Labradorite Cabs – Cabochon – First Attempt

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
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  1. Labradorite is my favorite stone, it’s so beautiful.

    • Dave
    • October 16, 2009

    Hi Nina,

    you are going to have real fun with the Lab, it’s a truly enchanting stone to work with, just be sure to spend some time getting it oriented correctly before slabbing it, if you need any help drop me a line. It’s my favourite rock out of them all because it really rewards you for your efforts, I also read that it helps with imagination and creativity somewhere so I keep a small slab on my desk and I must admit my productivity has increased. I never heard the story about the northern lights before but its one that I will remember now.

    All the best and enjoy your Lab


    • nina
    • October 16, 2009

    Hi there,
    I just purchased some labradorite rough that needs to be slabbed then cabbed. I’m excited. The colours are phenomenal. There is a myth attached to Labrador labradorite – the northern lights were once held in the rocks, but were released by a great warrior’s spear. Your walk-through information is going to help tremendously. Thanks.

    • Dave
    • June 16, 2009

    Yes there will be many more writing

  2. Hi. I like the way you write. Will you post some more articles?

    • Dave
    • June 12, 2009

    Hi, no its not copyright protected but I would appreciate a mention of if you use it.



  3. I really like your post. Does it copyright protected?

    • Dave
    • April 28, 2009

    Hi Jack,

    thanks for dropping by, we have lots of differnt rough that I must put up the shop at some stage.



  4. You got some great Rough

    Reminds me of a Yorkshire saying “You cant make a purse out of a sows ear”


    (Jack Yorkshire UK )

  5. absolutely beautiful feldspar work! i think u did great!

    • Dave
    • April 26, 2009

    Why thankyou, I think I am getting hooked on this stuff and already have the next lump selected for slabbing and cabbing, it has lots of golds in it.



  6. Nice work – I love number two especially!

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