The History behind the Mike Lurie Collection

May 23, 2017

The Lurie family lived in Bulawayo, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, from 1951 to 1966. During this time Robert’s late father, Mike, worked as a manufacturer’s representative. His job took him by car all over Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi). Every now and again Mike would stop his car in the middle of the bush to take a break from the difficult, long distance driving. He would often notice something shining, or an agate, or some unusual rock by the roadside.

This was the start of his interest and his rock collection, which he would show the family on his return from each trip. It was infectious and soon spread to Robert, his mother and his brother Stanley. After some time, the whole family joined the Matabeleland Gem & Mineral Society. Their interest in gems and minerals now sky-rocketed! They attended lectures in the Bulawayo Museum every month and went on very interesting and rewarding rock hunting outings once a month. They had very elementary gem polishing lessons, and swapped and traded stones.

On one such field trip, when everyone else sprang out of their cars and raced off to find “the motherlode”, Robert’s mother spotted an interesting rock slightly poking out of the ground near their car. One kind member tried to help her to unearth it, but it was firmly embedded in the earth. The number of kind helpers began to grow. Then three members were involved in the excavation! Eventually, after well over an hour’s hard labour, the 50 × 20 cm rock reluctantly emerged from the ground. It was a moss agate!

The pinnacle of Mike Lurie’s specimen hunting was when the mine manager of one of the large Copperbelt mines in Zambia took him underground in a “Coco pan”. He emerged with his wide-brimmed white straw hat, held upside down, filled with assorted paper-wrapped copper-based mineral specimens!


Infected by his father’s enthusiasm, Robert went on to study diamonds via the GIA (by home correspondence and at the University of Stellenbosch), and became the manager of Cape Town’s largest importer, manufacturer, and wholesale jeweller, and then manager of a well-known high-end retail jewellery store in Cavendish Square. He then got appointed as an appraiser by the S.A. Ministry of Justice and finally spent over 35 years doing jewellery valuations for the legal and accounting fraternity, as well as for retail jewellery stores and the public in Cape Town.

 

Mike Lurie was also an avid amateur photographer, and very keen on plants, both local and exotic which he lovingly grew from slip or seed and nurtured with great success – all on his flat’s balcony! He was said to truly have “green fingers” by all the amazed visitors who saw his much-prized balcony.

 

Robert and his brother Stanley are indebted to their father, Mike Lurie, for imparting his love and enthusiasm of all things natural to them, and they will always remember him by the specimens in their homes, and when they are at the seaside, mountainside and places like Kirstenbosch, which he loved passionately. RL. May 2017
 

Working With Diamond

May 23, 2017

Duncan Miller

No, this is not about polishing diamonds, which in South Africa is illegal without a license, but about working with diamond grit or paste. For the coloured stone gem cutter, diamond paste is easier to source and to use. Loose grit and pastes are available in a range of mesh sizes, with crushed natural diamond or synthetic diamond. Synthetic diamond is made as single crystals and polycrystalline aggregates. The polycrystalline diamond breaks down with use to produce finer parti...


Continue reading...
 

TOURMALINE

April 25, 2017

Duncan Miller

Tourmaline can be temperamental. Rough tourmaline occurs in two distinct shapes – globular nodules and elongated pencil-like crystals elongated in the direction of the c-axis. The globular nodules sometimes spall concentrically, like onions, and the pencils sometime fracture transversely. This behaviour is difficult, if not impossible to predict, although fine cracks in the ‘skin’ of tourmaline pencils is not a good sign. The cracked skin must be removed by preforming or th...


Continue reading...
 

New Barite Occurrence at Rosh Pinah Mine – Namibia

March 25, 2017

Author: Gisela Hinder, Rosh Pinah Geo Center, Rosh Pinah, Namibia

e-mail: gisela.hinder007@gmail.com

 Rosh Pinah Mine is situated in the southwest of Namibia about 80 km east of Oranjemund. Rosh Pinah Mine became well known for its beautiful barites when a massive pocket of yellow to orange barite crystals was opened in 1989. It is said that these barites were the best ever found in Namibia.

In February 2017 new barite crystals were discovered at Rosh Pinah. Yellowish, unfortunately smallish, ...


Continue reading...
 

GARNET

March 25, 2017

Duncan Miller

Garnets are among the easiest gem materials to facet. They have no distinct cleavage, although some crystals have a parting that causes them to fracture into thin slabs. The rough often is in globular shapes, which is good for weight recovery. When choosing rough, avoid being fooled by fake material. Red glass is sometimes covered in adhering deceptive ‘grit’ to mimic natural nodules. Illuminated from behind or the side with a torch, the characteristic internal swirls and r...


Continue reading...
 

A Bit about Blue Lace Chalcedony

March 25, 2017

Jo Wicht

Blue Lace “Agate” is found on the farm Ysterputs 254 (meaning iron holes) in Namibia. The mine is located adjacent to the “Blinkpan” (shining shallow lake) which can be seen to the west of the B1 highway about 80 km north of Vioolsdrift and Noordoewer, which are the border towns on either side of the Orange River between South African and Namibia.

Blue lace is not a true agate, but a chalcedony (microcrystalline quartz) laid down in a series of wavy bands, which gives it th...


Continue reading...
 

The Beryl Family

February 24, 2017

Duncan Miller

Many faceters recommend that beginners start with aquamarine. It usually presents no problems in faceting or polishing, is relatively easy to obtain, and in lighter colour it is not overwhelmingly expensive. Aquamarine is the blue or blue-green gem variety of the mineral beryl, an aluminium beryllium silicate. It occurs in elongated hexagonal barrel-shaped crystals. It is dichroic, with the most intense colour when viewed along the length, the so-called c-axis. This is a pity, ...


Continue reading...
 

Faceting and Polishing Quartz

January 15, 2017

Duncan Miller

This is the first of an intended series of articles on faceting and polishing a variety of gemstones. I am beginning with quartz because that is what most people start faceting when they first take up the hobby. Quartz rough is inexpensive and readily available in a wide range of colours. It is not necessarily the easiest material to polish, but if a particular stone behaves badly it is no great loss to set it aside to be tackled at a later date. You should try to select rough ...


Continue reading...
 

Playing With Stars

November 23, 2016

I cut off the end of a damaged Goboboseb quartz crystal because it had a deep purple central inclusion at the one end, which I thought would make an interesting stone to facet.

 But then I noticed that the end of the remaining piece had regular purple stripes radiating from the centre to the points of the hexagonal crystal. So I cut off another section of the crystal to the depth I hoped I would need for cutting a gem.

I first tried to find the middle of the purple star shape, and marked s...


Continue reading...
 

Who Knows Nigel?

October 23, 2016

Not many people in our club know Nigel Brown, but behind the scenes he must be one of our most productive lapidaries, in and among all his other commitments. His website has been listed in this newsletter’s advertisements for several months now (nigelbrownjadecarver.com). When I looked at it again recently I saw he had been busy producing jade kiwis so I asked him for an update of his work. He sent us this: 

Little Spotted Kiwi

This little...


Continue reading...
 

Make a free website with Yola