Friday, July 31, 2015

Grinding and Polishing - Mojave Stone and Opals


 This is my JoolTool.  I first saw it demonstrated at "Metal Clay by the Bay" and thought about buying it for a day.  I bought it with the metal clay kit and was delighted with both the time saving and the finished product.  Then several months later I bought the polymer clay package.  I was equally happy with the time saving and the end product.
For those of you who are not familiar with this product, it has a variety of sanding and polishing discs that easily screw on the vertical spike.  The discs have slots evenly spaced and when they turn you can see what you are working on.  Less mistakes and less time spent sanding and polishing.

Last February I went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  Since I had been to Australia I wanted to find some black opal from there.  The finished pieces proved too expensive for my budget.  Fortunately a friend and I found a booth with rough unfinished Black Opal.  I decided to buy some (having no idea how to select the better quality).
Australian Black Opal in the rough

I bought 4 pieces and thought that sometime I would buy the lapidary kit for my JoolTool and polish them myself.  That's what I bought myself for my birthday in May!  It took until now to get my courage up and try the lapidary kit.  I started with some broken cabochons of Mojave Stone that my dad and brothers had mined in the Mojave Desert.  After a little practice I ground the one with both ends broken to make a bead.  I still have to drill the hole!  But the piece came out really well.
broken both ends
ground and polished both ends!


I also ground and polished the end of this broken cabochon and plan to make a silver cap for it.  Then it will be a pendant.


Since that went so well, I started on the opals.  I had lots to learn having only watched my dad make cabochons many years ago.  I did not know the matrix for the opal was mud like.  I also did not know who to really shape a piece or what to look for in selecting an area for jewelry.  I decided to take out the mud-like filling and see what was left of the stone.  The first piece was small and I basically ground it to dust.  It was a good learning piece!  The second piece  was flat and once the mud was gone I could shape it into a piece that would work for a pendant.  I like the pattern and the color on it.

Second piece - for a pendant
The third piece was fun to work on as it had caves and crevices that appeared as the mud was removed.  I've decided to keep it natural and enjoy the shape and colors as they are.

Third piece - one view

Third piece - another view
The fourth piece stole my heart!  As I removed the 'mud' this heart began to take shape.  It has lots of color and shapes made with fractures and it has a cave like indentation in the center.  I'm not sure what will become of this piece.  Should I leave it and enjoy it or should I set it and have a pendent?  Ideas?  Comments are welcome!

Fourth Piece- my heart



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Friday, July 31, 2015

Grinding and Polishing - Mojave Stone and Opals


 This is my JoolTool.  I first saw it demonstrated at "Metal Clay by the Bay" and thought about buying it for a day.  I bought it with the metal clay kit and was delighted with both the time saving and the finished product.  Then several months later I bought the polymer clay package.  I was equally happy with the time saving and the end product.
For those of you who are not familiar with this product, it has a variety of sanding and polishing discs that easily screw on the vertical spike.  The discs have slots evenly spaced and when they turn you can see what you are working on.  Less mistakes and less time spent sanding and polishing.

Last February I went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  Since I had been to Australia I wanted to find some black opal from there.  The finished pieces proved too expensive for my budget.  Fortunately a friend and I found a booth with rough unfinished Black Opal.  I decided to buy some (having no idea how to select the better quality).
Australian Black Opal in the rough

I bought 4 pieces and thought that sometime I would buy the lapidary kit for my JoolTool and polish them myself.  That's what I bought myself for my birthday in May!  It took until now to get my courage up and try the lapidary kit.  I started with some broken cabochons of Mojave Stone that my dad and brothers had mined in the Mojave Desert.  After a little practice I ground the one with both ends broken to make a bead.  I still have to drill the hole!  But the piece came out really well.
broken both ends
ground and polished both ends!


I also ground and polished the end of this broken cabochon and plan to make a silver cap for it.  Then it will be a pendant.


Since that went so well, I started on the opals.  I had lots to learn having only watched my dad make cabochons many years ago.  I did not know the matrix for the opal was mud like.  I also did not know who to really shape a piece or what to look for in selecting an area for jewelry.  I decided to take out the mud-like filling and see what was left of the stone.  The first piece was small and I basically ground it to dust.  It was a good learning piece!  The second piece  was flat and once the mud was gone I could shape it into a piece that would work for a pendant.  I like the pattern and the color on it.

Second piece - for a pendant
The third piece was fun to work on as it had caves and crevices that appeared as the mud was removed.  I've decided to keep it natural and enjoy the shape and colors as they are.

Third piece - one view

Third piece - another view
The fourth piece stole my heart!  As I removed the 'mud' this heart began to take shape.  It has lots of color and shapes made with fractures and it has a cave like indentation in the center.  I'm not sure what will become of this piece.  Should I leave it and enjoy it or should I set it and have a pendent?  Ideas?  Comments are welcome!

Fourth Piece- my heart



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