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Funky Fossil


#1

Hello Orchidians,

I have to give some advice to someone and dont know just what advice
to give!

Recently one of my co-workers was showing off a pendant that her
Boyfriend had specially made for her for christmans. She said it was
a rare fossil seed that her partner had found on a hike in the
nearby hills. I asked to look at it and there was a globby basalt
colored core, about 20 mm in dia, with what at first looked like a
flattened seed husk surrounding it front to back on one side. Set
well in an 18 karat pronged ring open setting. I was skeptical as to
it being a fossil because of the location it came from is an eroded
basalt volcanic plug, and it seemed a bit heavy for its size. I
looked at it up close and sure enough, there was a stamp from a
manufacture, a capital “U” on the reverse side. It was a flattened
copper jacketed bullet. About a .45 cal. A pretty neat little found
object if your o.k. with where it may have been…, Certainly not a
fossil. The pendant is well done and a highly sentimental daily wear
item. But a 20mm flattened glob of lead is not exactly the thing to
wear against your skin. She doesnt want her boyfriend to find out
its not what he thinks it is. She wants to have it coated or ??? I
had thought of laquers or acrylic sprays, but those would wear
through. I dont think it can be plated, or can it? The lead is
corroded and weathered enough to look very similar to rock. The
copper jacket “seedcoat” is starting to shine up a little on the
highlights. She would idealy like that to halt as well. I also
thought that there may be a way to coat the lead with UV curing
ceramic, but I have no experience in that. While she understands
that its not going to be ivisible the more discreet a coating the
better. I think she will probably have to give in and tell him what
it is, as I dont feel it can be coated without it looking like its
coated. I am sure he would wonder why that was done. But any input
on how she can make this piece a healthier item to wear appreciated.
I’m stumped

Thanks,
Barney
Joyful Crow Fine Metalworks


#2

To Joy:

Maybe a suggestion to your friend could include the idea that since
the ‘fossil’ is so valuable and unique, it should be housed more
safely in your home, preferably inside a cabinet (locked). This
would create a permanent solution where the piece could be seen and
not touched. No one would know the wiser about its real domain.

Best wishes,
june


#3

Barney,

As an avocational paleontologist, this one yanked my chain.

If it’s not a fossil, why perpetuate the idea that it IS one and why
add to it the fabrication that it is valuable and rare?

Ideally, my thought is that your friend should tell her boyfriend
what you told her. The longer she keeps the secret the further the
repercussions will reach. If she can’t or won’t tell him, the next
best suggestion (and a small prevarication) would be to have her
suggest they take it to a nearby natural history museum or a college
with a geology department and have a professional tell them what kind
of “fossil” it is! She can say she’s curious to know more about it
(remember, provenance is what makes an antique more valuable). If
they make the visit together, they can have a good laugh together
about being fooled. Then, the “fossil” could be gracefully retired to
a jewelry box or even placed in a display case as a private joke
between them.

The museum where I’ve volunteered for years gets visits like this
all the time - it’s no big deal, though the people who visit
sometimes feel a little foolish. People bring in “dinosaur eggs” or
"dinosaur bones" that are just unusually shaped rocks. The curator of
paleontology at the museum makes a visit several times a year because
someone found a “dinosaur” when they were digging their pool. Once in
a while, it might be something like a mammoth or a fossil turtle, but
it usually turns out to be old sheep or cow bones or even a healthy
imagination!

Honesty IS the best policy!

Deb Weller


#4
it should be housed more safely in your home, preferably inside a
cabinet (locked). This would create a permanent solution where the
piece could be seen and not touched. No one would know the wiser
about its real domain. 

I’ve been following this delightful story with smiles - but I fail
to understand this post. Why locked away? Can’t it be stabilized so
the brass doesn’t show? What a sweet boyfriend, despite his lack of
natural history skill!

Roseann Hanson
Desert Rose Design Studio
www.desertrosedesignstudio.com
Tucson, Arizona
520-591-0508 voice/message
866-421-1813 toll-free fax


#5
The longer she keeps the secret the further the repercussions will
reach.

I couldn’t agree more! But I think her hesitation isn’t at all to
protect its identity as his gesture in having it made. Which I think
is totally valid regardless of what it actually is. Your statement
still stands however, as it will eventually unravel, and the sooner
the better. I applaud your solution as well, it has heart, and is
about as win-win as its going to get. I didn’t think there was any
way to really make this item wearable safely without pretty much
encasing it in something. This way its still special and can be
viewed. Thanks. An interesting note is the boyfriend wont tell her
which jeweler in town did the piece. Maybe he thinks she wants to
find out what it costs, I am not sure. But what she is curious to,
is why the goldsmith didn’t notice what it was, if not by its
appearance, by its considerable weight. Hmm!!.


#6
    to understand this post. Why locked away? Can't it be
stabilized so 

Because of the lead! He’s trying to kill her and ensure that all
their future children are damaged! She needs to take action
immediately to try to keep the lead from getting into her bones.
Once it’s in your bones, you can’t get it out, but then if your
bones weaken when you’re old, the lead can come back out!

Lead is really, really bad stuff! Don’t take any chances and forget
about hurting feelings.

Calming down now…

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#7
    Because of the lead!  He's trying to kill her and ensure that
all their future children are damaged!  She needs to take action
immediately to try to keep the lead from getting into her bones.
Once it's in your bones, you can't get it out, but then if your
bones weaken when you're old, the lead can come back out! 

The world’s is much changed. When I was a child, we used to chew
lead fishing sinkers when we had no gum.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
http://www.goldwerx.com
@Red_Rodder
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler / CAD/CAM Solutions


#8
   Lead is really, really bad stuff!  Don't take any chances and
forget about hurting feelings. 

Yes, Elaine, but I think you may be slightly overstating the
situation. Lead poisoning is indeed not a nice thing. But by far
the most dangerous forms of lead are as fumes, or dusts, or as some
more easily absorbed chemical compounds, or the fumes as found when
melting or casting lead or alloys containing it. The metallic form,
like this bullet or the traditional lead block long used by many
jewelers as a forming tool, is not actually all that dangerous.
Residues that are left on the hands after handling, are not easily
absorbed in that form, especially not though the thicker skin of
the hands. And in this case, the lead object is not held in actual
contact with the finger. Lead is not like mercury. it does not give
off fumes unless heated. Now, residues on the skin can transfer to
food and be ingested, and that’s clearly a bad thing. But to
suggest that this ring with a lead containing item mounted to the
front is gonna kill the girl, is kind of an overstatement, I think.
I’m NOT trying to say lead is totally safe. But lets be a little
realistic about the risks. It’s Ok to calm down to the level of
simply alert and reasonable… (grin)

Peter


#9

Okay, but still not understanding. It’s a bullet casing, as
described. These are made from brass, not lead. I don’t have the
original post any more, but my understanding is that it is flattened
and encrusted over. If it’s mounted on silver or gold, unless she’s
using it as a spoon it won’t even get any brass on her…


#10

It occurred to me that perhaps folks are confusing a bullet and a
casing. The bullet IS lead. It was inside the casing, which is brass.
If this is a spent cartridge, the casing is empty (bullet is the part
that goes out the barrel). Minute particles of lead inside the casing
perhaps but unless someone is eating with it or doing some other
thing to tranfer said particles…i don’t see the dangers. There’s
far more dangerous stuff to spend your worries on (anyone hear about
airborne mercury moving from the Midwest and settling in NE forests
and getting in to the water?).

Roseann


#11
        Yes, Elaine, but I think you may be slightly overstating
the situation. Lead poisoning is indeed not a nice thing. But by far
the most dangerous  forms of lead are as fumes, or dusts, or as
some more easily absorbed chemical  compounds, or the fumes as
found when melting or casting lead or alloys containing  it. 

Thanks for the info. Peter. I’m more calm now. I’m not usual
given to cyber outbursts, but I just don’t get the pussy footing
about about the gift. If somebody gave me a poison necklace…

The lady in question is quite thoughtful and generous of spirit. I
wish the couple the best of luck in resolving their challenge.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#12

Thank you Peter.

A reasonable explanation and risk assessment. I’ve delt with many
human lead exposures, and children are at greatest risk primarily
because of their oral habits and growing bodies. Handwashing
remains the simplest, yet most neglected health protection… and
that applies to all of us, regardless of age.

Judy in Kansas


#13
 When I was a child, we used to chew lead fishing sinkers when we
had no gum. 

Eeeeaaaaagh!!! My Lord, when and where did you grow up? I thought
it was bad that I used to spray Chlordane on the pine needles around
our house to kill flea infestations!

–Noel


#14

I guess I shouldnt have been so long winded in my first post.
Perhaps it lacked clarity. The supposed “fossil” is a flattened
metal jacketed bullet aproximately .45 caliber.

The jacketing I believe is copper. It is NOT a shell casing. It has
been set as a pendant. The flattened bullet is mounted in the center
of a ring of gold about 25 to 30mm in diameter and held there with
prongs from front and back. The original post requests advice on
coating the exposed lead and copper that will touch her skin when
wearing it. I know that copper can react with skin in a less than
healthy manner. I would assume that lead can also as it is even more
toxic than copper. The piece is worn constantly. There will be
constant skin contact with lead and copper if she wears it. Both
metals are coated with oxides from weathering.

My original and current advice is to tell the boyfriend, as I felt
it couldnt be coated discreetly enough. She is adamant about that
not happening as her boyfriend is very sensitive. She isnt trying to
perpetrate or keep going any hoax as to the “fossils” authenticity,
she wants to wear it because he had it made for her. That he did
this for her means a lot to her. What deception is taking place here
is, again out of respect for the feelings of another. Sounds like
love to me. I personally feel that she should divulge truth, but
thats me. I see the validity in what she is doing.

The person that I find surprising is the goldsmith. There is no
mistaking that this thing is metal by its mass alone if not the
color. And to actually work it into a custom prong setting without
noticing is just baffling to me. Anyways, I’ve taken up enough space
with this. If anyone has any ideas how to coat this thing
effectively so that she can wear it safely please drop me a line.
Any folks using UV curing ceramics? Barney

Joyful Crow Fine Metalworks


#15

What you are describing is a cartridge case not a bullet case.
Bullets don’t have cases, they have jackets. A cartridge consist of
a bullet, a case, a primer and the propellant. The case, which
usually is brass, is that part of the cartridge containing the
powder and primer and into which the bullet is inserted. Most
bullets have a lead core which is inside a copper alloy shell called
a jacket. Many bullets are designed so that they undergo a
controlled expansion when they hit something, resulting in the core
flattening and expanding while the copper jacket splits in several
more or less evenly spaced longitudinal strips and curls back on
itself. This is called “mushrooming”, since the end result looks
kinda like a mushroom when you look at it from the front. It also
looks kinda like a split seed pod of some sort. As for the perceived
hazard this presents to the wearer, about the only dire consequences
of wearing it as a piece of jewelry is the dirty looking smear
which would develop if the lead part rubbed against skin or
clothing.

Jerry in Kodiak


#16

WHAT a fluff-up! If it’s important to keep the nature of the beast
quiet to please the giver, and protect the wearer from contact, why
not just coat it with a minimally-obvious plastic or resin coating
that can be renewed as necessary. If the giver wants to know why it’s
coated, simply say, You said it was valuable and I didn’t want to
cause wear that would damage it. Honesty can be taken too far - you
don’t walk up to a 400-lb woman and tell her she ought to lose
weight. Well, you don’t if you want to live very long.

Tas


#17
I know that copper can react with skin in a less than healthy
manner.

If that were true it would certainly come as a big surprise to the
probably millions of people around the world who wear copper
bracelets, rings, necklaces and ankle bracelets for both decorative
and health reasons, don’t you think?

Jerry in Kodiak


#18
  When I was a child, we used to chew lead fishing sinkers when we
had no gum. Eeeeaaaaagh!!!!! My Lord, when and where did you grow
up? I thought it was bad that I used to spray Chlordane on the pine
needles around our house to kill flea infestations. 

Back in the old days - the 50’s - we chewed on the lead foil
"icicles" decorating our Christmas trees. And if we were bored, we
played with those marvelous blobs of mercury and gilded a quarter or
penny. But Dad made us come inside when the mosquito foggers drove
through the neighborhood spewing DDT.

Pam Chott
www.songofthephoenix.com


#19
    Back in the old days - the 50's - we chewed on the lead foil
"icicles" decorating our Christmas trees. And if we were bored, we
played with those marvelous blobs of mercury and gilded a quarter
or penny. But Dad made us come inside when the mosquito foggers
drove through the neighborhood spewing DDT. 

Someone dropped a thermometer in the local college here and caused a
shutdown. Two local high schools have been closed for for a few days
for similar spills. They have done everything short of calling these
places “Super Fund” sites.

A few years ago, I moved back in with my dad. I set up shop in his
basement. There was some kind of gas leak that was addressed by the
gas company. Sometime later, I found mercury on the floor of the
utility room. I swept it up and put it into an old carafe that was
sitting there. Without thinking, I used the carafe to fill my steam
machine. Imagine my surprise when I was steaming an 18K piece and it
was turning bright silvery. Seems that the gas company uses some
kind of mercury valves and some kind of surge on pressure. Perhaps
that has become a super fund site.

BTW I think that the icicles were in fact tin. Hence the name
"tinsel".

Bruce D. Holmgrain
http://www.goldwerx.com
@Red_Rodder
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler / CAD/CAM Solutions


#20
    The case, which usually is brass, is that part of the
cartridge containing the powder and primer and into which the
bullet is inserted. 

While bullet cases are usually referred to as “brass”, they are
actually a copper alloy. As one poster recently suggested, they may
be cut into small pieces, rolled, and used for soldering copper.

James in SoFl