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Working with Moldavite

Dear All,

I have been asked to set two moldavites for a customer, and was
wondering if anyone on the list has had any experience doing same.
Reference books indicate a hardness of 5.5, however no reference to
toughness. Anyone have problems they would share to keep me out of

One last question: does anyone have ideas about value for an
insurance replacement document?

Jon Michael Fuja

I’ve cut and set Moldavite, Jon, and had no trouble with it. It’s a
reasonably tough material though you might want to “clear coat” it
before you do the finishing on the piece. My experience has been that
Tripoli will fuzz out the polish on the stone.

Kenton Stevens

Hi Jon

Moldavite is a type of natural glass (tektite) formed when a
meteorite hit the sandy soil near the Molda River in Czechoslovakia.
Treat as for glass. As to value, I have seen it most commonly around
$12 a gram for rough. Try Google for more

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Yes, and most offered for sale is fake. Just melted glass, but same
rules apply. No sudden heat, no quenching, keep it AWAY from your
"polishing" buffs, they will ruin the finish.


Moldavite is essentially a glass, and has similar chipping
tendencies. Another apt analogy is opal: if you can handle opal,
moldavite will be no different. If the pieces have thin edges,
special care will be required while handling. The type of setting you
plan to use is also a factor. I hope this helps.

Dick Davies

It's a reasonably tough material though you might want to "clear
coat" it before you do the finishing on the piece. 

What do you use to clear coat it?

Janet Kofoed

Clear coat is the 'clear coat" that women use to protect their
fingernails… I use the O.P.I brand, 15ml, .5oz. It’s made in
Helmond, Netherlands and distributed by OPI products in Hollywood,
California. Any manicurist shop should carry it. I coat the entire
stone and let set for about 2 hrs (overnight is better) To remove
residue just soak for about 20-30 minutes in actone, remove and
immediately rinse with hot water.

Then clean in your usual manner.

Kenton Stevens

most offered for sale is fake. Just melted glass 

Not so sure about how much of it is fake. Seems to be somewhat
tougher than regular glass though. I tdoes chip a bit if too much
pressure is applied on 100, 120 and 180 grit grit. Diamond wheels or
belts cut smoother that carbide, I my experience but I tend to use
light pressure on the coarse grinding/shaping grits

Kenton Stevens.