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Congratulations to Bobby1 and his Brazilian Agate Cab!

Another cabochon contest coming soon!

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 on: March 28, 2023, 05:21:44 PM 
Started by 55fossil - Last post by R.U. Sirius
One way to look at it is by understanding that nowadays, we can recognize several extreme categories of content creators, and then understand that each actual creator is likely some mix of these.

(1) People who just like to show and share what they do (or are attempting to do), mostly getting their satisfactions  out of recognition and positive feedback from the audience. Very often this is unreliable content by inexperienced but overly confident makers. Every once in a while, amazing and skilled artists just go ahead and share their insights and techniques. Lyle Sopel, for example.

(2) Those who are creating content that promotes what they may be selling - equipment, rough materials, magazine subscriptions, or classes. In my experience, some of the most educational, curated content currently available falls into this category (Highland Park videos, Gem-A lecture series, William Holland School, L'ÉCOLE School of Jewelry Arts).

(3) People (and, it's already happening, content-creating algorithms) who create content simply to attract viewers so they monetize the engagement through the YouTube advertising system. This is the worst - photoshoped thumbnails designed to catch and mislead attention, paying robot farms to boost view counts, "you won't believe what I found inside this rock!!!" etc. Low-effort content at best.

(4) Disingenuous rockhounds who create "reviews" and other such content promoting other businesses (equipment vendors, fee-dig mining sites) in exchange for kickback payments or freebies, without making these backroom deals clear to the unsuspecting audience.

 on: March 28, 2023, 02:28:22 PM 
Started by 55fossil - Last post by 55fossil
    Just wondering if others are using You Tube to learn about Lapidary things, such as opal cutting.  I have been using it lately to see all the things I wish I had known about cutting Good Opal. Yes, there are tons of posts that are from people that may want to try something different! But there are some awesome posts showing start to finish opal cutting of really high quality as well as average quality Opal Gemstones. I now know for certain I wasted a lot of good Australian opal.
   I have been less impressed with the posts I have watched about cutting and polishing agates and jaspers. Seems there are a lot of nice rock hounds with time on their hand. But even the average posts by bored cutters contain some good information. But some are well, what they are. Many of us here, at least me, do not know which stones are which as I just proved with my post about is it Aventurine or Amazonite. I do not know what so many stones are and have to go by what others tell me.   
   Any thoughts about You Tube posts???

 on: March 28, 2023, 10:26:09 AM 
Started by Eddie P - Last post by Eddie P
Beautiful!  My friends parents owned a rene lalique carved vase with greek women on the sides.  I loved looking at it.  It got thrown from its china cabinet during the Northridge earthquake and when the wife paid a young kid to clean up after the quake to maximize space in the trash can he took the vase and beat the rest of it to dust with a baseball bat.  375k vase as i remember.  such a pity to have it destroyed by someone who didn't know its significance.  What I always find stunning especially in VERY old jewelry work is the skills that they had with very basic tools.
  Wow, that is a scary story.  I hope the insurers paid out.

 on: March 28, 2023, 10:23:44 AM 
Started by Eddie P - Last post by Eddie P
The naturalism, the trompe l'oeil power, of Faberge's flower studies is delightful.  And I am fairly sure the illusion of a solid quartz vase-of-water was his invention. 

 on: March 27, 2023, 04:52:55 PM 
Started by lithicbeads - Last post by VegasJames
Beautiful. Never seen actinolite that light green before. All our actinolite around here is very dark green and is in the asbestos form.

 on: March 26, 2023, 09:55:19 PM 
Started by R.U. Sirius - Last post by R.U. Sirius
I'll add my own prediction... the availability of good lapidary rough will become scarce and more valuable.  I don't even need to invoke any sorcery for this prediction as I've watched it come true in my lifetime.

Definitely I can see this coming, especially with the recent big global push to protect large areas as ecological reserves. COP15 outcomes are a good example - mining will certainly not be an option in large portions of signatory countries, especially not at a couple of dollars per pound of material.

 on: March 26, 2023, 02:15:25 PM 
Started by R.U. Sirius - Last post by bilquest
Interesting question, and interesting response!  As a technologist (day job) I've been watching this AI hoopla with a wandering eyeball.  I'll just say this about what is being called 'AI' these days... it is not AI, but merely predictive response based upon mountains of searchable data.  Call me when AI starts coming up with its own questions.

I liked the response, and have even contemplated the use of CNC for doing micro inlay and such.  I think some lapidarists are already using some of these techniques based on the level of detail I've seen in recent work.  Personally, I polish rocks as a 180 from my 8-to-5 gig.  There's something therapeutic about working lithic treasures after a long day at the keyboard.

I'll add my own prediction... the availability of good lapidary rough will become scarce and more valuable.  I don't even need to invoke any sorcery for this prediction as I've watched it come true in my lifetime.

 on: March 25, 2023, 08:37:16 PM 
Started by Eddie P - Last post by R.U. Sirius
Hope people won't mind me posting an example from Faberge, made some 10-20 years prior to the Cartier creation above: Flower Study of forget-me-nots.

 on: March 25, 2023, 09:40:57 AM 
Started by R.U. Sirius - Last post by R.U. Sirius
Peruano, I guess it comes down to one's expectations. I wasn't expecting much, and I do have some decent understanding of how these systems work. Actually for such a niche topic with not much quality data out there, I was expecting a total miss.

Still, the points that came out (shift to more advanced machinery beyond grinding wheels, concerns with ethical sourcing and production, CAD, etc.) I feel are quite valid and are actually unfolding as I write.

As for the second-year students, i am afraid your perspective is based on different, better times. I work with university students of various backgrounds, and rarely see broad knowledge and thinking that would lead to a relevant bullet-point overview of this kind if you put them on the spot and give them a minute or two (unless the specific topic is exactly in their area of research - and even then, a good chunk of them wouldn't be able to independently produce an overview like this).

Anyway, I was hoping for a discussion around the points made, not the AI. Let's not stare at the finger that's pointing to the Moon...

 on: March 25, 2023, 09:34:13 AM 
Started by 55fossil - Last post by vitzitziltecpatl
Yep, 55fossil, the aventurescence is the first thing I saw. I've always liked those sparkles.

It's easy to cut off-axis where you don't get the full effect, but you have some nice flashy ones there. has a nice page showing the variety of colors that can be found at

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