The Waterwing/Aquarius/Greenway 2.0 polishing lap

by anthonylloydrees on April 24, 2012

Amost 2 years ago I reviewed the Greenway polishing lap. It was the ultimate Emerald polishing lap in my opinion and I have been enjoying the experience ever since. Then I received a pre-production sample of Jon’s latest brainchild which has turned out to be a considerable improved version over the original Greenway.

With this new design the Greenway chrome oxide polishing section is inlaid into the centre of a sintered diamond pre-polishing lap. The sintered part is a ceramic material formulated to function with water as the lubricant.

There is nothing new about a dual lap, I have a steel/tin lap which I’ve had since the ’70’s. Most dual laps use loose diamond grit on a metal lap for the pre-polish carrier and the lubricant of choice is oil. For most gem material this is not a problem but if the stone has surface reaching inclusions and flaws the black  cutting swarf can be forced into the stone with very difficult to remove staining.

Unfortunately simply using water instead of oil doesn’t fix this problem.  A gem of questionable integrity does not behave predictably and low quality Emeralds tend to tear and pull out more readily when water is used on a metal pre-polishing lap.

The original Greenway will produce a fine polish, even from a 1200 lap, with reasonable expedience, especially if the stone is of modest size. Unfortunately it isn’t instant and facet edges will tend to suffer, not much of a problem except that crack and inclusion edges suffer in a similar manner, making them more obvious than they need to be.

The secret to a perfect polish is a perfect pre-polish and for even the most horrible examples of Emerald sponge I have tried so far, this new lap makes it trivial. It is important to admit that I am a restoration cutter to the jewellery trade and have little or no say in the type or quality of stone that I am called to work on.

Although this lap seems to have been made specifically to address my problems it also has received rave reviews from testers on a variety of other material. There was some discussion about the aggressiveness of the pre-polishing ring and I believe Jon is contemplating having two versions. I have been testing the light version.

I have had no trouble getting a fine pre-polish from 600 grit almost instantly but the facet is reluctant to move unless I add speed.  I have been more careful pointing up my facets with the 600 lap to avoid wasting time. I understand the more aggressive version will easily move facets but as I cut a lot of small stones it may not be such a good idea for me.

A top quality polish, quickly and easily achieved with almost no learning curve makes this lap a winner but its real joy is when you are using it.  With just a light water spray a couple of swipes, clean the facet and on to the innercircle for a couple of more swipes….done. I have resisted making a full sweep from the outer ring to the polish without wiping the facet because I can’t bring myself to do it. Other testers have not been so reluctant and have not reported any contamination. In theory any diamond removed from the outer ring will simply wash away.





Orienting a Moonstone crystal to show off the phenomena

by anthonylloydrees on July 31, 2010

I received this crystal from a customer with the request to facet a checkerboard brilliant oval. I am not a big fan of faceted phenomenal stones as they rarely do justice to the effects. Moonstones are especially suited to low flat cabochons which will display the adularescence optimally. High rounded cabs will have much smaller ‘moons’ but colour and visibility are improved with the extra material.

Video Link:

Well…..Several years back I wrote an article on orienting star stones which to my surprise got printed and passed around to many clubs and got a very warm reception. I thought it would be a good idea to document the orientation of this stone as a guide for any potential moonstone cutters So I got out my camera…

The typical orientation method uses Star Refractol, although very viscous it is still a liquid which works well enough for the intended purpose but when lights (heat) and camera time get involved it starts to become a problem.

So, I thought epoxy resin might be the answer. I mixed up a little and applied it where I thought the orientation centre was located. I then let it dry with the crystal suspended from cheese wax so that the resulting epoxy bulb solidified where I thought the apex would be.

Ah…Hughes epoxy, great stuff but not quick. So, the next day I mounted the stone on my turntable with my trusty cheese wax and with a light source directly above it, I observed the moon in the epoxy bulb. I had missed the mark by a little but it did allow me to easily adjust the crystal orientation to show the position in which a moon would be displayed across the stone in a face-up position. This is of course when the blue moon effect stayed centred on the top of the epoxy bulb as the crystal rotated.

At this point I took some more video from a direct sideways position. What it shows is quite disappointing. It is obvious that there is probably no other way the stone could be oriented to provide a lesser recovery….sigh. Mother Nature does enjoy laughing at us!

With star and eye stones the closer to a hemisphere the crisper and better the display but with schiller, labradorescence and adularascence a flatter stone will display the effect better. With this in mind the possibility of more than two stones has to be considered. I am hoping that other cutters might offer advice if they see these pictures. More so if they are conversant with enough moonstone cutting.

Not having a pair of moonstone scissors I have to consider the kerf loss from sawing this crystal along with the wandering blade and break out chipping likelihood, I’m also considering the cleavage planes deciding to add to the excitement which is more than likely to occur as the stones get thinner. I favour the 2 stone option as this has the highest likelihood of success and probably the best recovery. However I feel the 3 stone option would provide the best results, although the recovery is likely to be less the saleabilty would be much higher.

Who discovered greenscreening in iMovie;

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The Greenway lap by Gearloose

May 8, 2010

I am delighted to relate that I was one of the cutters chosen to test the new Greenway lap. This newest addition to the Gearloose arsenal of fine polishing products is a Chrome Oxide ‘sintered’ lap. This lap requires nothing other than water to function well and produces no residue of consequence. This is not […]

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November 5, 2009

A recent post from Kevin Kelly regarding an American law for a bloggers requirement to divulge receiving free products was the inspiration for this endorsement and blog entry. I probably wouldn’t have made my comments to Orchid readers as this is a lapidary related product and will probably be of little interest to the majority […]

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Gemstone repolishing

September 27, 2009

With gems of serious value, when saving a few points is real money, the increased time involved in locating each original facet and repolishing it, is worth paying for. Other than that repolishing is somewhat of a misnomer because a damaged or abraded stone is invariably recut and then polished. Even if a stone has […]

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September 19, 2009

Well, I do like writing that name almost as much as I enjoy mispronouncing it…. It is ‘better’ known as the iron rich Black Spinel which is currently gaining popularity being cut into tiny faceted stones as a black diamond simulant. It is also lesser known as a simulant for Jewellers Black Onyx. Amusing that […]

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Faceting demonstration

January 31, 2009

I have no problem with having people watch or talk to me when I am cutting and have given a couple of talks to clubs and such. I have even cut in a shop window, so when a gemmologist friend asked me to give a cutting demonstration to his gemmology students, I agreed on the […]

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‘Twas the night before Christmas

December 29, 2008

This is a B.C. Nephrite jade ring that I cut from a block of ‘Cassia chromite’ to fit the 14k white gold mount supplied by my customer. Usually if I am called upon to work on Christmas Eve it’s because some very sad jeweller is in deep trouble from a last minute woops. The only […]

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Bits and pieces

December 8, 2008

Having bits left over is a quite different concern for a lapidary than it is for a motor car mechanic. In this first case I didn’t do anything particularly clever but since I have some pictures of it I have to share. The first picture shows the checker-board cushion rectangle Amethyst that I cut to […]

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Thankyou Hanuman

December 7, 2008

For my first post I have to express my gratitude to Hanuman for giving us all the opportunity to both show and see what’s going on in the workshops, offices and stores of fellow Orchidians. I shall strive to be adequate. Tony.

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