Optical Quartz for Triplet Making

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Optical Quartz for Triplet Making

Postby ConnMcCollou » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:26 pm

I recently bought some Opal here that is mounted on what looks like a glass microscope slide. The Opal is Black, paper thin, and appears to be glued (or something) bottom side down on this glass slide. Now I know to cab it I have to put Something Somewhere, to make it thicker than this tiny slide and sliver of black opal, lol. Is it Optical Quartz? Where do I buy it? and where and how do I attach it to the Black Opal? Is it the top? Is the glass "slide" the top? I have been cabbing stones, but this is WAAYY different. I don't know if I can do it perfectly, but I can't do it at all if I don't try. :D
Any advise at all would be appreciated. I don't even know if I can find my way back here, so please find me on Gemrockauctions - ConnMcCollou - if you can help. I appreciate it! Connie
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Re: Optical Quartz for Triplet Making

Postby Iceopals » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:02 pm

Could the "glass slide" be the optical quartz, and you just need to add the material for the backing?? Very interesting! I'm looking forward to seeing what the answer is...
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Re: Optical Quartz for Triplet Making

Postby Robin » Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:05 am

Hi Connie and welcome!

Can you post the auction number or post a couple of pictures for us to see (one with the "glass" side up and one with opal side up)? I think your question would be easier to answer if we could actually see it.


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Re: Optical Quartz for Triplet Making

Postby soulsun » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:31 pm

Hi Connie,

Just guesses on my part, but if the opal is 'black' and mounted on a clear glass slide, I would guess that it was glued to the slide using blackened epoxy. Can you see 'color' thru the back or is it opaque? If it is opaque, I think that would be a good indication of colored epoxy. What you have then is a triplet slide and all you need is some quartz caps to finish the the process. 'Opal Cutting Made Easy' by Paul Downing has a section on cutting doublets and triplets.

Here is a source for calibrated quartz caps:

I'm sure there are many other sources out there and hopefully others will chime in.

Another possible source I'd like to throw out for input is colorless synthetic quartz in the rough from:

I've never had any dealings w/ this company (they also sell Gilson rough in all varieties), just something I've kept in the back of my mind in case I ever want to cut freeform doublets or triplets. Any input from others would be greatly appreciated.

Hope this helps,

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Re: Optical Quartz for Triplet Making

Postby idahoopaljimab » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:50 pm

Hi Connie, I can confirm Opalsmith's caps and service,both are outstanding. They are optical Quartz and are the best you can get. A few tips for triplet making....... Make sure you clean the caps with acetone before using and never touch the surface that you are going to glue.I always treat the surface with opticon,just smear it on and put under a lamp to heat up until very warm to the touch,wipe it off before gluing.leaving a very,very thin layer,do not clean it off with ANY solvent just a paper towel. ONLY use 330 epoxy,never,ever anything else also available from Opalsmith,mix it VERY VERY SLOWLY so you do not create air bubbles. I use a toothpick and roll it together on a paper plate that has been quartered so I get 4 mixes from each plate. Just roll it together do not stir,I mix it for at least 3 to 4 minutes,only enough to glue maybe 6 or 7 stones at once,any air bubbles that appear pop them with the toothpick before you put it on the start.Drop the cap direct on top of the start and I use the end of a pencil eraser to slowly make small circles while gently pushing downward,this force air small air bubbles out from under the cap. Fingers tend to get epoxy on them during the process and it ends up on the cap making a mess. It is a fine line and takes some practice to do correctly,too much pressure squeezes out all the epoxy and it will not hold. I leave them sit for at least a day before I cut them out. Unless I am cutting a monster opal I do not waste time preping hunks of quartz,it takes forever to do properly, just buy a bigger cap than your opal,glue it over the start on another piece of paper plate so the epoxy dose not get all over your working surface,it will run over the edge and stick to the paper which grinds right away. Then cut as a free-form as you would any other stone. There are more issues that may come up with triplet making but this is a good outline and should get you on the right track.......idahoopaljimab
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