! It'll be interesting to see its performance when it's done. Dark blue C with a teal cross-axis?

Thanks! Yeah I'm curious, cutting it into an omni oval so we'll see how she does.

I think that's it? Looks to be mostly green with some blue bits, which makes that teal cross axis yeah. Hopefully I get some representation of all the colours in the final stone

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Finished cutting that stone, came out super dark. What a bummerrrrr.

I've got some more rough and I think I'm going to try orienting it differently so that even though the yield is lower the stone looks brighter.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Scarodactyl posted:

Even if it came out dark I'd like to see it. You can always have a maglite right out of the field of view, works for selling dark tourmaline rough.

Yeah I should take some pics. Never enough time!

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Scarodactyl posted:

Inclusions aren't desirable in emerald (aside from trapiches but that's a different can of worms). They are considered particularly acceptable in emerald because clean stones are very rare (apparently chromium tends to mess with their crystal growth), but stones that are properly clean sell for far, far more.

100%, we have some stock of emeralds from the Chivor mine in Columbia and I find them very interesting for a few reasons. One is that they are very, very clean for emeralds, only a few inclusions here and there and relatively small, and two because they have this incredible slightly turquoise green colour that is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to photograph accurately.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Lawnie posted:

Are there any jewelers willing to take a custom commission for an engagement ring, hopefully delivering in the next couple months? My girlfriend found a ring she loves on Etsy but the artisan isn’t currently taking custom orders and I would really prefer to get moissanite stones rather than diamonds. For reference, here’s the ring; she loves the dainty laurel leaf pattern, and the artist has an asking price of about $500. It’s rose gold with three tiny stones. To be clear, I wouldn’t expect anyone to make an exact copy of this, that seems a bit unethical to me.



Yeah I'd be down. Shoot me a PM and I can send you examples of my work and we can talk details and timeline.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Xun posted:

Thanks to advice from Claes I hopefully have achieved the shiniest non-quartz gem I've ever cut! I still need to flip it and cut the crown but I'm excited



It's got a bit of dust on it because I ran out of the good wipes/lovely toiletpaper rip

Looks great! Can't wait to see it finished

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!





Insane. Likely a targeted job for someone wanting these pieces (I hope). Best case scenario is they're returned, second best case is the person who paid to have them stolen keeps them intact, and the worst case is they're all melted down.

Any word on if this was done by the pink panthers?

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Residency Evil posted:

Is there anything special about buying diamond stud earrings versus buying a diamond engagement ring? My wife has mentioned wanting a pair at some point. Is Blue Nile the way to go for something as commoditized as stud earrings?

Honestly, should be fine. Diamonds in earrings are of lower quality usually because people don't get as up close to them as they do with engagement rings. I still default to custom jewellers because their work is better, but diamond earrings are pretty simple.


Rorac posted:

So, what is the best place/way to learn lapidary? I want to save up to take courses as a gemologist so that I can grade gems, but I also am interested in learning to actually cut them as well. Am I being dumb with wanting the initial gemologist schooling, or is that actually a reasonable career path?

Not entirely sure on what gemologist schooling could do for you career wise, but as for the lapidary the best idea is to find local rock and mineral clubs in your area and see if they have classes. I took a 3 day course on cutting gems and then bought equipment and taught myself the rest. I was already making jewellery so maybe it came a bit faster to me than some, but many people are self taught and do incredible work.

Tom's book "Amateur Gemstone Faceting Volume 1: The Essentials" is gospel and basically takes you from starting to learn the process right up to cutting your first stone.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Scarodactyl posted:

Is anyone else at the Tucson gem shows? It might be fun to do another meetup if so.

Wasn't there this year Next year for sure though!

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Seluin posted:

I was looking for gems (particularly weird rare poo poo) and facet rough.

I ended up spending most of my time doing Pueblo, 22nd street, JGX, and AGTA.

Was cool seeing some random dino bones too

I always love seeing the dino bones and fossils. It's like the huge crystals and...uhh...geodes? The big amethyst ones. It's not what I go for but it's always cool to see!

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Xun posted:




Well thats one way to convince my wife to go to Tucson with me....

Hah! Cut anything fun lately?

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




bend posted:

There are some really absolutely lovely pieces in here, not sure how I missed this.

I'm just starting (so much so that i haven't actually finished anything yet or I'd post a pic) but I have a query about findings. I think it's info on findings I'm after anyway, it might be resin mounting. We'll see I guess.

I'm after a way to securely mount fragile crystal gold on quartz specimens in pendant style fittings, or small (3-7 mm maybe) crystalline/wire gold nuggets as ear studs or similar.The gold structures are extremely fragile, to the point of breaking apart even with gentle handling sometimes, so soldering them or sticking them loose in clear fittings doesn't seem like it would work well and honestly I'm a bit scared to go near gold this fine with a torch, plus I'm concerned the quartz might separate from the specimens.



I'm going to have to take some photos I think, but thats going to have to wait until I get a few minutes peace.
Any other ideas on what to do with natural gold are welcome too. I mostly just dig it up, but I'm really hoping to make a few nice pieces for my partner and maybe to sell.

That's a tough one. If they're too fragile to be touched then they won't last long in any sort of jewellery. I suppose you could encase them in resin somehow? But that might not be the look you're going for.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Xun posted:

IT IS DONE



BEAUTIFUL.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Seluin posted:

Ha! I appreciate the pedantics

As Scarodactyl noted, the camera is mounted on the microscope so less shake!



Cheers for the word! And iirc, alcohol & acetone shouldn't cause a problem with any gems unless they've been oiled/dyed, yeah?

Today was spent trying to photograph a padparadscha to be accurate to its color. A task, which I have decided, is virtually impossible.

Nice work on the pics!

Yes in my experience, Pads are a real pain in the rear end. The BIGGEST issue I have had though, is emeralds. We have some stock of Muzo's and they've got this beautifully slight teal/blue tint to the green that is...almost impossible to get accurately.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




obviously I hosed it posted:

I want to swap out a stone from a bezel setting and replace it with another stone. How much should I expect to pay a jeweler to do this, roughly? I understand prices can vary. I also wonder about settings— can, say, an emerald setting that measures 11 by 9 hold a 10.5 by 9 or close, or maybe over a little bit, cushion cut stone, rectangular octagonal, squared off oval shaped stone or whatever easily? Does the stone going into that emerald setting have to be an exactly emerald cut stone or can it be an octagon shape, a cushion cut, or another similarly shaped but not exactly perfectly shaped or perfectly matched in size stone?

Bezels have to more exact than prong settings, and they need to be pretty close. Often if they're different the old bezel is taken out completely and a new one put in. The new stone needs to be more or less the same dimensions +/- 0.25mm and even then the farther away you get from the original size the more jank it's going to look.

Some stones can be fudged more (rounds), but emerald cuts are harder due to the differing shapes, sizes, and corner lengths.

Price is going to vary pretty wildly based on the size of the new stone, if it's even possible, and the amount of metal needed. WHenever I'm redoing bezels, I cut the stone out so I usually need to remake the entire bezel itself. If you have a pic of the setting I can try to give some more advice.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!





Okay

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Solenna posted:

I got tree agate and seraphinite and crazy lace agate and a couple bonus cabs from wholesalerocks and they're all really pretty! (and slightly less blue than this picture, cellphone camera has crap colour accuracy)


Very nice! I love those marbley textures.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Very cool! Love the colour of that cobalt spinel.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Scarodactyl posted:

I just got my very first opposed bar back from the cutter!


Light pinkish purple Nigerian amethyst. Couldn't be happier with this.

Whoa!!! Looks awesome. Did you get Jordan to do this one or someone else?

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




subpar anachronism posted:

Thanks, is there a particular kind I should look for?

You can get gem calipers from a company named presidium if you want to go full tilt. If not, any digital small set of calipers should do.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Clean Bitch posted:

Hi! I'm looking to have a jeweler mount an emerald cut white sapphire on a white gold pendant (I want some cheap bling but I prefer white gold). Does anyone have any advice for how to find a white sapphire for this?

I'm currently looking at these two:
https://www.italojewelry.com/italo-three-stone-emerald-created-white-sapphire-engagement-ring-211229.html
https://www.etsy.com/listing/772980803/emerald-cut-1214mm-white-sapphire

The price is definitely right. It would be greatly appreciated if someone could take a look for any red flags.

Those are both lab created sapphire but if that isn't an issue then go for it! Lab created will be much cheaper and in white sapphire look almost the same as the natural counterpart.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Brennanite posted:

14k, so it sounds like I'm good. Thanks.

Edit: I totally forgot to ask, but what's a rough price range for pale blue-green aquamarines 1 carat or less? My mother has hinted what she wants for mother's day is to swap the stone out of one of her old rings for an aquamarine that is paler and greener.

It shouldn't be too expensive! It's very dependent on saturation so a paler/lighter one should be budget friendly. Hard to nail down specifics though.

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




Xun posted:

I've been struggling with this stupid quartz for ages. Spent 30 minutes trying to polish one facet only for it to scratch at the very end. gently caress this I'm buying a new 1200 lap for quartzes

I don't cut quartz for this reason, tried it once and was like "nope, never again!"

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




effika posted:

What's a reasonable price for a 16" 3mm domed omega sterling silver necklace? The one I got back in the 90s finally broke, and I need a replacement.

I see prices from $30-$90 on Amazon. I would prefer to shop at an actual jewelry store, but the good local one just closed so I'll need to drive a while or order online. I would also prefer not to buy from Amazon but I'm not sure where to look online either.

Any ideas?

Have a picture?

Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




effika posted:

It's not in great shape and I think multiple links are near failure, but here!





Sorry I totally spaced on this! I'd say amazon is an okay bet. If you can get to a local place that's great, but they'll be ordering it in from somewhere else.

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Claes Oldenburger
Apr 23, 2010

Metal magician!




effika posted:

I wound up with the $27 Amazon option just to see, and it's probably OK? At least for now, for what I use it for. I do wish I knew what was actually going on with the huge price spread, though!

My guess is just different companies having different profit margins, you'll probably be fine!

Xun posted:



Got a new 1200 lap and I'm about to start polishing attempt #3 on this lovely loving quartz. I don't think I could give it a better starting point so if this doesn't work I'm gona give up lol

Quartz can die in a fire! What kind of lap?

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