Torraca Gemcutting

Bi-Color Montana Sapphire

Posted on Dec 22, 2014 in Gemcutting, Journal, Transformations

Recently I was commissioned to facet a very large and unusual sapphire from the El Dorado Bar diggings in Montana, USA. The stone came to me as a 3.17g rough. As it pretty typical for the Montana deposits, the stone was water-worn a crystal section. Unusual for the Montana deposits, the stone has a straw-yellow […]

Heating Red Zircon

Posted on May 13, 2014 in Gemology, Journal, Transformations
Heating Red Zircon

In 2011, I purchased this zircon rough in Tanzania. Zircon from Singeda, Tanzania is often a super-saturated, near-black shade of red. In reflected light, the stone appears near-black, but it is red in transmitted light. I cut the stone in a cut-corner square brilliant of my own design. But this kind of zircon is so […]

How to use Gem Boxes

Posted on Mar 14, 2014 in Gemcutting, Gemology
How to use Gem Boxes

Gem boxes come in various size and shapes — round (“gem jars”), rectangular, and square, each intended to both protect and display a loose gemstone. Most gem boxes are made of plastic; some have glass tops. They’re great for storage as well as shipping. All of this is common knowledge to anyone who has been […]

Color-Change Sapphire Surprise

Posted on Mar 3, 2014 in Gemcutting, Gemology
Color-Change Sapphire Surprise

I finished recutting this sapphire for Wildfish Gems today. When I received the stone, it appeared to be an untreated blue-green sapphire (no surprise there; untreated stones are Ed’s specialty). But after I finished recutting the stone, I noticed that it looked very different under my desktop diamond grading light than it did on my […]

Green Zircon Recut

Posted on Feb 19, 2014 in Gemcutting, Gemology, Recut & Repair
Green Zircon Recut

About a month ago, a client contacted me with a special project for his wife. He wanted to make a custom pendant for her using a gemstone that was both unusual and suited her as a geologist. After some discussion, we settled on green zircon. Zircon is both a visually interesting gemstone and an important […]

What color is sapphire?

Posted on Jan 29, 2014 in Gemcutting, Just for Fun

This morning there was a 2 hour delay for school, so I had the kids with me in the shop. My son, 10 years old, was helping me make some images of recent gemstones. I was letting him work the remote trigger on the camera & do some basic culling of rejected images. When he […]

Smokey Quartz Recut

Posted on Jan 20, 2014 in Gemcutting, Recut & Repair, Transformations

Recut Smokey Quartz trilliant When I introduced myself to a jeweler, I like to explain the difference between my gemcutting and what is more commonly seen in the trade.  I like to point out the fact that all of my stones are designed to be mounted.  In choosing designs, I avoid sharp corners, overly thin […]

Memories: Lolatema, 2009

Posted on Jan 14, 2014 in Gem Travel

Tanzania Buying Trip, Day 4 – 5 July 2009 The first few days of our trip we spent in our broker’s (Jamal’s) office reviewing and buying stones — aside from the fact that every lot had to be priced by bartering, we could have been sitting in any other gem trading area doing the same […]

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