Two beached whales were spotted at Yzerfontein this past month, the first on 5th November and the second a few days later

November 23, 2018




And last week this fish appeared at Milnerton Lagoon


Grey chalcedony and aragonite fish


This is the same fish as above, but much prettier “when still alive”, and seen under short wave UV light.


 

"There’s treasure – I just have to find it"

November 23, 2018

Talking about treasure hunting, let me tell you my story … It’s a tale of two parts.

I’ve always been the poster child for the story told by Victor Borge:  “if there’s manure, there must be a pony.”  It’s in my DNA.

Truth be told, my first real life encounter with this approach was doomed. 

To understand it better, you’d have to know that back then Dinner, Bed and Breakfast at a swanky hotel cost R40-00 and a full seafood buffet at the same hotel with all you could eat cos...


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FaceTips for December

November 23, 2018
by Duncan Miller

This month I will show you how to scale a GemCad diagram to a different L/W ratio. This is very easy if the diagram is a fully meetpoint diagram, without a preform. You note the initial L/W ratio from the Print Preview and then click on Scale in the Edit menu. Here you check the X box because you want to change the proportions in the X direction, then enter the appropriate numbers to divide by the initial L/W ratio and to multiply by the one you want, and press OK. The next me...


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FaceTips for November

November 4, 2018

By Duncan Miller

I started faceting in pre-GemCad days and found cutting ovals very laborious. I would cut the girdles by eye, using various oval templates, and placed the brilliant-style facets by eye too. Producing matching pairs was very trying. The advent of meetpoint faceting and GemCad overcame all these difficulties. Now there are lots of designs for ovals that are meetpoint, requiring no preform, with the girdle outline evolving out of the cutting sequence. You can access some of the...


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SEPTEMBER VISIT FROM CONSTANTIA WALDORF SCHOOL

October 25, 2018

The Waldorf School asked us if they could visit the club again this year, and Claire Vaskys organised the day for them. Thank you very much Claire.

Also a big thank you to Rinda who had kept all the little offcuts of stones, and dopped them in preparation for the children to grind and polish, and who managed the workshop while they were busy between machines. 

Thank you to Marsiglio who brought his tools, raw and finished materials, and allowed the kids to take his rock pick and smash it in...


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Geological Tour of the Rosh Pinah area

September 25, 2018
Since we have never fully explored the southern parts of Namibia before, we decided to head up to Namibia a few days before the planned start of the FOSAGAMS Namibia 2018 tour to explore the area. Heidi Naudé from the Pretoria Club put us in touch with Gisela Hinder who owns the Rosh Pinah Geo Center and after some discussion with Gisela on our interests, we pre-booked a guided geology tour with her. Our first night in Namibia was spent camping along the Orange River, and a casual walk acros...
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FaceTips for October

September 25, 2018

By Duncan Miller

This was another jeweller’s request. The setter had broken one of a matching pair of blue-green stones, destined for earrings, bought by the client in India as emeralds. They were apatite; but nevertheless the broken stone had to be replaced to fit the already-made setting. Fortunately I had just one piece of blue-green apatite that matched the colour. In order to produce a stone of the same size and proportion I had to replicate the oval precisely. I could have slapped fa...


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Southern African Lapidary Stones to watch out for

September 25, 2018

Verdite

Verdite is a fairly soft South African stone found in the Barberton area. It is often seen in African curio shops carved into animals. Its golden flecks distinguish it from buddstone which is a much harder metamorphosed chert. Even more distinctive is the “leopard rock” which is spotted serpentinite, also from that area. JW

 

Buddstone



Leopard rock

 

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FaceTips for September

August 24, 2018

By Duncan Miller

Here is a quick and easy oval with a standard 1:1.30 proportion. It has a fully conical pavilion, so you can spin a conical preform, stopping just short of producing a point. This means you don’t have to change angles and mast height when cutting the sixteen pavilion facets, which saves time and avoids mistakes. This is a fully meet-point design that doesn’t require a preform, so it would be good for a beginner’s first oval. It doesn’t work well in quartz or beryl, s...


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STAVOREN MICROMOUNT OUTING

August 24, 2018

Jako Schonken

I arrived at OR Tambo airport on a cold winter’s Thursday morning, hoping it wouldn’t rain. I hired a car and started driving in a northerly direction, following my GPS to Marble Hall - a place I have only heard about in the South African Micromount Society’s newsletters. I have been a member of the South African Micromount Society (SAMS) for more than three years, but have never been to their meetings or outings since they are based in Gauteng. Nor have I ever met any of...


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