The Eye Of The Beholder

I got a fantastic facet-grade Gladstone smoky quartz crystal recently from Richard at the Zeehan Rock Shop.

Gladstone champagne-coloured smoky quartz crystal

The aim was to create something big, interesting and unique. Now, the crystal is already just that in its natural state, so I decided to try and preserve some of what makes it so nice already, while at the same time exposing some of its other beautiful features. Now, one of the neat properties of the crystal is the well-formed hexagonal cross-section, I decided to preserve this natural six-sided prism shape whilst still using faceting techniques to add something extra – in an optical sense.

Showing scale, Zeehan in background!

I will ultimately cut two stones out of the crystal, so I sliced it neatly – almost in half. The crystal termination (or pointy end) makes for a good natural preform for a pavilion.

I chose a hexagonal cut for the pavilion facet component, “Hard Roku” by Marco Voltolini.

Hard Roku faceting design to be used.

So, I created the pavilion according to the angles of the Hard Roku design above, with an interesting transition from polished facet to dimpled natural crystal face. The natural but imperfect hexagonal crystal shape means that the faceting is not exactly symmetrical, but I like that – and I think it works.

Natural slightly water-worn hexagonal crystal faces still visible on the side
I’ve called  it “The Eye Of The Beholder

That big round facet up front took hours to polish. The effect is mesmerising, like a natural kaleidoscope – at the right angle you get the ability to look far into the optical and crystallographic axis of the crystal, in fact an illusion is created where you appear to be seeing further than the length of the stone itself, into what eerily resembles an eye. Note that it is very hard to capture this effect in a photograph, however.

The rim is frosted and light from the back facets projects onto it.

The Eye Of The Beholder (side)

The stone comes in at about 48 grams, and 40mm across the flats at the widest dimension.

Indicolite – blue tourmaline project

Cutting exercise – blue tourmaline crystal.

Indicolite crystal above and below with its lovely ‘garden’ which will be revealed a little later in this story.

Indicolite is a rare, steely-blue coloured form of tourmaline highly prized as a gemstone. Above are two views of a piece of rough I have at hand weighing around 18ct. You can see in these pictures a bit of the blue-green dichroism typical of tourmaline exhibited by viewing the crystal in different directions.

The tourmaline piece is included, however I feel like using this as a feature – any inclusions present will hopefully provide extra interest to the stone when cut.

This interest is sometimes called the garden, a term often used when describing the rich suite of inclusions typically present in emeralds. Just in this case my garden has blue grass. If you want a stone as clear as glass, go and get a synthetic one I say, they’re real cheap, lol. I am sure the jewellery store at the local shopping mall will be able to help.

I have ground a small flat plane on one crystal edge to provide a base for securely  dopping (affixing) the stone to a small brass holder (dop) using super glue (cyanoacrylate).

Dopped and ready for some cutting action
Think I’ll use this, simple but effective..

The cut is designed to give a nice colour flash when rocked along the long-axis. I like flashes in faceted stones – it’s the light-return happening, its real purty. This cut has 90.7% light return as specified by the designer … nice. What this means in simpler terms is that of all the photons (light rays) incident on the facets of the top crown, around 90% of them are bounced back into your waiting eyes. This is a good thing. Who wants a dull stone? The astute may notice that I have oriented the stone at 90 degrees to the cutting diagram above, so my colour flash should happen when the completed stone is rocked along the short axis.

Cutting the pavilion
Messy work!
Pre-polish in progress
Pre-polish has revealed the insides
Transfer in progress
Transfer complete, let’s start the crown.

Pre-polish in progress
Pre-polish the table facet
Start the final polish
Just about done
Yeah, it’s done
Complete
A stone with some personality!

Yes, the stone is flawed. I think it is still worthwhile, attractive and of value. After all, we are all deeply-flawed human beings I say. It’s up to us to make the most of any strengths to offset any perceived weaknesses.

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