Wow! Jamey, those are GORGEOUS!!!
I have a few questions if you don't mind
How long would you say one piece takes to carve (what's the 'typical' size)? How much of an average sized rock contains the fire bubbles? Is there a lot of waste per rough usually? I have noticed that roughs are usually really big (15-30 gms)... but the finished stones are usually really small (under 10 carats). Does that mean you typically expect to grind away 90% of each rough to get only a tiny little bubble piece? Are you doing your rough shaping, then using a tumbler to polish and finish, or are you doing them like opals, hand shaping, then hand polishing?
I know fire agates are much harder than opals... do you wear down your tools faster? Go through 2x, 4x, ? , polishing compounds compared to opals? I read in one of the articles that one fire agate could burn through several diamond bits just to shape...
. How has your experience been with that?
If you accidentally cut through a bubble... what happens? I keep reading that it 'ruins' the whole stone. Why? Does the color for that whole layer get destroyed? Wouldn't you just get a hole in the bubble, and the surrounding color is intact?
When dealing with roughs, what % of them produce fire? Is it possible that you can have a gorgeous rough that has no fire at all, and you grind through the entire rock from top to bottom to find absolutely no fire, even though it has exactly the same type of brain-like top chalcedony layer? Or are you pretty certain that if that brain-like chalcedony top exists, there will be fire in that rock? I read that you can grind at the corners to tell... does cutting into a color layer vertically damage the entire layer?
If you have a nice section of color, and a big blank area, then another large section of color, with a very short color layer between them, can you just cut through it vertically to produce 2 stones, or would that damage color in the 2 parts of large color too?
Thanks in advance, I know I'll have more questions coming up:P.
Pink, thanks for posting those thread links! What a lot of fantastic info and help. There was way more info on the threads than I found just googling, and I spent the last few hours reading each one.
I bought the fire agates with the idea that I would take them to the Gem and Mineral Club to use for cabbing. Then it occurred to me that if no one there has cut these types of agate before, that we could accidentally ruin a really nice layer. So hopefully, I'll be a bit better prepared as to what to expect when I go next week:).