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Gemstones Archive

Tumbling Rock

Posted July 14, 2010 By Admin

Half the fun of rock tumbling is in the search for suitable rocks that will polish beautifully.  You can find these in a variety of places such as the beach, rivers and creeks, etc.

In short, whenever you are in the Great Outdoors, you should be keeping your eyes open for good tumbling rocks.  However, we have been asked many times if we can supply tumbling rocks for those just starting out in the hobby.

So in response to this demand, we are now very pleased to announce that we offer mixed colour rocks for you to try your hand at tumbling. Offered in 2 convenient sizes suitable for the most popular 3 pound barrels:

Tumbling Rock from Aussie Sapphire

These rocks are randomly selected from a mixed unidentified lot but will include a variety of quartz type rocks with colours ranging from white, green, pink, orange, grey, etc as shown in the photo above.

Black Spinel in India

Posted November 25, 2008 By AussieSapphire

Aussie Sapphire has long been a fan of Black Spinel and we take pride in being able to offer one of the largest range of calibrated sizes anywhere.  So it is always good to see others extol the virtues of this wonderful gemstone.

Came across this article in the Indian media recently which clearly outlines all the advantages of Black Spinel that we’ve been talking about for some years.  But it also had some really interesting snippets about how black gems are used in Indian culture.

The writer talks about a well-known custom in India for babies to wear bracelets on both wrists for the first year to ward off evil – the bracelets using beads of gold and black gemstones.   I have read of this custom elsewhere so it does appear to be an established custom.

He also mentions the Mangalsutra – one of the most important symbols of a Hindu marriage, traditionally worn by a married woman until her husband’s death.  The Mangalsutra usually consists of a gold ornament strung from a yellow thread, a string of black beads or a gold chain (or some combination of those elements) – it is said that the black beads are a protection from evil and so are an important part of the design.

An example of Mangalsutra from Mumbai Pluses

An example of Mangalsutra from Mumbai Pluses

The examples above show some great modern variations on the traditional designs – see more about this trend at this Mumbai Pluses Blog article.

cheers for now from Andrew and Leah (Aussie Sapphire)

New To Australia Two Exciting New Dealerships.

Posted November 17, 2008 By AussieSapphire

Exclusive new dealership for Aussie Sapphire
Australia’s Favourite Lapidary & Gem Shop

The Omni Faceting Machine – NO LONGER AVAILABLE (as of January 2009).

IMPORTANT NOTE:  we are no longer dealers for OMNI faceting machines.  If you are interested in purchasing an OMNI, please contact them directly here:  http://www.jerseyinstruments.com/

Aussie Sappire are proud to announce that we are now exclusive Dealers in Australia for the Omni faceting machine.  Orders taken now with the next machine expected in about 2-3 weeks.

Omni – Designed by Laurie Hall and Manufactured by Jersey Instruments (in the USA).  The OMNI faceting machine is a collaborative effort with Laurie Hall who for the past 35 years has been building production quality faceting machines for the gem cutting fields in Qld Australia.   We believe this NEW MODEL Omni is a great improvement on the already extremely popular Hall Xtra. It features as standard a Digital Zero Reference Faceting (protractor) and “meet point” indicator.  It has a small footprint but big impact – improvements in splash pan design have overcome the spindle bearings problems sometimes reported in early models of the Omni and Hall.

Now the Hall Faceting Machine Fans have another option that boasts extra features and design improvements PLUS no long waiting lists!  Call Aussie Sapphire now if you have queries about the Omni.

USA made Design by Laurie Hall QLD

USA made Design by Laurie Hall QLD

Darkside now Down Under

Aussie Sapphire are now Stocking Dealers for the famous BATT and BRAND NEW Darkside Polishing Laps.
Developed by Gearloose in the USA, the BATT Lap is a superior tin alloy (lead free) which has been the number one pick of many expert cutters in the USA for years.  Now after much testing, Gearloose has released the Darkside, a brand new winner in gem polishing.

Be among the first in Australia to benefit from this POLISHING REVOLUTION.  The DARKSIDE™ is a brand new lightweight lap, made of  specially developed material (composite polymer) coated onto an aluminum baseplate.  The Darkside lap is designed for polishing only – you will NOT be able to cut with the DARKSIDE™ as you can with the BATT.

Like all Gearloose laps, the polishing mechanism relies on surface complexity for polish retention, and lubricity for reduced heating and higher polishing efficiency. Some users have gotten three pavilions done before needing to add more diamond. Because the composite contains carbon, it has a natural affinity for diamond, but the hydrophilic domains accept oxide polishes.

Suer Closeup of the Darkside Lap

Super Closeup of the Darkside Lap

See this discussion on Gemology Online for comments by both the manufacturer and gem cutters about using this new lap.

Last thing – the new Print Catalogue has been sent off to the printers so we hope to be able to send these out quite soon.

Cheers for now Andrew (www.aussiesapphire.com.au)

New Lapidary Forum

Posted November 12, 2008 By AussieSapphire

It has been clear the our Aussie Sapphire website has been getting more of a lapidary focus.  One really important part of this new focus is providing advice and support to those new to the lapidary hobby.

As such, we have decided to start a brand new forum for anyone interested in rocks and gems – this is a free service hosted and administered by Aussie Sapphire.  It is open to everyone with an interest in lapidary and gems so please join up and get involved.  Membership is absolutely free to all and registration just takes a few moments.

Hope to see you there:
Aussie Lapidary Forum

cheers from Andrew and Leah (www.aussiesapphire.com.au)

Gem Display & Storage Options

Posted October 16, 2008 By AussieSapphire

You only need a few gems before you need to consider how best to store and display them.  There are a multitude of options out there but as always, some products are better than others.  After many years working with gems, we can give you a few tips on what to look out for.

Gem Boxes
We strongly recommend using boxes with glass lids.  Plastic lid boxes or round pods might be cheaper but they will scratch and become unusable very quickly.  Glass lids are far superior – anything less is false economy.

It is critical to identify your gems clearly and if you can add the important details such as weight and dimensions, it will make life much easier later.  There are many ways to do this but if you are using gem boxes such as ours, we find it easiest to write the details on the bottom or side of the box iusing a fine permanent marker.  This is easily removed with acetone (or nail polish remover) when required but is a quick and convenient way of labelling gems.  You can use sticky labels but these tend to leave a sticky residue upon removal and is just an unnecessary hassle.

Inserts generally come in black or white and may be reversible.  We generally use white inserts which are suitable for almost all coloured gemstones but stock some black insert boxes for our opal customers where the play of colour seems to show up better on black. 

Display Cases
Once you accumulate a few gems, display cases are a great way to show off your collection.   We believe that the cases holding individual gem boxes are the best option as these hold your gems securely and allow you to label them clearly to avoid confusion.  These are available in a range of sizes so choose the one which suits you best.

Some people prefer cases which can hold a number of gems without individual boxes.  These usually come in two styles – the traditional “dimple” case and the newer style “ridged” case.  The “dimple” case generally has a felt pad indented with rows of holes where the gems sit.  This case is traditionally used by gem faceters but has a number of serious problems – mainly that the gems are prone to falling out and there is no way of labelling individual gems.  The newer style “ridged” case has a leatherette interior formed into rows where the gems sit much more securely and you can label the gems more easily if required.

We’ve all had the experience of slightly tilting one of the old “dimple” cases and then spending the next hour on the floor searching for lost gems.  This just does not happen with the new “ridged” cases – just take a look at this demonstration on the video:

Aussie Sapphire stocks these cases in 3 sizes as well as the gem box display cases in a range of sizes.  Take a look at our gem display category for more information.

Plastic Bags or Diamond Paper?
Once you start getting into commercial quantities of gems, space becomes an issue and some need to move to plastic bag or diamond paper storage.  I have to admit, we prefer plastic bags simply because it is easier to see what is inside at a glance.  Buy good quality plastic (not the thin flimsy ones) with white strips for writing details on them but this is a cheap and convenient option.  Diamond or gem papers are available in a range of colours to best display your chosen gems – there is a knack to folding them correctly and you should practice this so it becomes second nature.  Both plastic bags or papers can be compactly stored in boxes in a secure location.

It is not recommended to store more than one gem at a time inside a bag or paper – softer gems may chip or wear if continually jostled against each other inside a bag. 

Take-home message is simply this – gems are beautiful so dont hide them away in a cupboard!!  Display them properly so you can enjoy them and show them off proudly.

cheers for now from Andrew and Leah (Aussie Sapphire)