By Ted Grussing
… in this house is not infrequently brought to a grinding halt by the in house deity as she exercises dominion over her territory. Such was the case a few days ago whilst I was preforming a few pieces of gem silica before dopping them up and faceting them. Here you can see how One took over the faceting machine and there was to be no grinding … the flat diamond lap was silent under the black towel covering it and the work flow on the other side of the room was busy until she decided to find a more comfortable location to ponder the universe. For reference, the lap area of the faceting machine is only 10” in diameter and there is a spindle in the middle.
From left, GIA lab microscope, paper towels (essential) cat on black towel on faceting machine lap (not essential) some gem silica rough (chrysacolla) and the mast with the essentials for holding the gem and laying in the facets. The cardboard cases leaning against the wall are the six most frequently used laps I have … have about 40 laps, mostly diamond but a variety of polish laps including one of bees wax for some very soft gem materials. Typically I will start with a 260 grit, then 600 grit, then 1200 grit and then to the polish laps although sometimes I will go to a 3000 or 8000 grit diamond lap before the polish. You have to hit the same angles and orientation for each facet on each lap …
The inset in the upper left corner shows it in operation with the stone (heliolite – facet grade of Oregon Sunstone) at a 90 degree angle as I was shaping the stone to a perfect round before faceting the pavilion (lower part of the stone). Faceting is simply precision grinding and polishing of a pattern of facets at different angles and orientation and the purpose of the pavilion facets is to blow the light gathered by the crown (top) back out the top of the stone … a brilliant and happy stone when the proper angles are laid in … lay in angles that are off so that you can have a heavier stone and a lot of the light will leak out the bottom and you don’t have a bright happy stone. This is frequently the case with commercially cut stones where maximum weight is the goal … gems are sold by weight after all.
In gemstones the usual unit of weight is the carat … one carat equals 1/5th of a gram. Karat with the K is a measurement of purity of the metal … 24k is pure, 22k is 91.67% pure, 18k is 75% pure and 14k is 58.3% pure. 22kyg means 22 karat yellow gold 22kwg is 22 karat white gold and the purity of the metal is normally stamped inside the ring or back of other jewelry. My preferences are to work in either 22kyg or 18kyg.
Time for a wrap on the day and another beautiful one just beginning … I just looked out at a sky full of stars and galaxies … what a privilege to be alive!
At nightfall…though I know I shall sometime no more
Open my eyes to the light or day, I am one who looks at stars when
Unchained from the work-bench at Nightfall.
They are a sign that I am not ephemeral,
Not you, nor you, whoever you are.
The dawn comes and the dark and the sign sparkling in the brooding night,
Forever and forever.
— Max Ehrmann
The easiest way to reach Mr. Grussing is by email: email@example.com
In addition to sales of photographs already taken Ted does special shoots for patrons on request and also does air-to-air photography for those who want photographs of their airplanes in flight. All special photographic sessions are billed on an hourly basis.
Ted also does one-on-one workshops for those interested in learning the techniques he uses. By special arrangement Ted will do one-on-one aerial photography workshops which will include actual photo sessions in the air.
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