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LRMA News 10 September 2014
Posted by on Apr 19, 2015, 12:57

Scott Sucher from the USA spoke on the theories of grinding and polishing last week at the Bowling Club courtesy of the Australian Opal Centre.

Scott is a world renowned gemstone cutter having replicated many of the world’s famous diamonds within 1/100mm.

His talk was fascinating and described what happens to the surface of a stone when it is being cut and polished. Whilst you cannot see it with the naked eye a coarse grit will tear out material and cause sub-surface damage. His message was that “cabinet makers don’t use chainsaws” and it was important not to start with too coarse a grit and not to skip steps grinding (cutting) a gemstone when going from a courser to finer grit. As the grit becomes finer it is removing the damage of the coarser grit.

He also talked about the stresses a stone will undergo from an extremely fine polishing grit. He felt that Linde-A and cerium oxide polishing may leave a stress free surface which is what the vast majority of opal cutters use rather than a fine polishing grit.

The talk was quite scientific and there was a lot of interaction between Scott and the experienced opal cutters in the room.

Miners are reminded that when rubbing down a stone do not use to too coarse a grit as you may never get the scratches out – and an angle grinder is definitely not the way to go.

Prospecting activity continues to increase with 26 Opal Prospecting Leases out at present. This is a major improvement and the most OPLs out at the one time for many, many years. Good luck to all those looking and hopefully they will discover many economic deposits of opal.

Maxine O'Brien
Lightning Ridge Miners' Association Ltd
PO Box 177, Lightning Ridge NSW 2834
Ph: 02 6829 0427, Fax: 02 6829 0830
Mob: 0427 920 474

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