Posted by John Hartman on May 9th 2016
Cutting Bisbee Turquoise from rough material is reasonably easy if you have the proper equipment and knowledge. The first thing you must realize is that Bisbee Turquoise has not been mined, for the most part, since the 1970's at the latest. For this reason it is possible that it may have become dried out or unstable and should be cured in water to bring back some moisture in the rock before cutting.
Cutting Bisbee Turquoise from the rough material is done with a diamond saw. It is best to use a lot of water when sawing, I recommend using an cutting agent that can be found at a lapidary supply or having clean water running vigorously on the saw blade when cutting your rock.
I then back the Bisbee slabs, I use a resin mixed with pumice, plaster of paris or any other dirt type material to thicken the resin. I color it with cement coloring that you can get from you local cement company. I then use cement coated nails and glue the backed slabs on the nails with thick super glue and let them set up for 12 hours, I drill holes in a 2x4 to hold the nails in an upright position while drying.
http://www.kingsleynorth.com/skshop/product.php?id=94163). My machine is set up with 80, 220, 400, 600, 1200 and 3200 grit diamond wheels which I grind, shape and sand the slabs into cabochons, I process with all six cutting wheels. I then use a lapping wheel with Sapphire Powder to give my cabochons the final polish. Using this process will give you a beautiful glassy finish on your Bisbee Turquoise Cabochons or most any other reasonably hard gemstone material.Finally, I remove the cabochons from the nails with a torch which heats the nails quickly. Once the cabochons are off of the nails I sand the back of the cabochons with my lapping machine or the 80 grit wheel to remove any excess glue. You can also use doping wax to ahear the stones to wooden dowels. If you do this make certain you let the cabochons dry for 6 hours, put them in the freezer for one hour and then quickly remove the stones from the doping sticks with a knife
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