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  What we do...

We start with raw material—rock and specimens right out of the ground from all over the world. Much of our raw material is acquired at the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show—the largest such show in the world—where the originating mines sell raw rock and slabs.

TUCSON INTERNATIONAL GEM AND MINERAL SHOW

 

 

Raw rocks often don't look like much... until they're cut with a diamond saw. Then their true potential starts to show itself. [1]

[1]

 

 

 

 

Using big diamond saws, the raw rock is sliced into slabs [2a]....

 

 

 

 

 

...which are then marked with the shapes of the final jewelry pieces, both freeform and geometric. [2b]

  [2a]

DIAMOND SLAB SAW

 

[2b]

SHAPES OF FINAL STONES ARE

INSCRIBED ON SLABS

 

 

 

 

 

Following the outlines of the desired shapes, the slabs are trimmed with smaller diamond saws [3a] ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

...into the approximate shape of the final piece, ready for grinding. [3b]

 

[3a]

DIAMOND TRIM SAW

[3b]

READY FOR GRINDING

 

 

 

 

The rough-shaped stone achieves its final shape in the grinding step. [4a] Grinding stones into shape requires progressively finer, smoother wheels. Intitally, the shape of the stones is refined with a 60 or 80 grit wheel. The "grit" rating refers to the roughness. A 60-grit wheel has 60 grinding particles to a single inch.

 

 

 

 

 

Up to about 300 grit, the grinding is still shaping the stone. Above that (400 to 1,200 grit), each successive wheel is removing the scratches from the surface of the shaped stone. From 3,000 grit to as high as 100,000 grit, the scratches become so small that the surface of the stone starts taking on a mirror shine. [4b]

 

[4a]

GRINDING ROUGH SHAPES

INTO FINAL SHAPES

[4b]

THE FINAL GROUND SHAPE

READY FOR POLISH

 

 

 

 

 

 

After polishing, the resulting stone, referred to as a cabochon, is ready to be fashioned into jewelry. [5]

 

[5]

POLISHED STONE (PLUME AGATE)

READY FOR SETTING

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the completed jewelry piece [6] is ready for you...

 

[6]

CHAROITE (SIBERIA)

IN STERLING SILVER