Slicing Up the Zebra Stone and Printstone Rough

Muddy Sunday – Slicing the Zebra Stone and Printstone

Just over a year ago we were asked by a client if we could work some Zebra Stone for her and create some pendants which we did, and ever since we have been looking for some Zebra Stone of our own to work with.

Not so long ago we ordered some Zebra Stone and Printstone rough from Australia and it’s been sat out in the workshop for a couple of weeks since it arrived. Well on Saturday we decided it was time to slice it up into slabs.

Pictures of the chunks of Zebra Stone and Printstone Rough

A block of Rough Zebra Stone
Zebra Stone #1

Our second block of Rough Zebra Stone unworked
Zebra Stone #2

a chunk of rough Printstone  from Australia

If you have ever read my previous post about Zebra Stone of 7th May 2012 you will know that I was wary of getting water, cutting oil or anything else near this stone so I got out my mitre saw and set it up.

After about two hours I had managed to almost cut one slice, this batch of Zebra Stone (as was the Printstone) was much harder than the first lot we worked with, as you can imagine I was pretty worn out after I got the first slice cut, and so was the saw blade, the teeth were all worn away, so obviously this method of cutting wasn’t going to be an option.

This was painful, dry cutting the rough!

Zebra Stone clamped on dry saw
Zebra Stone clamped on dry saw

Zebra Stone dry cut - almost half way
Zebra Stone dry cut – almost half way

First Zebra Stone Slab
First Zebra Stone Slab

The only other option we had to hand was our 8” diamond saw, but that uses “metprep” cutting oil, and as I said previously I was wary of letting anything like this near the stone in case of contamination. So, after some mulling things over we decided to empty out the sump and give it a thorough clean, then we reassembled the saw a refilled the sump with clean water only.

The reasoning behind this is that the Zebra Stone and Printstone would have been subjected to the elements before they were mined so clean water shouldn’t do any harm!

Little did I realise that I was about to embark on the mother of all mud baths! The biggest problem I was having was actually seeing what I was doing, because the dirty water was flying up and coating my safety glasses, so I had to keep stopping and dunking them in a bucket of water to clean them.

This was a mud bath – cutting the Printstone and Zebra Stone on the diamond saw.

Cutting the Printstone
Cutting the Printstone

Its a mud bath
Its a mud bath

cutting the zebra stone
cutting the zebra stone

Every time a new slab came off the saw Shalini was standing there waiting to go and clean it up, it almost reminded me of the nurse waiting to go and clean up the baby after it had just been delivered.

Well after almost 3 hours of cutting we ended up with a combined total of 28 zebra Stone and Printstone slabs of varying sizes and thicknesses.

So, was it all worth it – you bet!

Zebra Stone slabs
Zebra Stone slabs

Printstone slabs
Printstone slabs

A mixture of Zebra Stone and Printstone slabs
A mixture of Zebra Stone and Printstone slabs

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

The Zebra Stone and Printstone have arrived from Australia

The Zebra Stone and Printstone have arrived from Australia

Ever since we undertook a commission just over a year ago, we have been looking for some good Zebra Stone for ourselves, and we finally found it a little while ago. At the same time that we found the Zebra Stone we were also introduced to Printstone, another one we had never heard of or seen before, fortunately both of these are from the same supplier, so we ordered some of each from him.

It arrived last week, we were expecting it to take 6 weeks at least but it arrived in just over 3 weeks, must have been a very fast ship because it came by sea!

As I said above we were asked by a client to create 3 pendants for her, she supplied the Zebra Stone and to be honest I worried about working with it mainly because it wasn’t my rock and if I messed up it would be hard to replace it, if you are interested you can read more about this through this link:

How I worked Zebra Stone

Anyway I digress, here are some pictures of the new arrivals

Zebra Stone Rough

Rough Zebra Stone View 1 Zebra Stone Rough View 2 Zebra Stone Rough View 3

Visitors to the Kimberley Region of Western Australia leave with memories of a formidable, rugged landscape – an ancient land holding many mysteries and well kept secrets.
Some 600 million years ago when the only life on earth was simple aquatic organisms and Australia was still part of the super-continent Gondwanaland, layers of a striking red and while banded stone were formed near where Kununurra is today. The sparsely distributed seams of Zebra Stone are the only known deposits of this rare and beautiful material.
Zebra Stone is an indurated siltstone, altered from its original sedimentary form by unknown geological and chemical processes. It was first documented in 1924 following its discovery close to the Durack homestead on the Argyle pastoral lease.
Only a small portion of the total deposits remained above water following the construction of Lake Argyle in 1972. Reserves are measured in kilos rather than tonnes, with some patterns yielding only a few kilos. Seams are tightly enclosed in shale, varying in width from 25mm to 400mm. The regularly curved bands and rods disappear and reoccur at intervals within the seam, making recovery expensive and tedious.
The curved banding of red and white occurs at nearly right angles to the bedding plane. Analysis of samples has disclosed an extraordinary number and range of elements, including rare earths, adding to its wonder and contributing to its unique texture and qualities.
Although it is compact and fine grained Zebra Stone is soft enough to cut and carve with hand tools, lending itself to finishing with fine wet and dry emery paper. Coating with a clear spray-on sealer, either satin or gloss, avoids smudging of the iron oxides in the material. (Description courtesy of Aradon. PTY Ltd)

Printstone Rough

Printstone Rough View 1 Printstone Rough View 2 Printstone Rough View 3

Printstone is found in the Hamersley Ranges near the iron ore mining town of Tom Price in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
It occurs in the “Mount McRae Shale” within the Hamersley Basin. Age is approx. 2000 Ma.
Some studies indicate that the unusual markings possibly have stromatolitic origins, some even going so far as naming it as “Kinneyia Simulans”.
Another theory suggests they are Liesegang rings. Banded minerals and rocks, such as Printstone, were formed or rearranged by long-lasting processes of transport, chemical reaction and precipitation or crystallization. Due to this range of processes, a great variety of textures can occur. (Description courtesy of Aradon. PTY Ltd)

My next job is to slab it all into 10mm slabs, this will be done by hand with a hacksaw as I don’t want the coolant from my diamond saw to get soaked into the stone and ruin it.

Can Anyone Identify these Rough Rocks

We recently bought a mixed box of rocks which contained two rocks we can’t identify, does anyone know what they are please?

In the consignment we also received a huge lump of Labradorite and Blue Aventurine, must be over 8lb each but I haven’t measured and weighted them yet.

Here are the two unidentified specimens:

Please click on the thumbnails to see a larger image

Unknown 1








Unkonwn 2:






If anyone can help in identifying these we would be very grateful



Rough Rock Shop Update

labradorite-rough-010cOver the last couple of weeks we have been very busy photographing, measuring and weighing the new rough rock stock for our on line inventory. And we are very pleased to tell you that there is now lots of stock available at very competitive prices.

This is an ongoing process as there is still quite a lot to add but we are working our way through it.

Most notable is the amount of rough Lapis Lazuli that we have added in varying shapes and sizes and soon we will be adding the largest piece of Lapis Lazuli that we have ever encountered, some 4.7kg’s in weight, a really nice specimen that would be ideal for a collection or for a sculpture.

Our rocks are available for all types of uses, lapidary, mineral and crystal collectors and of course Crystal healers, all are in uncut, untreated natural form, as they come straight from the mine, in fact some still have dust on them.denim-lapis-lazuli-rough-019c

One other notable addition is very large lump of Labradorite, again the largest we have ever seen ourselves, it’s almost as big as the Lapis I mentioned above and that will be available soon as well.

All of our rough rocks and minerals are physically here in the UK which is important as there will be no nasty surprises for UK purchasers like import duties, something we have been subjected to many time when importing rocks from abroad.

The shop has UK postage prices, but if you are buying from abroad we will get the best shipping prices from various carriers and advise you first before you commit to buying from us.

One final thing to mention, the rough rock you see in our shop is the same material that we use in our own Lapidary work so it’s NOT sub-standard  in any way.

So why not pay our rough rock shop a visit, you will be pleasantly surprised