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Whale wax


#1

We bought out a rock shop that has been in storage for 30 years. In
it is a package of “Whale Wax”. Does anyone have a clue what that
might be?


#2

rick, about 40 years ago I knew what the wax was used for, I
purchased a halfdozen candle of whale wax to use it in my gem shop.
But I cannot remember what I intended to use it for. If I should
remember I will let you know, sorry but when you get 87 years old you
forget things. I know i really wanted the wax to do something that
was important to me. let me know if you get any answers.

thank you, bob


#3
We bought out a rock shop that has been in storage for 30 years.
In it is a package of "Whale Wax". Does anyone have a clue what
that might be? 

Is it aromatic? If it is - than what you have is a substance that is
quite expensive. It is taken from the head of a sperm whale and used
in Cosmetology for making face creams. Since whale products are no
longer used, there are synthetics substitutes, but none is as good.
I wonder what was it doing in rock shop.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#4
If I should remember I will let you know, sorry but when you get 87
years old you forget things. I know i really wanted the wax to do
something that was important to me. let me know if you get any
answers. 

In Cosmetology it is used for imparting consistency of preparation,
where hard particles, like zinc oxide, needed to be suspended.
Otherwise, a cream would have a gritty feel to it. Since in gem
cutting, suspension of an abrasive is an important characteristic of
cutting medium, could it be that it was used as a component of
polishing pastes ?

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#5

Leonid, It is really quite simple. In the lapidary trade whale wax
has been used for years as a topical treatment for stones that are
difficult to polish. There are some, such as marble, some phosphates,
certain jaspers, etc., even that will not polish properly with
traditional lapidary oxides. This was back when some of the oxides,
such as tin oxide or aluminum oxide or other polishing mediums such
as ZAM were not so easily available. A lapidary could either warm the
wax or alternately the stone, and coat it with a thin layer of the
wax then polish it with a piece of denim or leather. Made a hard
durable surface that filled small pits and brought out the colors of
the stone.

Whale wax has been very hard to find since whaling has been
controlled and the sperm whale has been protected. Some years ago, I
was able to find a company in…I think Jew Jersey…that was
making synthetic whale wax and still have a can of it around the
shop. But with ZAM and other more modern oxides, not to mention the
finer diamond powders and fillers such as Epoxy and Opticon, whale
wax is not necessary any more.

Cheers from Don in SOFL.


#6

I found this on another discussion board from 2010… It was used to
shine up specimens that would not polish. Some people used to seal
cabochons with it when they had small pockmarks.

Val


#7

I came across this thread discussing whale wax and lapidary:

Deirdre Keough


#8
in Cosmetology for making face creams. 

I believe that substance was called ambergris.

Eric


#9
Leonid, It is really quite simple. In the lapidary trade whale wax
has been used for years as a topical treatment for stones that are
difficult to polish 

Thanks, I suspected that much.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#10
I believe that substance was called ambergris. 

ambergris is very aromatic and used as as, olfactory component. I
believe that proper name for whale wax is spermaceti.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#11

Hi,

Oh yeah, that’s the stuff whales rub onto their backs to make them
all shiny and protect its skin/patina from water damage. It’s also
used hot and pulled off quickly for barnacle removal in those special
spots. :smiley:

Sorry couldn’t help myself…

-m


#12

There is a reference to a lapidary use for whale wax in these
entries:
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/n5


#13

“Whale wax” was used to seal the surface of porous stones and thus
enhance the color (do-it-yourself stabilization).

Ray


#14

I also have some whale wax. I bought it about 35 years ago for
treating turquoise. It is a very stable wax and won’t discolor the
turquoise as other oils or waxes can. It darkens the color of the
turquoise without changing the hue.

I don’t think you can buy it anymore because it is a product made
from the body of a whale and is illegal to sell in the US.


#15

Ambergris is used in very fine perfumes…olfactory!!! as you
stated!

Rose Marie Christison


#16

A possible use?

The trouble with Pyrite

I love the look of ammonites with pyrite, especially the iridescent
ones. According to this article, the pyrite often turns white and
powders off, unless sealed with several substances that were designed
for other uses.

Scroll down to page 3. The author says that the paraffin component of
the nylon in Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails brings out all the color
one would not normally see. I wonder if whale wax might also work
wonders for fossils and other porous treasures.

Georgette Woo


#17

You know, there’s a even more rare naturally occurring polishing
compound, and it comes from undernear the shells of endangered species
of turtles.

It used to be very popular for giving BMW’s and other high end luxury
cars a special shine, but I haven’t seen any turtle wax in years.

Andrew Jonathan Fine


#18

Calvin,

Could I buy about 5 cents worth from you? I have a topaz that
happened to have the cleavage plane right where I cut the table and
nothing I do will polish it! Maybe the wax would make it look pretty
for my wife.

John in Indiana


#19

I would be glad to give you some if I still had it. When I unwrapped
it, it smelled like a rotten animal. I guess in fact it was. 30 years
in storage did a number on it.


#20

Hello John,

I have a topaz that happened to have the cleavage plane right where
I cut the table and nothing I do will polish it! 

You’re right about not getting a decent polish on a cleavage plane,
you never will. The only fix that works is to cut an apex table.
Depending on the shape of the stone simply cut enough facets at
about 7 degrees to make the ‘table’ shape you need.

Good luck.

Tony.
Anthony Lloyd-Rees.
TheGemDoctor.com