Members Only



Note: This COVID post set out below was ARCHIVED at 11.59pm, 25th February, 2022.


As from 11.59pm on Thursday, 18th November, there will no longer be density limits imposed upon the Club which means that there is no longer any need for Members to book a workshop session through EVENTBRITE.

However, until further notice, the following requirements still remain mandatory:
  • You still need to sign in at the Club by means of QR Code or manually writing your attendance in the Attendance Log Sheet.
  • Masks must still be worn at all times.  If, for medical reasons, a mask cannot be worn then notification from a Medical Practitioner will need to be sighted. 
  • Double vaccination is mandatory and you will be asked for proof (this will only be required once).  Proof of double vaccination can be provided with the QR check in.  You will need a hard copy of your Certificate if you do not have a smartphone. You can email us a copy of your certificate so we can have it on file and record your status if this is a better option for you.  We cannot admit you without proof of double vaccination.
  • We would still like you to make use of the sanitizers that are available to you.  Good hygiene is always an ongoing requirement. (But please be mindful that hand sanitizers are nearly always alcohol based, so if you are doing any soldering, please only use soap and water or a soap based handwash.) 
  • We would like you to be financial, so, if you are not, then please speak to us about your Membership.
Workshop opening days and times will remain as per usual for the time being. You will be notified if there is any change.

Thank you all for your ongoing cooperation. 


Please note:  The MLC Covid 19 Safety Rules & Plan (revised Nov 2021) was archived on 21st November 2021.  To view a copy of this Plan, please click on the link below:


GEMSTONE TOXICITY  TABLE (extracted from the International Gem Society webpage)
As a Member of a Lapidary Club, it is important that you follow Workshop OH&S Practices and Guidelines.  Safety equipment such as eye and ear protection should be worn at all times and when working with certain gemstones, a face mask with an inbuilt filtering system should also be worn.  Remember to never drill dry, cut dry or grind dry and always wash your hands after handling gemstones in rough form.  When working on certain gemstones, gloves are recommended.
For further information on individual gemstones, please click on this link Gemstone Toxicity Table
Lapidary Related Downloads and Useful Information, Tips and Instructions etc etc 

Melting Point of Metals
One of the most important characteristics of a metal is its melting point, also known as its melting temperature.  Whether you are processing the metal or using metal components in a high-temperature setting, knowing the melting point of a metal will help you make the most of it.

Minimum 'Metal Gauge' Recommendations

Enter some essential info and this website will let you know its recommendations for the minimum gauge (thickness) of metal to use for your job.  

International Ring Size Conversion  

Chainmaille Student Information  

International Gem Society 

Lapidary and Faceting Guides, Tips and Instructions.   (Interesting website) 

Here's a collection of 'Tips of the Month' from archived Mordi-Agate News Magazines.

Help us keep the soaring cost of sawing down - Proper use of the trim saw.
Stone cutting: Remember: If the stone does not fit under the saw blade guard then it is too big for the trim saw and must be cut on the slab saw.  The slab saw is kept locked and must only be used by authorised members.  

Don't forget to contribute to the Club for the cost of sawing. Please refer to our trim saw and slab saw cost cutting chart to estimate how much you need to contribute.  
  • Is the saw lubricated? Ensure sufficient lubricant is being applied to the blade. If lubricant is needed, and you are not sure what to do, please seek the assistance of the Duty Officer. 
  • As a matter of courtesy for the next user, do not leave a dry saw and please tidy up the area.  
  • Moderate pressure please. Apply moderate pressure when cutting. Take your time. Pushing too hard will strain the blade and motor and cause unnecessary wear. Damage will be done to the diamond tipped blade if you push too hard and blades are very expensive to replace.  
  • Saw in a straight line. Do not force the blade out of alignment by trying to cut in a circular or curved pattern.

This month it’s all about the pickle. No, not the one that goes on a sesame seed bun, but the acidic liquid substance used to remove oxidation and flux from newly soldered silver. Pickle works better and faster when hot. An old crock pot with a glass lid makes a great pickle pot. You will also need a pair of copper or plastic pickling tongs for removing pieces from the pickle (copper doesn’t react with the pickle but make sure that the tongs that you are using are not made out of a ferrous metal as this will react with the pickle). 

Troubleshooting – you’ve taken your silver piece out of the pickle pot and it has a pink hue to it. When this happens it means that your pickle has become contaminated. This could have occurred because a bit of binding wire was still attached to your piece when you popped it in the pot - or you might have used steel wool to do some sanding and a small particle has remained attached to your piece. You also could be using the wrong tongs as mentioned above. All you need to do is remove the culprit and your pickle should clear right up. The pink on silver is a copper “blush” and can be sanded or buffed off, but it is irritating. Some information extracted from ‘How to solder jewellery ‘, Lexi Erickson, Jewelry Artist Magazine, Winter 2014

Rinse. We all know that after the pickle comes the rinse. Rinsing removes most of the pickle solution from the metal, but not always all of it. Any residual pickle will cause rust and corrosion to your nice, shiny and expensive tools. If you want to avoid pickle corrosion you can make up your own neutralizing solution. You can do this by simply adding Bicarbonate of Soda to a container of clean water and keeping this container in the area where you ‘quench, pickle, rinse and dry’. (Bicarbonate of Soda can be purchased from the cooking condiments aisle at your local supermarket.) (2 tablespoons of Bicarbonate of Soda to 500 ml water should do the trick.) All it takes is a dip of the silver into the neutralizing solution after removing it from the pickle, then move on to the clear water rinse. So, the process would be: ‘pickle, neutralize, rinse’. Some ideas adapted from article by Tom and Kay Benham, ‘How to solder jewellery’, Jewelry Artist Magazine, Winter 2014. 

Disposing of your rinse water. One of the many uses of Bicarbonate of Soda is its ability to alter the Ph level of water from acidic to alkaline. So, when you want to change your rinse water or your neutralizing rinse water, then just add a few extra teaspoons of Bicarbonate of Soda to ensure it is neutralized (add Bicarbonate of Soda until the liquid stops frothing - no froth means it is neutralized). Then you can add this liquid to a bucket of water to dilute it and break it down even further, then pour it down the toilet. Remember: neutralize, then dilute with water. 

How long does pickle last? When is it time to change your pickle? As long as you keep your pickle free of contaminants, it can last for a very long time. When is it time to change your pickle? Some people say that you only need to change your pickle when you can no longer see the bottom of the pot, but others say that when the liquid starts to turn blue / green from the collected oxidation, then it is time to change it. Then again, some people say that as long as the pickle keeps doing what it’s supposed to do, then just leave well enough alone. We leave this up to you. 
Note: Pickle is corrosive and you will need to take the appropriate precautions such as protective eye wear and apron (you should already be taking these precautions when working with pickle in any event). Remember: If you get pickle on your skin, wash it off straightaway with clean tap water. 

Disposing of your pickle. There are two options for disposing of your unwanted pickle. 
 1. Your pickle solution must be neutralized before its disposal. Pour it into a separate container and add Bicarbonate of Soda until the liquid stops frothing. No froth means it is neutralized. It can then be disposed of at your local council hazardous waste dump.
Note: Check with your Council for details. 

Want to know how to dispose of pickle in an environmentally friendly way using Kitty Litter, then click on to this video from The Online Jewelry Academy Please note that the name ‘Bicarbonate of Soda’ is an Australian term. In the USA they call it ‘Baking Soda’. Please do not pour any of your liquid waste into the stormwater. 

Do you have rusty tools? 
It's no secret that preventing rust is far easier than removing it. You only need to wrap your tools in a lightly oiled cloth to prevent the problem. At the very least, cover them with a cloth when not in use. However, once rust is present, it takes time and effort to sand it from the surface using fine-grit emery paper, and then you must polish the tools. Another tip is to make sure you store your tools far away from your pickle pot, as the mist and vapours from the pickle can quickly reduce your shiny tools to an ugly, rusted mess. When you anneal your metal, take extra care to rinse and dry it, as well as your hands, so that you don't introduce any pickle or moisture to your tools. Adapted from Tom and Kay Benham's "Ask the Experts" column. Jewelry Artist Magazine, December 2013


Don't quench too quickly after soldering

If you quench too quickly, the thermodynamic shock can break the solder joins apart.  Let the piece sit a few seconds and then quench.  In addition, if you quench a hot piece of silver directly into the pickle, especially if the pickle is dirty, junk in the pickle can embed itself into the piece and make it gritty. Tom and Kay Benham's "Ask the Experts" column

Balling up silver wire  

If you are not sure if your wire is fine silver or sterling silver, ball up one end. Sterling silver will blacken and form a pitted ball; fine silver will stay clean and bright and form an even, round ball.  

When you’re balling up the end of sterling silver wire, dip the wire in flux. (Note: if you’re using fine silver wire, you don’t need flux).  

If you’re balling up both ends of the wire, don’t ball up one to your desired size and then try to match it on the second end. It’s much easier to match the ends if you heat one end a little, then the other, balling up each end gradually.

Stone grinding  

Grind wet. Always grind wet to protect your lungs from breathing in the dust from stone polishing. In addition, wet grinding eliminates damage to expensive diamond wheels and stone-polishing tools.  

Judge dry. Although we always grind wet, it is recommend that you always dry the stone completely before judging its surface. Water on the stone surface will only hide scratches and give a false reading.  

Use the whole wheel. Use the entire width of the grinding wheel, not just the center. This will ensure longer life and better performance for the diamond wheel.  

Skip no grit. Work sequentially from the coarsest to the finest grit. Don’t be tempted to take a short cut by skipping a grit in order to save a little time. The progression through finer and finer grits is necessary to remove the scratches left by the previous grit. The goal is to have the scratches become finer with each grit size until they can no longer be seen. Experience has shown that if you skip a grit, the final polish will show big scratches. 

You will wonder where those scratches just came from! The truth is that they were there all the time, but you just didn’t sand them out when you were supposed to. If you skip a grit and find deep scratches, you’ll have to go back three or four grits to remove them. It’s always faster to do it right the first time rather than to take shortcuts and risk damaging the stone you’re working on.

Keep it clean.  Remember, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. This is especially important when it comes to lapidary work. To prevent cross-contamination from coarse grits, you need to be careful to rinse the stone at every change of grit during the stone polishing process. By Tom & Kay Benham, Contributing Editors, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, from the February 2010 issue.

Saw Blade Lubricant Oil has soaked into your stone.
Sometimes some stones (particularly softer ones) can absorb the oil used in the lubricant on the trim saw during the cutting process. Oil is not a friend in cutting and polishing cabochons.

If this has happened, it may be the reason why you have not been able to achieve a polish on the finished stone. 

If you suspect that the stone you are about to cut will absorb oil, then try the following before you cut it: Soak the rock in water for 24 hours or longer (longer is better) before you cut it on the saw. After cutting, wash thoroughly. 

If you feel that your stone has already been affected by oil, then a handy hint is to wash it with a good quality soap, rinse it and then place it in clean kitty litter for a few days. Kitty litter is a great way to suck out the unwanted oil. (Adapted from the entry by Dick Peterson; Timpanogos Gem & Mineral Society, Provo, UT Rock Chips, December 2011.)

Jade is a semi-precious stone that goes by many names, including nephrite, greenstone and pounamu. Typically green or black in colour and often flecked with stunning hints of gold and cloudy milky hues, jade has been revered by cultures around the world for thousands of years. Jade is sourced from New Zealand and all over the world, including Canada, Siberia, Australia and China. New Zealand’s European colonists typically refer to jade as greenstone, while Maori people call it pounamu. Elsewhere, geologists call the stone nephrite while gemmologists know it simply as jade. Despite regional differences, these names all refer to the same material. 

Differences between Jade South Australian jade from Cowell is known for its black jade nephrite, which can be anything from deep black through to olive green. New Zealand jade comes in a variety of colours, including milky and yellowy mottled patches, silvery grey-green stones and rich green finishes, and boasts a variety of patterns and textures. Canadian jade includes both dark and light green colours. 

But be careful of imitation Jade. The confusion as to what jade is has been compounded by this deceptive practice, so be aware …………….  
  • Amazon jade is actually Adventurine.  
  • American jade is a rock – a mixture of idocrase and grossular. 
  •  Australian jade is Chrysophrase.  
  • Colorado jade is green microcline.  
  • Flukien, Manchurian, and Honan jade are all soapstone.  
  • Indian jade is Adventurine. 
  • Jadeite is pure jade.  
  • Jasper jade is green jasper. 
  • Korean jade is bowenite, a hard variety of serpentine.  
  • Mexican jade is green dyed marble or calcite.  
  • Oregon jade is a dark green jasper.  
  • Silver Peak jade is malachite.

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