New Rock Polishing Toys – What Do You Think?

New Rock Polishing Toys!!

Gemstones fascinate me and are key elements in The Gemstone Chronicles fantasy adventure series I wrote. I’ve been looking for cabochon equipment for a while now and I lucked up upon a vintage Highland Park A-50 and a Rock Rascal Saw. The A-50 is mounted on a rolling cabinet and the saw is firmly installed on a nice little table. Check out the pictures below!

Rock Polishing Toys

Highland Park A-50


Rock Polishing Toys

Rock Rascal


Given the equipment hadn’t operated in a while, I had a bit of work to do on the machine. First thing I did was to replace the power cord to the A-50 motor. Once I finished that little repair, the motor ran perfectly. I discovered the water pump bucket was rusted through, but that didn’t stop me. I cut a 5 gallon plastic bucket down to size and it fit like a glove inside the original bucket. The pump discharge fitting was cracked and the hose wouldn’t fit properly, so I engineered a fix and it works amazingly well!

The Rock Rascal, as you can see from the picture above, needed a new power cord, too. Luckily, I learned a bit about electrical and electronic stuff back in my Navy days, so, like the cord for the A-50, it was an easy fix. Doesn’t make me want to be an electrician again (like I was right after I left the Navy), but it’s satisfying to make it work. Once complete, I op tested it and everything ran smoothly.

Rock Polishing Toys

I think I might modify the A-50 to add more wheels, but that will be down the road. For now, I’ll pick up various grit belts to use on the expanding drums and use a 6 inch wheel I received for Christmas on the Rock Rascal. Now, I just need a water source and return for the wheel.

The equipment package included a new 6 inch diamond blade for the Rock Rascal, a dopping pot, dopping wax, and cabochon templates. I’m all set now (or will be as soon as the new belts come in)!

What do you think about my new rock polishing toys? Personally, I can’t wait to see if I can make a cab or two and do something with all the rocks I found during my gemstone hunting trips. I might even be able to polish a sapphire or ruby once I get diamond belts for the expanding drums.

Connect with me: Like my new toys? Have advice for a novice rock polisher? I appreciate any comments and emails with tips and hints. I’m on social media, too. Find me at Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest, so don’t be shy! Say hello!


Faceted Gemstones – Newest Additions!!

Regular readers of my blog (or my books) know that I’m a big fan of gemstones. I love faceted gemstones, cabochons, and tumbled stones. My books, The Gemstone Chronicles series, use the magical and mystical properties of gemstones as the basis of the magic the characters discover. I frequently go gemstone hunting at my favorite spot in the North Georgia Mountains, Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’, in Cleveland, GA. My two rock tumblers run almost all of the time, smoothing out the rough edges and polishing the stones I’ve found to a brilliant luster. Occasionally, though, I find a special stone that can be cut and faceted. Shown below is the first stone I ever had cut (an emerald)!


Faceted Gemstones Lana's emerald

Lana’s emerald


A 2.25 carat stone, it appraised nicely, and is still loose. Lana hasn’t decided on a setting yet. The stone is gorgeous, and since it was my first find, it is extra special!

My brother John found the peridot shown in the photo below. I had it cut for Lana. It weighed in at about 2.5 carats and I had it set in a sterling silver ring for her birthday. Beautiful!!


Faceted Gemstones

Lana’s peridot ring


Now, I have two new additions to the faceted gemstones family! I was hunting and found this rough ruby and sent it over to my faceting friend and he worked his magic. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the rough.

After cutting and polishing, here is the final faceted stone. Not huge by any means, but still weighing in at 1.3 carats, it is a great little stone!


Faceted Gemstones Ruby

Faceted Ruby


Note the description in the picture says sapphire, which is true. Recall that red sapphires are rubies! Gene cut the stone in a Cushion Cut, and it turned out beautifully!

I also sent over a piece of clear quartz that was stunning as a rough piece. Gene cut me two round brilliant cut stones about 1.25 carats each. I wanted to see how the quartz would turn out in a traditional diamond cut. I think they turned out great! What do you think?


Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz


What do you think about my faceted gemstones! I have some garnets that might facet well, but I have to get them cleaned up and see what they look like. A nice sapphire (blue not red) or a piece of aquamarine to have cut might be nice, but no such luck yet. I guess I just have to keep on looking!

Which of my faceted gemstones is your favorite? What setting would you use for the emerald or the ruby? Do you think the quartz brilliant cuts look like diamonds? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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The Elven Bow and Elven Sword Gemstones

The Elven Bow and Elven Sword gemstones! The front covers of The Gemstone Chronicles books all have the same symbol on them. It is a sword laid across a drawn bow. The sword has four gemstones in the hilt and the bow has places for four gemstones on the upper and lower limbs. The first book The Carnelian, shows only a carnelian and empty spots for the other three missing gemstones. Notice that Book Two: The Amethyst has two spots filled and two unfilled. Do you see a pattern here?



Christmas The Carnelian Cover


Anyway, I thought I would elaborate on all the gems in the Elven Bow and the Elven Sword and what they mean in the books. So, we will start with the Elven Bow and the Carnelian! The Carnelian is the stone of courage in Book One: The Carnelian. Carnelians also have other magical and mystical properties. They have been used to eliminate toxins from the body, fight depression, stop anger, and calm nervousness.

Elven Bow Gemstones:


Carnelian Sword


The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst features the amethyst as the stone of happiness and joy.  Among its other properties, the amethyst is a stone of peace and has a calming effect. An amethyst beneath your pillow can ward off nightmares and insomnia. Preventing drunkenness is another alleged property. Many believed the stone could detect poisoning and illness. If the wearer was poisoned, the stone lost its brightness. If the wearer were ill, the stone would pale.


Amethyst Sword


The third book of the series is The Gemstone Chronicles Book Three: The Emerald. Currently in the editing and revision stage, I plan to launch the book in June 2013! In The Emerald, the gemstone is the stone of healing. Emeralds restore spiritual balance, bring gamblers luck, and ensure safety to travelers.



emerald sword

Book Four: The Ruby is the final installment of The Gemstone Chronicles series. In the Elven Bow, the ruby represents love. Besides love, the ruby symbolizes royalty and power, dignity, and strength of the heart. Historically, people wore it to provide protection against natural disasters and fight fear.





Elven Bow Gemstones:

The Elven Sword gemstones stay with the sword the entire series. Already in the possession of the Dark Elves (or Drow), the Elven Sword gemstones begin to dominate the separated Elven Bow gemstones. Aquamarine is the first of the Elven Sword gemstones. In The Gemstone Chronicles, the Aquamarine is the stone of wisdom. In Book One: The Carnelian, Beebop and Maggie used the stone to help them escape a difficult situation (I can’t tell without spoiling). Sailors carried the stone to prevent seasickness and drowning. It also happens to be my (and Beebop’s) birthstone!




The second gemstone in the Elven Sword is the topaz. In the books, it’s the stone of truth. Topaz comes in various colors and many people are fond of the blue topaz. I chose the yellow topaz for the book. Believers say topaz reveals lies, deceit, and gives prudence and honesty to its wearers.




The third stone of the Elven Sword is the Garnet. The stone of justice in the books, garnet has a long history of magical powers. Once called the Warrior stone, combatants frequently carried it in battle to prevent injury and death. Believed to bring hope and luck to its wearers, the garnet could even help its wearers gain popularity.





The Sapphire is the last of the eight stones of the Elven Bow and the Elven Sword. In The Gemstone Chronicles, the Sapphire is the stone of Power. The sapphire is one of the most useful gemstones and has many magical properties attributed to it. Chief among them is protection against envy, authority, victory (for those pure of thought), and awakening a thirst for knowledge. It was thought to attract friends and repel enemies.




What do you think?

So, there you have it. All of the gemstone in the Elven Sword and the Elven Bow. Want to know how I used them in the books? No spoilers from me, you’ll have to read them! I welcome your comments about gemstones and which are your favorites and why!