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Unknown Gem
Topic Started: Tuesday 27-09-2011, 02:06 (1,042 Views)
Lucky Eddie
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Found this on the weekend while collecting some river gravel samples to pan off for gold.

Posted Image

Did a scratch test and it's harder than glass, because it scratches the glass without leaving any visible damage to the stone.

I'm inclined after looking at it thru a 10 power Loupe, and comparing it with details on wikipedia to think that it's possibly a small rough diamond, because of some evidence under magnification on one of the faces, showing trigons (of positive and negative relief) formed by natural chemical etching as detailed in a wiki entry about identifying diamonds.

I've had a lot of quartz crystals in my time and this doesn't appear to be quartz to me.

That said - I did find historic mention of a diamond discovery in the Pilbara back in the late 1800s when Gold was first discovered there.

We of course all know about the Argyle Diamonds in the Kimberly.

However there's not much mention of diamonds anywhere in the southwest - so I need to do some positive ID of this little sucker.

That could prove tricky.

Obviously I'm not keen to divulge the place as yet - at least until I look and see if there's any more hanging about in the same place. It was the most brief of visits!

Spectroscopy is possibly one of the most proof positive ways to find out....not sure where I could get that done here in WA?.

The flat bed scan against white paper posted here doesn't do it justice compared to natural daylight and looking with a 10 power Loupe.

In daylight the colors more of a blue grey than the brown depicted with the scanner light source and exposed for 18% grey which makes it look brownish in color.

Interestingly up to 80% of the Argyle Kimberley Diamonds are brown - they were not considered gem quality until recently with the marketing of "argyle pink diamonds" which are really just one of the shades of brown but now considered gem quality as buyer acceptance has crept into the market place.

In years past Brown diamonds were mostly all used for industrial purposes.

So - where to from here?
How to find out for sure - and then what do I do, if there's more?
Exploration lease?

Heck I just went looking for a little gold color - I wasn't looking for diamonds.....I was just about to throw the first shovel full of gravel away, in disgust that I couldn't find even a hint of gold color, and the very last little lump of gravels I dispersed with my finger - produced the little sucker depicted.

I figured what it might be pretty much straight away - I've watched a few shows about grading argyle diamonds on the idiot box before today and thats what made me decide to pocket it for later investigation.

Maybe I better go thru my bucket of gravel sample and see if it has any mates in there!.

Anyone an expert in identifying diamonds in the rough?
How many of you keep an eye out when prospecting & detecting for anything but Gold?
My interest levels have now gone up noticeably in the last 24 hours.
And that's without finding any Gold yet!

Whats the saying again?
All that glitters is not necessarily gold!
Diamonds are a girls best friend!.

I'm pretty sure it's not broken glass after the scratch test, but there are possibilities besides diamond of course.

I'm not in a position to do thermal conductivity tests.

Quote:
 

diamond identification relies on its superior thermal conductivity. Electronic thermal probes are widely used in the gemological centers to separate diamonds from their imitations. These probes consist of a pair of battery-powered thermistors mounted in a fine copper tip. One thermistor functions as a heating device while the other measures the temperature of the copper tip: if the stone being tested is a diamond, it will conduct the tip's thermal energy rapidly enough to produce a measurable temperature drop. This test takes about 23 seconds.[97]

Whereas the thermal probe can separate diamonds from most of their simulants, distinguishing between various types of diamond, for example synthetic or natural, irradiated or non-irradiated, etc., requires more advanced, optical techniques. Those techniques are also used for some diamonds simulants, such as silicon carbide, which pass the thermal conductivity test. Optical techniques can distinguish between natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds. They can also identify the vast majority of treated natural diamonds.[98] "Perfect" crystals (at the atomic lattice level) have never been found, so both natural and synthetic diamonds always possess characteristic imperfections, arising from the circumstances of their crystal growth, that allow them to be distinguished from each other.[99]

Laboratories use techniques such as spectroscopy, microscopy and luminescence under shortwave ultraviolet light to determine a diamond's origin.[98] They also use specially made instruments to aid them in the identification process. Two screening instruments are the DiamondSure and the DiamondView, both produced by the DTC and marketed by the GIA.


Maybe a professor in the University who does minerology or something could tell?

Or the Museum maybe?

Will be an interesting exercise finding out I guess.

Cheers!
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Nightjar
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Hi Eddy,
Sure hope you are onto something, at least it has raised the excitement bar.
Without positive identification it looks very much like, "Rose/ Smokie Quartz."
Am only assuming you found this in the SW, a known mineral sand production area.
As you well know mineral sands produce Zircon, Ilmenite, Monazite, Rutile & Titanium, the latter two are sometimes associated with rose quartz.

More info here;

http://gemcompendium.blogspot.com/2008/09/rose-quartz.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_mineral_sands_ore_deposits

Good luck,

Peter
Good luck & safe travels
Peter


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"Aging seems to be the only available way to live a long life."
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nuggetykath-68
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Hi Eddy,

I always keep my eyes open to spot any stones/gems/etc.
Have several which look like yours BUT could be different type.

Just thinking that maybe ILUKA could tell you as they are always testing ?
They also keep up with the very latest testing equipment so worth a try.
Should get my own checked!!!! Never really thought about that!!

Sounds interesting, hope its good news & you get more.

Cheers,

Kath
Be kind to others & smile.
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Lucky Eddie
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Thanks Pete and Kath.

Pete - Rose quartz sure looks like a possible candidate based on the pic in your link _ i have to agree there.

The only difference I guess is that in natural daylight - it has a grey blue tinge rather than the apparent pink brown hue the flat bed scanner light and white paper background have imparted.

There's a couple clear faces that form a window effect where you can see that the inside is clear (like a clear quartz crystal or diamond) and I can't get it to sit flat on the scanner to depict that in a scan unfortunately - you can only do that by holding it in sunlight and looking up at it.

Posted Image
Quote:
 
One face of an uncut octahedral diamond, showing trigons (of positive and negative relief) formed by natural chemical etching


With the 10 power Loupe - I am able to identify a series of these trigons on both +ve & -ve relief quite clearly on one flat face - which leads me to think it might just be a diamond perhaps.

Another test it passes is that when dragged across your face it has a "greasy feel" to the surface texture which apparently diamonds in the rough also have.

Short of taking it to an expert, I can't think of a reliable way to test at home for sure?.

What I don't want to do is get the topic all hyped up (particularly the press) if it does prove to be a diamond, because I want time to go back and see if there's any more - as well as to find out what's involved in getting an exploration lease etc over the area - assuming no one else has one already.

I think if the location were known - some of our local mining cos (the big ones) like BHP and Rio tinto who hold the controlling shares in Argyle diamonds - would just have their people who do this work blanket cover the entire southwest in exploration leases to deny anyone else the opportunity to lodge a lease application with the mines department.

I'm not looking to start a mine myself but WOULD like the opportunity to get the leases in place etc and find a couple or three viable good quality stones sufficient to interest one of the big miners into buying the lease/s if possible?.

You can see I know zip about this mining lease bidness myself.

That said i well remember that when Argyle was discovered back in 1986?- the then WA govt under Premier Burke wanted to go it alone in the ownership and production of diamonds and quickly learned that the whole industry world wide is owned by De Beers, and in the end our govt sold out to them in order to retain a 5% interest for WA taxpayers who's land the resource was found on.

Essentially DeBeers told them that if they continued to persevere on their own - that DeBeers would flood the world diamond market from their then Russian and South African mines and make them worth less than glass - until the argyle venture went broke.

We were essentially told we could have 5% of a great amount or 100% of nothing!
In short they made us a deal we couldn't refuse.(Minus the horses head in the bed).

I'm not looking to repeat that exercise if possible!.

Cheers!
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gemini
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Hi,

I will put in my 2 cents worth :wub: :wub:

It looks like a piece of Topaz to me,but i could be wrong. :P :P :'( :'(



..........................................gemini
gemini..................WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD WE LIVE IN.
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Topcat
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From my experience with gemstones I tend to agree with Gemini.........Topaz
Cheers,

Ted


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www.havewheelswilltravel.iinet.net.au
"I believe that if life gives you lemons,you
should make lemonade & try to find somebody
whose life has given them vodka, & have a party"!!!!

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beepinpete_WA
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Hi Eddie

Mate take it into any jewellers and they will have a gemstone testing probe.
they are 100% accurate and they should do it for free.



Pete B)
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Lucky Eddie
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Will try and get it into a jeweler to test with a gem probe - have been layed up a couple days after lasic eye surgery so can't drive anywhere at the moment - have a mask thing over my eyes face until later today!

Will report when I know something definite from a Jeweller.

I'll have to do some research on Topaz...

Cheers & thanks!
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gemini
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Eddie check this out it might help.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCOZOnjTic8




..............................gemini
gemini..................WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD WE LIVE IN.
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Lucky Eddie
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Thanks Gemini - very interesting indeed.

Still yet to follow up with a jeweler.

Maybe tomorrow!

Cheers!
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Lucky Eddie
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Ok Managed to get down to my local jewelers today - who happened to have a thermal conductivity diamond probe.

She showed me it testing a diamond in her own ring - then tested the sample I have - which although it lit up the digital readout a few bars - didn't light it up like a real diamond would have all the way into the red LEDs on the top of the readout scale to indicate diamond like her ring did.

This doesn't tell me what the stone is - only that it isn't diamond, so other suspects as above topaz, citrine, smokey quartz, etc are still likely possibilities.

The Jeweler was able to give me the number of a guy who cuts and polishes gems locally out Rivervale way, and suggested he will know exactly what gem it is if I phone and make an appointment to take it to him.

Jeweler suggested that if it is topaz or citrine etc and I get it cut and polished, that she will set it in a ring for my daughter in law to wear - which might be a nice exercise.

I do have enough rough gold for a band and setting etc but it has to be refined to 22 or 24 carat etc before the jeweler will use it and gold mark it with its carat rating etc.

So now I am tasked with how to refine a small quantity of alluvial nugget gold.

I picked up a couple panning dishes at Reeds this am - so will likely finish panning all the gravels I have thus far - and collect what gold dust I can from those as well - and try and refine a gold button using some borax and a potato and a oxy acetylene set.

Question is - how do I then refine it down to remove the impurities like silver etc, so that a jeweler can use it to make the band?

For those interested - the stone (whatever it is) came from the Collie River!. (No point keeping it secret if it isn't diamond after all).

It's just a bit of an exercise really - to see what I can do for the family - my son was the one immersed himself in the Collie Rover to recover the gravels etc so I figure his missus should get any spoils as such from his labors.

Mightn't be a diamond but if it's semi precious and he & I found it then we would want her to have it as a bit of a keepsake.

Most folks would sell their rough gold & use the $ to pay a jeweler to provide a band and setting from refined gold - and I could do that but I'd prefer to learn by doing the exercise if its not too difficult?.

I just like to know how things work - even if it's not economical to do it sometimes I'm a bit perverse (stubborn) like that!

The experience and knowledge is no weight to carry around and you never know when it might come in handy later in life.

So - who here knows how to purify gold at home and wants to explain a simple process?

Obviously I have access to oxy acetylene equipment so could probably weld up a small steel crucible of some kind to heat up - what else is involved?

Cheers!
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silverback
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Hi eddie,
search for your local lapidary club,they usually have the equipment and know how to refine your gold ,cast it and cut and polish your stone and finally how to set it.Usually good bunch of people with lots of info and interest.
i think you have to melt it first,then using gold testing sticks,find out the purity then using different alloys remelt to bring to desired carat.
All the best,
Peter
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Nightjar
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Hey Luckie Eddie,
The suspense is killing.
What did you find?

Cheers
Peter
Good luck & safe travels
Peter


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Lucky Eddie
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Sorry Pete, the fiscal imperative got in the way (Meaning I have to earn a few bob to keep the baliff from chewing chunks outta my somewhat ample butt)!

I took on delivering phone books and have 2.5 pallets of them stacked into the back of my F truck and another pallet in my trailer, with the azz end of the truck almost scraping ground!

Tomorrows delivery day one so I am going to be out of circulation a few days I think - there's about 2000 of them to deliver ( I have another pallet and a bit to collect from Kewdale yet)!

I think maybe its easier to make coin finding gold to this phone book delivery caper I tell you!

See what next week brings assuming I survive the next couple days, at least the walking will be good practice for swinging a detector eventually - hopefully the weight lifting involved will tone me up to carry my nuggets back to the car in future as well!

I figure i would need to deliver about 30,000 phone books to pay for a new minelabs 5000 model.........meaning at this rate its never gonna happen! :P

I know my limits and these first 2000 books might see me out I reckon.

Maybe when I get paid for the delivery's and feel lazy & temporarily cashed up again I'll get back onto the gemstone bidness - and determine just what it is - the fact its not diamond sorta killed the initial enthusiasm some.

This keeps up I might have to go back to sea to earn a living.

My life of luxury as a diamond mine magnate was short lived. :D

Cheers!
Edited by Lucky Eddie, Thursday 6-10-2011, 00:03.
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