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Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Hello I technically cut gems but it appears that what actually I do is continuously buy rough gems to "cut later" and then hoard them

Here is something I finished recently, it's a monosital (aka glass)

Xun fucked around with this message at 13:52 on Jul 26, 2019

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Xun
Apr 25, 2010



You mean people don't normally shove a pile of loose gems into a drawer??

Although the last time I tried to get something made with one of the stones I've cut the jeweler still hasn't given it back in over 3 months. I'm starting to suspect he got greedy and tried to sell it but JOKES ON HIM ITS FACETING GLASS

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Claes Oldenburger posted:

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.

Yeah this. Also if you're buying whole boules watch out for what type it is. The most common type is flame fusion and those boules need to be split in half before you start working with them or whatever you're making might do it randomly instead. Idk why exactly, something about internal stress during the fusion process ? Most of the time they're sold already split but sometimes I see whole ones floating around

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



tinytort posted:

My birth stone is garnet, so I've got a few garnet pieces that got given to me as gifts over the years. The problem is, they've always looked pretty dark for my tastes - there's not a lot of fire or sparkle to the stones in these pieces unless I'm holding them under direct light.

Is that just how garnet is, or are these poorly cut or something? I'd love to be able to get some pieces that have more fire to them, one day, if that's possible (I wouldn't be able to afford it right now), but if garnet just doesn't sparkle like that, then my dream earrings should feature a different stone - amethyst, maybe.

I think you've got a combo of poorly cut and probably just a (cheaper) dark stone. Garnets come in lots of lighter colors but of course the nicer the color the more $$$ it is. Or get that synthetic yttrium garnet, cheap and good looking!

This website shows some of the possible colors of garnet:
https://www.gia.edu/garnet-quality-factor

Sparkliness can actually be measured by refractive index, or how much the gem bends light. The more a gem bends light the more potential sparkliness it has. Amethyst has a lower RI than garnets so you don't need to lose hope, but a well cut and non dark amethyst will beat out a poorly cut dark garnet any day.

I've actually got a really nice yellow one lying around but it's a cool shape so I'm not sure if I should cut it

Xun fucked around with this message at 09:31 on Aug 6, 2019

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



I. M. Gei posted:

I enjoy gems.

Where can I get good dark blue aquamarines for reasonably cheap?

uhh how dark are you thinking? I've never heard of aquamarines getting really dark and I don't think they get much darker than this?



This GIA has this listed as an example of the "finest" color so I don't expect that to be cheap.

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



After some poking around aquamarines do come in those colors but it seems to be one of the most prized colors, it seems pretty rare since I can't find much trustworthy info on them so you're probably not going to find those "for cheap".

If you're just looking for those kinds of colors and not married to the idea of an aquamarine, Id suggest looking at spinels or topazes. Sapphire might be a good bet too.

If you do need it to be an aquamarine, this seems to be valuable enough that I would not trust any "deals" you can find on eBay or Etsy or whatever. Spinels and topazes are commonly mislabeled as expensive high quality aquas (especially since its easy to make synthetics of those) and I've heard of dishonest sellers using fake certifications. Your best bet is probably going to a gem show in person, I wouldn't trust a website at all if this is important enough for you.

Xun fucked around with this message at 01:02 on Aug 7, 2019

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Oooh those chromium aquas are awesome.

Also when I said check out spinels and topazes I also mentally included synthetics which would be much cheaper than natural ones. Let it be known I loving love synthetic gems and think everyone should buy them

Xun fucked around with this message at 01:30 on Aug 7, 2019

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



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.

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



large hands posted:

Thanks! Here's a couple different light sources.







the sapphire is around 2.5 carats I believe, wish I'd taken a picture of the rough stone before I had it cut, it was shaped like a shark tooth and had yellow and blue at the extremities.

drat that ring is badass! How did you find the rough?

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



That's a biiiiig gem on that ring

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Are you looking for cabbing (stones with rounded tops and are flat) or faceting (stones that are pointy and have flat faces)? Also what kind of budget are you working with here?

Xun fucked around with this message at 13:41 on Aug 24, 2019

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Reminder: 360 grit cutting laps are still sharp and it got my finger with a chip of sapphire ow.

In other news the sapphire is coming along well


Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Prince Reggie K posted:

I think the flat grinders are what I'll look into then. I'm about to join a local mineral group. But if 500 or so can get me started I might just take the plunge. That all u need looks good, any recommendations on an adjustable arm for faceting? I saw some stuff on amazon. Like the whole setup for about 700 but there were no reviews. If I could get a good arm to go with that all u need, that should let me try basically anything

Woah if you want to get into faceting you're gona be looking at way higher initial investment costs since precision is key. Like Scarodactyl said you need to be able to consistently hit the same angle and height and if you cant well...its a huge pain in the rear end. What used to take me 15-20 minutes per facet when polishing on an old Vargas machine went to like, <5 on an ultratec because I don't need to sit around painstakingly adjusting the stone since it was impossible to hit the same angle twice with that handset. Definitely try things out at a club first and spend a bit more for a good used machine if you're serious. This guy is pretty knowledgeable and the article seems like a good overview of various brands and types! I'd suggest trying to find a used mast or handset type machine.

https://medium.com/justin-k-prim/how-to-choose-the-best-faceting-machine-for-your-needs-c41774367c55

Also I'm not sure what you've seen but cutting isn't just the machine and mast/handset. You need to invest in a set of diamond grit cutting laps and polishing laps.

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Honestly I'm not really sure. This sounds like the color was unstable due to irradiation to deepen the gems color, I can try to summon up an explanation why based on my gemology class if anyone is interested But garnets are pretty resistant to radiation and I can't think of any gems that would irradiate to red and also be unstable.

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



On the discs at least you might have something good there provided they've been stored properly and there's been no cross contamination. Pastes to put on them are relatively cheap but make extra sure to identify what type of discs you have before getting them, for example some are more suitable for diamond and others are for chemical polishing agents. They should have the grit written on them somewhere and if not I can post it at some old people too if you'd like. Having no water tank sounds like it could be annoying but the mechanism is pretty simple, you just need to have something that'll drip water on the cutting surface.

Lots of people still use super old lapidary equipment with no problems, as long as they power on you're good to go. Honestly the biggest expense for me was getting a machine in the first place so you might have something here. I really want a trim saw but there's just no space for it at my place rip

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Leperflesh posted:

The tiny disks have been stored in separated little zippy bags so I'd guess they're fine. The big disks for the "all you need" have been tossed together in an open cardboard box and stored in various garages for at least a decade. The one I photographed still has its identifying sticker (from the photo I think it says 180 mesh) but the other ones are missing their stickers. I understand Hi-Tech seems to color-code the disks, but given how they were stored I'd guess there's definitely been cross-contamination.

I can certainly rig some kind of water system. I've got some old aquarium pumps and lots of tubing and poo poo so I can figure something out.

Any idea about that chisel screw press thing?

e. What do you use to hold rocks you're slicing up? I've seen in videos people mount small rocks on a stick with some kind of putty or wax or something, what are those called so I can google them?

e2. I should be less lazy. It's called a dop stick and dopping and I can look that poo poo up.

Oof, that storage doesn't sound good. I think the 180 mesh will be fine, 600 mesh is a maybe, and the 1200 and polishing ones are probably not in great shape.

Yeah people use dop sticks, I think for your purposes any metal stick will do. Hell even wooden ones might work if you're cutting heat resistant stuff. Rocks can be stuck to them with a variety of adhesives, I like to use wax since its easier to remove (you'd definitely need it on a wooden dop), but lots of people use superglue and epoxy with metal ones.

Sadly I have no experience with the screw press type things, whenever I needed to cut up rocks I used a saw

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Leperflesh posted:

I'm struggling to figure out how that would work. You'd have like a horizontal saw blade, how would you feed stone into it? Or you mean, you can mount saw blades on your vertical setup...

How about the TINY TRIM, what blade(s) and what fluid(s) should I get for it? I wanna slice a "thunder egg" (geode of unknown makeup) into bits, but it'd also be nice to be able to slice up opal.

Here's a video of a guy using an all you need, looks like hes doing it freehand without a stick which is cool but we were told not to do that for uh....maybe safety?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isz9xR2yXo8

For the TINY TRIM, the trimmer I used had a non serrated edge and the flat side was the "sharp" side. The blade should also be pretty thin. I think we used mineral oil for ours, but I saw a guy use just water before too. These guys seem to have opinions about the specifics

https://highlandpark.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/14000058367-what-kind-of-coolant-should-i-run-in-my-saw-

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Leperflesh posted:

So uhhh, Gemworld.
http://www.gemworld.com/USAvsUS.htm
Not super excited to order from these guys. For example they don't collect state tax, and both they and I am in CA so that's definitely illegal. They don't take credit cards. They add the 4% merchant fee from Paypal back to your order, which is definitely against Paypal's rules. And they're, based on the above page, full on gold fringe freeman on the land lunatics.

Do you guys have a preferred vendor where I can get some blades for my tiny trim? Also some cutting lube? Those Highland Park dudes seem legit but I'd rather not buy the minimum 5+ gallons of stuff... Gemworld lists a bunch of different cutting fluid options including some that come dried that you add to water, which sounds good to me, or some smaller quantities etc.

These guys sell tiny trim disks: http://www.amlap.com/alw/sawblades.html and their site has an actual shopping cart, anyone used them before?

I figure I'll get replacement disks for my All In One direct from Hi-Tech but they only sell this one lubricant which is specifically for diamond cutting, so I'll need to at least make two orders to get my equipment in order.

These might be what you're looking for?

https://ameritoolonline.com/collections/diamond-saw-blades

If not a guy has put together a big list of lapidary stores you can try, I saw him ask people on facebook for additions to the list so I think a lot (if not all) of these shops are okay

https://medium.com/justin-k-prim/every-lapidary-supply-shop-in-the-world-76bfaff46668

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Yeah quality is a huge factor and it can be hard to tell because what is considered desirable can be different between different gems. For example, for most gems inclusions lower the price but for emerald they're super desirable.

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



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.

Oh really! That's interesting, we definitely covered that specifically in class but it's not like I can afford real emeralds lololol

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



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

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Scarodactyl posted:

Beautiful work! Ruby or spinel?

(One hell of a girdle though!)

It's a synthetic sapphire, I love the color! Sadly I screwed up the orientation during dopping so it needed to be cut way down

Claes Oldenburger posted:

Looks great! Can't wait to see it finished

Thanks! I can't wait either lol

Xun
Apr 25, 2010






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

Xun fucked around with this message at 22:09 on Jul 1, 2020

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Claes Oldenburger posted:

Hah! Cut anything fun lately?

Sadly nope the Sapphire is still waiting for me to cut the table and then polish the crown. Stupid masters thesis getting in my way

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



IT IS DONE

Xun fucked around with this message at 06:37 on Aug 5, 2020

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



woah those are really awesome photos! My hands shake so much its a struggle to even get one nice photo

Usually right before I take photos I drop the gem into acetone for awhile, then I only move them around with a gem grabby thing or tweezers afterwards. It usually doesn't need wiping but sometimes I transfer them to a glasses cleaning cloth or just a napkin if I'm lazy and wipe them off on there making sure I don't touch the gem with my fingers at all.

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



You can also try looking up facetors on uh...instagram? Etsy? To see if any cool people are selling.

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



If I recall right labradorite wants cerium oxide on leather to polish, we used a big spinny wheel though

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



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

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



It's a random piece of synthetic "sky blue" quartz I got that actually looks just white in person. My 1200 lap scratches the poo poo out of it and tbh its pretty scratchy on harder stones too. Sometimes the facets barely look better than my 600 lap, I thought it just wasn't broken in but I've used it on multiple stones at this point and it still sucks

Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Scarodactyl posted:

Ever hear of 'shitrine'? It's a particular batch if synthetic citrine that went around the market for a bit which was famous for being almost impossible to polish. You could identify it because heating it turned it blue (due to cobalt doping for...some reason?)
Point is some quartz, and especially some synthetic quartz, is just that way inherently.
Your time is really too valuable to fight with uncooperative material anyway. Or with synthetic quartz in general. If you want to do some quartz richly colored natural amethyst is still inexpensive but the end result with precision cutting has a great multiplier on value. Or if you want something weirder, some nice lavender quartz with that opalescent translucency also rarely fails to hit.

Yeah, but this particular 1200 does that on like CZ and corundums too I'd actually love to get my hands on some rose de France amethyst or a pretty rose quartz, but since I've moved to europe I haven't really looked at what online rough vendors are around. Was hoping to hit up a gemshow or two at least but yay covid

Xun
Apr 25, 2010





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

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Xun
Apr 25, 2010



Claes Oldenburger posted:

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

I got a 1200 lightning lap topper, it's definitely leaving a much smoother finish than my metal 1200 so fingers crossed lol

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