Two Amethyst Cabochon Sets

Over the last couple of days I have been cutting and polishing two Amethyst cabochon sets, one is triangular with a curved bottom and the other is a more traditional oval shape.

These were cut from the darker parts of a couple of lumps of Chevron Amethyst, I find these pieces of chevron tend to give a richer purple, you just have to think about how you are going to cut them before going to the saw and also keep in mind how many small slabs you want to get out of one lump. Also by cutting sets from one lump of chevron you tend to get good matching shades of purple, if you cut from different lumps you run the risks of not getting consistent shades of purple.

I did have a problem with the larger triangle cab, after I had cut it I put on the 80 grit diamond wheel to shape it, but when the eater dried off it I found it had a fractures right across the bottom which when light finger pressure was applied it snapped along the fracture line. This is a good point to keep in mind, beware of any fracture lines, if you find any see if you can break it with your fingers, it’s better it breaks now than further down the line when you are polishing or worse still after you have sold it!

I selected another lump of chevron Amethyst and cut 3 new cabs, fortunately none of these had fractures and they have all now been through the shaping, sanding and polishing process.

One thing you will notice with this Amethyst is that it does have some pitting and try as you might to get rid of these pits you will have one or two small ones, you see the problem is that as you get rid of one pit you reveal another so in the end you end up with a very thin cab that’s still has some pits.

Next step now is to wrap these in gold filled wire as per our client’s requests, once they are done we will post some more pics.




Amethyst Pendant

Shalini had a request for a large Amethyst pendant, her client wanted the deepest purple we had and as large as possible.
The only way that we could satisfy this request was to cut the dark purple area out of a lump of chevron, thankfully this worked and the pendant, wrapped in gold filled wire goes to its new home tomorrow.


As you an see from the picture below, I cut two cabs from the chevron, the client chose the one on the left.

What I have learnt from this project is just how hard it is to is to find a slab of deep purple amethyst these days.

Golden Labradorite Cabochons

I recently slabbed some Labradorite to try and increase my understanding of how to orientate it prior to cutting on the rock saw. Fortunately it appears that my understanding has grown as I was very satisfied with the outcome.

I then gave all of the Labradorite slabs a good clean and then selected one to make a few cabochons from.

Below is a picture of the slab I selected for the cabochons:

A slab of golden Labradorite

And here are the two cabochons I made from the slab:

Golden Labradorite Cabochon 1
Golden Labradorite Cabochon 2

I tried to use the bluey black area as a focal point on one of these cabochons and I feel it worked.

Now I need to find time to sit down and wrap them in some sterling silver wire!

Flint Cabochons

Flint really does come up lovely with such a deep lustre using cerium oxide polish on a felt wheel.

Well I finally got some flint cut and polished into Cabachons.

Flint really does come up lovely with such a deep lustre using cerium oxide polish on a felt wheel.

Drilled Flint Free Form Cab

However, there are pitfalls when working Flint which I wasn’t fully aware of and the time of writing I still don’t know how to identify the problem areas so it’s still a matter of trial and error until the “penny drops” in my grey matter!

The biggest problem I have found is that Flint is so fragile, even though it’s very hard it fractures very easily. I have added plenty of fractured material to Shalini’s tumbling rough stock while working it.

During the drilling process a couple of pieces fractured on me, even though I started with a very find diamond triple ripple drill bit for the pilot hole, when I came to put a larger drill bit through to open up the hole sufficient for a leather thong, I got some fractures. This didn’t happen on all the pieces I drilled, but there has to be a way of identifying where these fractures will occur before you start.

Flint Free Form For Wire Wrapping

I also lost a few pieces while slabbing, I found I would get so far through a slab and the piece of rough would just fracture and a piece would fall away, it also happened a few times while shaping on the 80 grit diamond wheel.

Once you see a fracture forming while you are working the material you can really only discard it or break the fracture and regrind what you have left if it’s large enough.

Shalini has been tumbling a barrel of Flint for the last 2 weeks on 80 grit and it’s due to be opened this afternoon, so we look forward to looking at that.

But we did get 3 nice finished items, two of them drilled and one for wire wrapping which I can show you in the pictures.

Another Flint Free Form

The beauty about this Flint is that it doesn’t cost anything to buy, I just find it in the fields and bring it home, so I can afford breakages as I learn!


Labradorite Cabs – Cabochon – First Attempt

My first attempt at cutting and polishing Labradorite was an experiment

My first attempt at cutting and polishing Labradorite was an experiment, on inspection of the initial slabs I honestly though I have messed up as I could see little or none of the effect known as Labradorensence.

Because these are intended for use in pendants, only being able to see the Labradorensence in the horizontal plane wasn’t going to serve the purpose at all if the effect couldn’t be seen in the vertical.

However, I decided that I should press on with these slabs and take them through the stages on the cab machine simply so I could learn how this material works and finally polishes.

The material works easily on silicon carbide belts which need to be kept very wet to keep the heat down, I also noticed a very strong aroma when working the slabs on the 100 grit belt, but on the later less aggressive stages there was no aroma at all.

After shaping and going through the various stages of sanding it was time to try the polishing, I used cerium oxide on a felt wheel which brought up a nice lustre.

I am glad that I went all the way through with this material because at the end of the process, what I thought were going to be useless slabs have in fact, produced some really nice usable cabs.

So I guess the moral of this story is don’t give up at the start, persevere to the end and you will be rewarded!

What have I learnt so far from the initial experience and the kind comments offered by various other Lapidaries, well first of all wet your rough, then hold it up to the light, rotate the lump of rough until you find the best Labradorensence, keeping in mind that if you want to use the finished pieces for pendants you will want be able to observe the effect in the vertical plane, once you have found the correct angle, mark it because this is the way you will need to cut it.

The other thing I have learnt is that you can observe the effect in a slab, and then turn it through 180 degrees and you won’t see the effect at all, so there is a lot preparation and understanding involved before slabbing which |I guess will come with experience.

I am no expert on Labradorite but with time and practice I hope to become reasonably well accomplished with this fascinating material.

Here are the pictures of the attempt – enjoy.

Labradorite Cabochon
Labradorite Cab
Cabachon Labradorite
Labradorite Cab Isolated Labradoresence
Labradorite Triangle Cabochon
Labradorite End Piece Cabochon

I have selected the next lump Labradorite rough to go through the process, it has truly wonderful colour and Labradoresence:

Labradorite Rough – First View
Labradorite Rough