February's Birthstone

2. February 2019 08:00

Getting February off to a good start with the February birthstone, amethyst. This is a 18.0 mm, 21.92 ct. round cut with concave facets on both pavilion and crown.

The rough was one of the "ultravolet" amethyst pieces I got from Steve Ulatowski last February in Tucson. Heading to Tucson in a few more days to restock.

 

 

Some of the final 2018 rough

22. January 2019 22:24

Making some progress with the remaining 2018 rough. Three quartz varieties cut with concave facets pavilion and crown.

The largest of these is the prasiolite which is 23.70 cts and is 18.0 mm. in diameter.

Next is a 19.40 cts. amethyst which is 17.0 mm across.

And finally, the citrine which is 5.80 cts and 12.0 mm.

 

Smoky Surprise

21. January 2019 22:30

I don't often cut smoky quartz. However, this one was a badly chipped stone that a local jeweler provided so it was a good "preform" use as a starting point for additional experiments with the UT Fantasy machine.

The end result is 22.99 carats, and 23.2 x 14.5 mm.

Citrines with an Angle

20. January 2019 22:32

Here are a couple more citrines cut with concave facets on the pavilion where the mandrel was at an angle.

The first is 9.77 carats and measures 18.8 x 10.3 mm.

The second is 10.85 cts, 21.1 x 9.0 mm.

The Last of the 2018 rough

16. January 2019 06:34

I will be heading off to Tucson in a few more weeks. Meanwhile I will be working on finishing off rough acquired in 2018. Only a dozen pieces left. But some are rather large so odds are, There will be some of them waiting for me when I return home.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

16. December 2018 17:35

Tree up, most gifts wrapped and on their way, working on the rest of the preparations. Meanwhile, since there has been a little rain in the past few weeks, the hills are starting to change from summer golden brown to holiday green.

Beginning with an Angle

21. November 2018 22:38

Here is my first attempt using my new Ultra Tec Fantasy machine for something other than straight on concave facets.

This is a 9.49 carat lemon citrine which measures 14.9 x 10.8 mm.

Fantasy progress

15. November 2018 06:44

Pictured below is a 10.41 carat, 12.9 mm. colorless topaz that was one of the batch of stones that I cut over the past few weeks while I was getting familiar with using my new UltraTec Fantasy machine to cut concave facets.

Most of the work was done with rose quartz which is not the most exciting material. However, the price is right for the practice situations where you expect that major errors are likely. And they did happen. I learned that timing is important when bringing down the stone to the mandrel as unlike the OMF where only the mandrel is moving in and out, with the Fantasy machine, the entire tool drive moves. I was not paying attention and collision with the slash guard took off a big chunk of the pavilion in one instance. Needless to say, lesson learned.

Now I have a more colorful and varied batch dopped up and ready to go for the next phase where I start exercising some of the options of the fantasy machine which go beyond what I had with the old OMF.

I am also getting used to being back in my workroom. We moved things around for remodeling a couple years ago and somehow just never got back until a new piece of equipment provided extra motivation.

 

 

 

First off the using new machine

20. October 2018 21:50

Here is the first stone cut using the new fantasy machine. It is a 12.1 mm., 7.11 carat rose quartz hexagon with concave facets on both pavilion and crown.

For faceting demonstrations at the local club shows, I typically want something that is big enough for visitors to see, but inexpensive enough that I won't be upset when working in less than ideal conditions (distractions!) results in mistakes. Lemon citrine and rose quartz seem to be what I end of choosing for these situations.

Since I had a number of pieces of rose quartz pre-formed from a chunk I acquired for just that purpose last year from Steve Ulatowski / New Era Gems, I am working with that for the "learning experiences" I know I am going to have getting used to new equipment and cutting options. It was a good choice -- on this piece I had several "oops" happenings ranging from rolling off the mandrel (had it turning the wrong way) to running off the end of the mandrel (did not check the mast position adequately).

New Fantasy Machine is here

20. October 2018 04:55

After many years of using the Polymetric OMF for cutting concave facets I have taken the big step to upgrade to the ULTRA TEC Faceting Fantasy machine.

Until recently I thought the only option would be to swap my Fac-Ette GemMaster faceting machine for another brand, like Ultra Tec which was compatible with the fantasy machine. Then I found out that the folks at Ultra Tec have devised an option to adapt the fantasy machine for the Fac-Ette GemMaster.


This is their first Fac-Ette (default) left mast version. I am looking forward to the faceting options that this machine will open -- once I learn and get up to speed on the features it offers.

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