A nice round peridot

11. July 2018 22:49

Photo here is of a newly cut peridot (August birthstone). It is 8 mm in diameter and weighs 2.84 carats. According to the notes on label that accompanied the rough, the material came from Arizona.

It isn't quartz

24. June 2018 22:50

Finally I am cutting something other than quartz!

Pictured here is a very nice little aquamarine weighing in at 2.23 cts and measuring 8.6 x 6.9 mm. It was really nice to cut something a little smaller and more cooperative than some of the larger stones I was doing while I was getting over my broken wrist and figuring out some new laps. The rough for this stone was obtained at the Spring 2016 West Coast Gem and Mineral Show from New Era Gems (Steve Ulatowski).

Ametrine

17. June 2018 22:51

Ametrine pictured here is 6.15 cts. and measures 14.5 x 9.0 mm.

Several concave facets were placed on the pavilion side causing it to light up very nicely. The even division of purple and gold in these stones is very eye catching. I have a few more of these yet to cut in the parcel from New Era Gems ( Steve Ulatowski and Robert Ulatowski )

Triangle Trio

13. June 2018 22:53

Just posted a trio of citrine triangles along with two new amethysts to the website

4.49 ct.citrine

9.75 ct. citrine

4.91 ct. citrine

New Citrines

15. May 2018 22:57

The Citrine pictured here is one of the items that was being cut during the faceting demonstration at the Santa Lucia Rockhounds show last month. It is 3.0 carats and 10.4 mm diameter.

It has been posted along with a handful of amethysts and a couple of other citrines that have been completed in recent weeks

Faceting Demonstration this Weekend

18. April 2018 22:58

The Santa Lucia Rockhounds will be having its annual show at the Paso Robles Event Center from 10 am to 5 pm Saturday, April 21 and 10am to 4pm Sunday, April 22. As part of the show, the San Luis Obispo Gem and Mineral Club will have a booth and will be bringing the club's faceting machine so we can show how gemstones are faceted. There will also be wirewrapping demonstrations on Saturday and club members will have some of their collections and crafts on display. Of course there will be many vendors with items for sale and other demonstrations by the Santa Lucia club members. Come by if you are in the neighborhood.

Another amethyst pictured here. This one is an 8.33 cts, 12.6 mm. octagon with concave facets on the pavilion side. I had planned to work on some other materials, but decided that this parcel was better for re-training my hands for faceting as my wrist heals.

First post Tucson Stone

28. March 2018 23:00

The first post Tucson stone is finally done. It has been a challenge learning to work with a lame right hand, but things are slowly improving.


The finished amethyst weighs 13.2 cts and is 14.6 mm wide. There is a little bit of color zoning, but it is not too obvious when the stone is face up. A set of concave facets on the pavilion and another set on the crown add some extra sparkle. Rough came from a parcel obtained last year from Farooq Hashmi.

Recovering

19. March 2018 06:02

Finally got to the point where I could do some post Tucson and broken wrist faceting. Probably a good thing I have a left mast Gem Master as the right hand is still lame and tied up a bit with a splint for the next few weeks until physical therapy gets me back more strength and range of motion.

The piece is a 15 mm. amethyst. Larger than I normally would have wanted as a test drive, but when I tried dopping a couple weeks ago, I could not manage the smaller stones at all.

On the mend

28. February 2018 17:32

Two weeks post surgery to repair the broken wrist. The heavily padded splint has been traded for a spring green cast. Am looking forward to the Ides of March when the cast comes off. Then according to the doctor, it will be several months before strength and flexibility are back.

Tucson 2018 - Day 3 - Getting Around Town

14. February 2018 14:05

The day started with another hike up Sentinel Peak. I was starting to know the route and do better with my pace. While I am not a big fan of cactus and succulents, I was finding the local flora’s ability to survive on such a rocky place impressive.

USFG

This was the day where the rental car was going to get some use. First stop was the Old Pueblo Lapidary Club for a talk by Diane Eames on “Cutting for Jewelry” as part of the USFG Faceter’s Frolic (https://usfacetersguild.org/).   The material covered in the presentation was much more basic than I had hoped to hear. However afterwards there was some time to get acquainted with a few folks from USFG like Al Balmer who often has replied to my forum posts. While talking with Al, I eventually realized who the other gentleman in the conversation was – Bob Long – one of the authors of the meetpoint faceting technique which is used by many who learn to facet. Bob seemed a truly nice fellow – more than willing to share his insights and not offended the least by those who chose a different approach (as I do.)

JCK

Next it was off to the JCK show (http://tucson.jckonline.com/). It wasn’t a very large show and was primarily finished jewelry vendors. There was one vendor who indicated that they had peridot both finished goods and rough material, so I headed for that booth. They did have rough, but it was one of the few negative interactions I had with vendors during the entire trip. It was difficult to get one of the people working the booth to come talk with me. And then I think a bit more confusion to get someone who knew about the rough material. The peridot was Chinese – more yellowish than material from Arizona or Pakistan. And while the pieces in the tray seemed to be a nice size, they exterior was cloudy and the stones were dry. So it was hard to tell at a quick glance how clean the material was. Then came the price - $43 per gram with a minimum of a kilo purchase. I had already seen some retail pricing for nice colored, clean Pakistani peridot that was better and allowed picking. Unless those rough stones were a lot bigger and cleaner than they looked, they would probably be returning to China to be cut. Or was I supposed to have tried haggling for 100 gm and half the price?

I wandered through the rest of the displays. It was not very crowded. Actually it would be better stated that there were not many people there. Most of the jewelry seemed to be on the lines of big, bulky rings or else the other extreme like a small dangle on a chain necklace. In that respect, it was in keeping with what I had been seeing at AGTA and GJX.

G&LW

Since it was still early, I headed off to the G&LW shows (https://www.glwshows.com/). When I had last been to Tucson, G&LW had two separate locations. Now it was all in one place. And the place was humongous. I think the spot in the parking area I found was a quarter mile from the entrance to the show. They were running golf carts to get people back and forth, but my timing was bad. Normally the walk would not bother me. However in this case, the parking area appeared to have been recently refreshed with gravel. Or maybe it was baby boulders. Most seemed too big to have passed through a one inch screen. It was a difficult surface and required attention in some spots to keep from turning an ankle.

Unlike the JCK, the G&LW show was very busy. The vendors there were closer to those who participate in the InterGem or Gem Faire shows that are scheduled in various cities around the country. There were lots and lots of beads for sale. Also there was a lot of lower end findings, inexpensive finished jewelry and similar goods. A couple of large vendors had special areas at the end of buildings for essentially their own “store” within the show. One thing I noted in the G&LW spaces that I had not seen elsewhere was a fair amount of turquoise and Native American jewelry. It was not a good hunting ground for facet rough.

JOGS

Next stop was JOGS (https://jogsshow.com).  Parking was a bit harder to find at this site, but it was a lot easier trip to the show entrance. Based on the description of the show I was hoping to see higher quality goods than at G&LW and hopefully vendors with facet rough. First impression on entering was “where am I”. The floorplan at JOGS deviates from the typical grid used by most shows. It seemed to have more in common with a casino where the object is to keep you from leaving. At some point I found one of the other entrances and located a stack of show guides near the door and used that as a guide to navigating the place. Even then I got turned around several times.

I did see a little rough material, but nothing that was close to what I would want to buy. Most of the goods were about the same quality as at G&LW.

KINO

Since I was making better time through the shows than I had expected, I decided to head to the Kino site (http://www.as-shows.com/) in hopes of getting additional dops from the Graves vendor who was supposed to be there. From the freeway I had seen the complex had multiple tents and was not clear how it was organized. After arriving, it was even more of a puzzle. “Random” is probably the best description of the layout.

Kino was a totally different sort of show. Much of the material being offered there was like that in the GIGM show at our hotel – only in much bigger sizes and much larger quantities. This was the place to go if you wanted a slab of something for a table or countertop or if you wanted a chunk of rock for making a sculpture. There were several equipment vendors there who were providing the tools scaled for the bigger tasks. These were much more industrial strength sized than those typically used by rockhounds, crafters and jewelry artists.

I wandered well into the tent city before I found their stack of show guides and was able to locate Graves. No joy when I got there. The only dops they had for sale were a complete assortment set. It was just as well as I discovered that I had left my phone containing my shopping list back in the car. Obviously that was a signal to call it a day and head back to the hotel.

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