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Vintage turquoise jewelry repair

Hello all-

I have a client whose mother has an ornate turquoise piece purchased
45-50 years ago. One stone is now missing. It is a half of a round
ball -half-round but not a bead…on the small side. I haven’t
measured it yet but I’m guessing the whole ball was 5-6mm. There was
no matrix visible…stones are a dark green-blue.

Her mom would really like this fixed. I am fairly new in jewlery
making and don’t have a source for these stones. Not only matching
the size, half-round, but the color will be difficult but I want to
try if I can.

If anyone has a source for these stones or a contact that I could
speak with further about this piece, I would be appreciative.

Thanks!
Catherine Schratt, Cate Jewelry
cate3157@ptd.net

Try Sam Patania! He is so great with turquoise anything, he would
probably be able to help you! - pataniajewelry@earthlink.net

Yours is a sticky wicket problem…matching old Turquoise is
always a problem. The color of old Turquoise is a product of
absorbtion of human oils. Natural Turquoise always has a generous
propensity to be porous and will readily absorb all oils, especially
that which comes from human sources…nose oil, hair oil etc.
There are a number of mines which produce naturally occuring green
turquoise, but I doubt that any of them would exactly match oiled
Turquoise. I suggest that you contact any of the jewelry supply
companies in New Mexico…chances are that they will have
replacement stones in stock. Indian Jewelry Supply is a likely
company. Cutting a cab oif this type is not that difficult…you
merely flatten a piece of rough Turquoise and glue it to the end of
a wooden match stick and use a Mizzy abrasive wheel to rough shape
it. You then prepolish it with a fine sanding disk. The final polish
is accomplished on a jewelers buff using Zam. The first two steps
are easily accomplished using a flexshaft tool…no need for
lapidary equipment. Setting the stone is best done by putting a
little bit of fine wood sawdust in the bezel cup to elevate the
stone properly. The bezel is rolled using a simple rocker tool.

Ron Mills,
Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.

   Her mom would really like this fixed. I am fairly new in
jewlery making and don't have a source for these stones. Not only
matching the size, half-round, but the color will be difficult but
I want to try if I can. 

I would call Thunderbird Supply Co. in Gallup, NM and ask to speak
with their stone buyer or Bob Siebersma. Tell them your
requirements, and be prepared to ship them at least one stone to
match with. They know the difference between natural, waxed and
oiled, and will probably be able to identify the mine it comes from.
They will probably be able to help you out. Hopefully your customer
will be happy to pay for the extra shipping, custom cutting and your
trouble.

Cutting a cab of this type is not that difficult.....you merely
flatten a piece of rough Turquoise and glue it to the end  of a
wooden match stick and use a Mizzy abrasive wheel to  rough shape
it. You then prepolish it with a fine sanding  disk. The final
polish is accomplished on a jewelers buff  using Zam. The first two
steps are easily accomplished  using a flexshaft tool.....no need
for lapidary  equipment. 

I have put together a photographically illustrated paper on how to
cut stones with a foredom. I would gladly send anyone interested a
copy through an e-mail. Contact me off line.

Lee Epperson
Phoenix, Arizona.

Dear leessilver,

I note that you have reproduced my suggestions about making
turquoise cabs with a foredom, but you do not comment on whether you
agree or disagree with my technique. I would very much like to know
how you do the same task; maybe I can learn something from your
approach. Why don’t you post it so that we can all benefit from your
experience ?

Lee Epperson has send me the file, I will upload it shortly.
Hanuman

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.

Hi Ron,

I sure do agree with you that using a Foredom to cut stones is a
viably technique. When I started making jewelry in 1973 that was the
only way I had to cut cabs and inlay stones. I made a lot of inlay
and cab jewelry using the Foredom process. The process is very time
consuming but saves buying a major rock polisher when money is short.

I put the paper together several months ago when someone asked my to
describe the process.

"Slabbing, Shaping and Polishing Turquoise Cabs Using Foredom
Handpiece"

Lee Epperson

    "Slabbing, Shaping and Polishing Turquoise Cabs Using Foredom
Handpiece"
http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/cabbing-turquoise.htm 

Lee, I called up the site for “Slabbing, Shaping, etc…”, but did
not see the bolo Ron referred to. Is that in a different location?

The procedure demonstrated that skilled hands produce really good
work with simple tools. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

Kevin Kelly

Please check Lee Epperson’s Orchid Galleries at:

http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/epperson.htm
and
http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/epperson-1.htm

Hi Kevin and All,

The photo of my bola was not on all the posts I sent out. I included
the photo with the post I sent out to Ron.

The bola with the Bisbee Turquoise and inlaid stoned I cut and
polished with my Foredom is included on my Orchid Gallery site. The
photo on the site shows the bola slightly larger than full size. The
turquoise cab was the largest I ever finished using the Foredom
process.

http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/epperson-1.htm

Thanks again to Orchid for setting up the Gallery section.

Thanks,
Lee Epperson
Phoenix, Arizona.