What to do with rough sapphires?
June 10, 2007 9:55 PM Subscribe
I'm no lapidary but I need to separate some sapphires from the surrounding rock and polish them (slightly, I want them to stay rough, no shaping/mounting.) How can I do this without spending multiple paychecks on professional lapidary stuffs?
posted by Phyltre to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
After unexpectedly befriending the owner of the Old Pressley Sapphire Mine in NC, I got some (delicious) personal time with a chisel, hammer, and bountiful cliff side. As a result I've got several pounds of specimen sapphires still in their gleaming white surroundings...and, in a month, will probably have twice as much. They're not quite ring quality but they're beautiful grays, the sort that become cabochons. Because they're useless locked in the rock, I need to extract them. I also want to polish them slightly so they're more appreciable.
The problem is, I can't afford professional lapidary equipment. As a corollary, though, I don't need professional results--so what can I do? I've done some preliminary research online but I can't find any good resources with the obvious keywords. And I know firsthand that commonly available diamond Dremel tips grind down/disintegrate(!) when faced with rock, but maybe I need special tips? Rockhounds, unite!