Labradorite Slabs

I am considering offering Labradorite slabs soon in our shop.

I am considering offering Labradorite slabs soon in our shop.

These will be offered in a rough finished form for use by Lapidaries to create their own cabochons.

The rough slabs would be approximately 6mm thick and would vary is other dimensions according to the rough it was cut from.

I can also offer these Labradorite slabs with one face polished for display purposes or I can create completely finished cabochons.

The finished Labradorite cabochons would be ideal for use by jewellery designers and could be custom made if required.

However, before I embark on this project I would like to gauge the interest in the UK market.

I am aware that many Lapidaries own smaller rock saws and are limited in what they can do with rough by the size of their saw. However, with the slabs I am proposing they would be able to be trimmed on a smaller saw as well.

Please let me know if you would be interested in Labradorite slabs as described above by posting a comment.

Thanks

Dave

Labradorite Cabochon Wrapped In 925 Sterling Silver Wire

I selected two of the Labradorite freeform cabochons from the first batch I had recently created, I was looking for the two that had the best display of labradorecense.

I selected two of the Labradorite freeform cabochons from the first batch I had recently created, I was looking for the two that had the best display of labradorecense. Having selected these it was time to set about wrapping them in 925, 21 gauge sterling silver wire. For these Labradorite pendants I used both square and half round wire.

I spent a lot of time finding the correct orientation for these cabs to ensure that there would be a good display of the labradorecense when they are worn as pendants, having established this it was time to start wrapping.

The first is an oval shaped freeform which presented some challenges in terms of securing the cabochon in a manner that prevents the wire from hiding the beauty of the Labradorite, as you can see from the picture below this was achieved by keeping most of the wire around the edges of the cab with just a few bends to actually hold the cab in place.

Large wrapped freeform Labradorite cabochon

This pendant is now for sale on http://www.jewellerybyshalini.co.uk

The second cab presented more of challenge because the best position to show off the labradorecense effect was a bit unconventional, but as you can see I settled on staying with the having the vast majority of the wire wrapping around the edges of the stone and then just a bend at each corner to secure the cabochon. The top of the stone did pose a few problems but by creating the bail first I was able to get everything tight and then just made a small bend at the front and back to secure the top of the cabochon in place.

Wire wrapped Labradorite Freeform Cabochon

Labradorite jewellery is perhaps one of the most beautiful one can create but because the labradorecense effect can only be seen in certain orientations, it offers many challenges both when creating the cabochon and the finished piece of jewellery, but these challenges are what make it such a rewarding stone to work with.

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