A Jane Penman Necklace begins with the stone. This section is about some of the stones I use. The above photograph is of a piece of Nevada Gem Variscite from the Calendaria Mine. The top is rough stone straight from the mine. The bottom stone is a similar piece that I shaped and polised on a six wheel Genie,which is a specific ginder and polisher.
I aquire rough rock from rock dealers, a few of which specialize in specific stones. Nevada Gem Variscite comes directly from two mines in Nevada.
The Alaskan stones, such as Honeycomb, Red, and Stingray Fossil Corals come from a rock dealer and artist that has retail shop and artist studio in Southeast Alaska. Otherwise for the most part, I go to local rock and gem shows in Washington and Oregon. In 2005 and 2006 I went to the Tucson Rock and Gem Show. Both shows were before I even had a notion that I would become involved with lapidary. Somehow, I brought back rough stone from both shows.
The sizes of stone that I start with vary from small pieces that are just enough for one necklace (or brooch) to twenty pound boulders. Some stone that I use has already been sliced into slabs and others I need to slice. I have three small lapidary saws. They have diamond blades that are run with water and a special lubricant. The large boulders require 18" to 24" blades that are run with oil. I purchased an 18" saw but sold it , as I realized that I wasn't really into tweeking and maintaining the saw. For larger pieces I use the facilities and expertise of the Mount Baker Rock and Gem Club in Bellingham. Many thanks to Ward Lynch, Garth Arneson, and others who have helped me.
Next, I cut interesting pieces off the the slabs. I use the stone and instinct as a guide rather than the usual use of a template to trace a pattern. I cut
a lot at one time, as it is a messy procedure, which takes a bit of clean-up.
Then, I shape the stone on my Genie, which has six one and a half inch wide wheels. The wheels use water, so that the stone doesn't get too hot and to so that there isn't rock dust in the air. However, there is
splattering rock sludge from the ground off stone, which mixing with the water in the trays of the machine. There are two diamond grinding wheels,
an 80 grit and a 220 grit. There are also four diamond resin wheel for sanding and polishing, which are 280, 600, 1200, and 3000 grits.
I then use two eight inch expandable rubber drums, or wheels, that are each three inches wide. I have three special polishing belts to use on them.