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Stabilizing chalk turquoise


#1

Hi and TGIF :slight_smile:

This question is probably best directed to some of the lapidarys out
there much more experienced than I (almost a whole year now,
woo-hoo). If one were to buy some chalk grade Sleeping Beauty
turquoise, is Opticon the way to go for stabilizing? Or the 330 epoxy

  • acetone method? (is there any difference between those 2 anyway?)

Any other tried and true methods that an amateur could handle
without any fancy equipment (ie; an autoclave, etc.) that I dunno
about? The intended use of this turquoise will be for inlay if that
info. is helpful.

Thanks as always to all of you wonderful Orchid mentors, Carol


#2

All, I have experimented with many of the mixtures for stabilizing
stones. My conclusions have been to leave the process to the experts
in Kingman Arizona at Colbaugh Processing Inc, 928-565-4650,
colbaugh@ctaz.com . They sell the best stabilized stones made and
are state of the art in processing. My own concoctions were hit or
miss at best.

Gerry Galarneau, in dry, hot Arizona 105 degrees Fahrenheit today,
Cutting some of te best Red Plume Agate ever.


#3

Poly Vinyl acetate, works best. There is also a product called
Glyptal, which is used for stabilizing bone in the fossil industry.
the PVA is a granular product much like salt that is dissolved in
acetone, PVA is the primary stabilizing product used in the Chinese
turquoise industry. submerse the turquoise in the pve & use a vacuum
setup to pull out the air & drive the pva into the chalk. Glyptal
also needs to be thinned as it comes in a honey like consistency. a
lengthy drying time is needed for both products to set up hard.

Sincerely,
Nancy Stinnett, Owner
Geosoul Arts
http://www.geosoul.com
(702) 436-7685


#4

I thought I would comment on my experience with an attempt to
stabilize turquoise in the home environment.

I bought some of the 330 Epoxy, which I believe was made by Opticon,
and applied it following the directions which involved baking the
turquoise in the oven. I used some old disposable pie plates, which
worked fine for the application of the epoxy.

Then, the epoxy seemed to take forever to dry. Some of them took
literally months before they dried. I assume my mix of the epoxy
was to blame, because some of the batches were better than others.
The ones that were the worst were so tacky, that the dirt would stick
to them while handling and get in the tiny pores of the stone making
it very unattractive. However, a better mix of the epoxy would
probably have prevented this problem.

The turquoise I was working with had already been made into beads,
so the holes were present when I performed this treatment. The Epoxy
filled the holes, even though I had left the string in the beads,
and many of them had to be drilled again to open them up.

Since I had no experience with drilling bead holes, it took a few
broken beads, a broken drill bit or two, and a quick reference to the
Orchid site to discover that they needed cooling during the process
and that I needed a diamond drill bit. Let me tell you I have a lot
more respect for those folks who drill beads than ever before
(boring, tedious, boring, boring, tedious!)

In the end, I think it did make an improvement to the beads, at
least the ones that were done right. I think it would take a little
practice to really get the process down, but I don’t really want to
try it again.

Susan
Sun Country Gems
www.suncountrygems.com