I’ve had a few people ask me where I’ve been getting some of my supplies and what accessories I use. So here is a list of suppliers I have purchased from and am happy with. I will be adding to this list as I get time and remember who I’ve ordered from.
For the record, I have no business relationship with these suppliers other than as a satisfied customer.
In no particular order…
www.polymetricinc.com I purchased a much better transfer fixture from Polymetric. If you want one for your Omni-e faceting machine, please phone and speak to Zane as he said he can customize the fixture to work with the keyed Omni dops for a small charge. Ever since using the Polymetric transfer jig I’ve had zero problems with transfer mis-alignment (I use superglue).
Faceting and Lapidary Equipment/Supplies:
www.rockpeddler.com I’ve ordered several times from Rock Peddler and will continue to do so. I have purchased laps, cabbing wheels, saw blades and various supplies from them over the years. They are prompt, polite and the one time I had a problem (not their fault) they were very quick to rectify the situation.
www.battlap.com Okay, if you’ve never heard of the BATT Lap it’s time you did! I purchased one and let it sit on my shelf for months before finally using it… and now I hardly ever polish with anything else. Fast, flat and kind of sexy in a hunk-of-metal sort of way, it’s probably the favorite lap in my collection. And if you want a good chargeable cutting lap, the BATT lap has been used with glowing reviews with diamond grits from 300-200k. He’s also got a bunch of interesting articles and links on his www.gearloose.com homepage.
www.darksidelap.com Gearloose has been at it again creating the equivalent of crack for faceters! His new DARKSIDE lap is a composite polishing lap designed for oxides and diamond – just give it a good wash and you’re good to go on the next polish. It’s getting rave reviews and I can tell you that using it with Linde A to polish Aquamarine was a dream (straight from a worn 600 to polish).
Okay, Gearloose has been hard at work creating new products which have made faceting much easier. In recent months he has introduced Cerium Oxide, Alumina and Chrome Oxide BATTSTIKs for applying polish with ease and minimal mess. As a follow-up he has also produced diamond compound DIASTIKs in various grits for pre-polish and polishing. And to complement those diamond-based polishes, he’s also introduced an odour-free, non-toxic lubricant called SNAKE OIL (formerly BATTGlide). This lubricant does not stick to stones in the way WD40 does so it is quite easy to wipe off the facets so you can see what’s going on. Coupled with his BATT, DARKSIDE and BATTWING laps these products are an amazing solution for cutting and polishing.
And even more updates from Jon – he’s at it again!! or should I say, he continues his innovation. I’ve purchased a new Chrome Oxide-based Greenway polishing lap (just add water and polish!) as well as the dual-lap version of it called the GreenWing. You can see a video of me charging and polishing with the GreenWing on my blog.
Now (2015) things with Gearloose have gotten completely out of hand! His latest product is 13,000 polycrystaline diamond water-based prepolish. And it KICKS BUTT! Counter-intuitively it cuts faster than 2500 or 3000 on BATT, while leaving a much smoother commercial-polish finish. How much faster? 3-4x faster, in my subjective experience! How’s that for a mind-blower? A few seconds on the polish lap is all you need to get an amazing shine. He calls it “13K PCD Pandimonium”
His new shop is at gearloose.co – that’s right “.co” and not “.com”.
www.lightninglap.com A close second (in my humble opinion) to the BATT Lap is the Lightning Lap — which I use only for oxides but others use it with diamond. Marsh created this from a composite material which can be washed and re-used with different grits of diamond. Really! (note: I have one of the original LL, not one of the new coated versions)
www.magdop.com Also by Marsh is the MagDop. It’s indispensible for aligning your rough on the dop to get maximum yield. Get one, you’ll love it. They’re cheap too, compared to how much expensive rough it can save.
www.lopacki.com Daniel Lopacki is not only an amazing gemstone artist, he distributes some great saw blades and diamond bits. I’ve been very happy with both his regular and thin diamond trimsaw blades.
www.betadiamond.com Roy at Beta Diamond Products is friendly and quick to provide information. The diamond powder is excellent as is the service. The minimum package size is 25 carats and they have 70 different sizes for faceting. I have been using their diamond powder on BATT/BATTWing/GreenWing/RedWing+5 with excellent results. Phone or email with your questions and you’ll get an answer quickly.
Faceting and Lapidary Rough
Warning: If you are considering buying from a Nigerian supplier Dico Trading run by Daniel (Dandy) Onwude, please be aware of the following. In 2008 I ordered some tourmalines from him and sent money, but then found out he had sold the original parcel to someone else. After several months of back and forth I finally got some stones. Fast forward to spring 2009 – my bank made a mistake and transferred money to his account instead of the proper supplier I was buying from. He emailed asking why I had sent him money so I informed him of the mistake and asked him to return the money. He immediately went silent and has never returned any email since. The bank has refunded the money to me as it was their mistake, but the bank has not been able to recover the money from Daniel.
He is on Facebook under “Dandy Onwude” (previously as “Daniel Onwude”) and is associated with the websites “9jaconnects.com” and “www.dicowebsolution.com”. The last email I received from him was using the address “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
I highly recommend you avoid this person.
If you’re going to try buying directly from Nigeria, Pakistan or other overseas suppliers/miners, I’d suggest making sure that the stones you are seeing photos of will be the exact stones being sent to you. I have had problems with other overseas suppliers (not necessarily from Nigeria) where the stones shipped were not the ones agreed on in photos, or after I sent them money they ran off to find stones that looked like what we’d agreed upon. It’s probably best to negotiate payment upon inspection or at least some sort of balance upon inspection if you’re going to order larger parcels from suppliers you have no history with.
By the way, I have dealt with at least 4 other overseas suppliers who I will not be putting on this page – for various reasons ranging from blatant misrepresentation to poor customer service. I also have purchased from several US-based facet rough suppliers who also will not appear here, mostly for low bang-for-buck and one for an extremely bad treatment as a customer.
As for buying faceting rough on ebay – I’ve done it in the past and almost always regretted it. I’d rather pay a known price from a person I know and avoid the inevitable frustration and disappointment. I’ve probably paid more in return postage costs (for those ebay purchases I was able to return) than I ever saved in rough costs.
The three Nigerian suppliers I used list below seem to have disappeared. I suspect it’s a result of the unrest in Nigeria as well as the extreme price inflation of all rough, especially Tourmaline.
www.lisaelser.com (formerly www.custom-cutgems.com) This is Lisa Elser’s site with a good selection of cut faceted gemstones as well as top-notch faceting rough. She’s well-known in the faceting community, especially here in Vancouver BC. She carries a lot more inventory than her website shows, so if you’re looking for something specific email or call her as she may have something hidden away. She’s got a wide variety of sizes, qualities and prices to suit most needs and budgets. I have purchased many great rough stones and parcels from her. I will often tell her what I’m looking for (stone types and sizes, plus of course budget!) and have her make a selection for me – and I’ve never been disappointed.
www.rough2refined.com This website is run by Cathy Dolson and David Dawson. I recently purchased a number of difficult to find faceting rough from them – Imperial, Rhodolite, and Grossular Garnets along with some Zircon and Sapphire. All the gemstones were excellent quality, exactly as described and pictured on their website. Cathy is very quick in her communications and shipping. I was very pleased with my order.
www.westerngem.com This website is run by Pete Brush in Washington State, close to Vancouver, Canada where I live. He often posts notice of his offerings on the Gemology Online forum, much to the detriment of my wallet! Excellent prices and great quality.
www.prettyrock.com Another US-based supplier of both rough stones and faceting supplies (I didn’t know what category to put them in, so I put them here as I’ve mainly purchased rough gemstones from them). They are one of the few sources of Hanneman gemological tools out there and the unparalleled Guide to Affordable Gemology.
www.gemstonesandrough.com This is a US-based supplier who I’ve purchased from and been satisfied. His photos and descriptions are clear, and his prices are very reasonable. Lots of different materials to choose from. He’s kind of dropped off the planet in the last couple of years (since 2012) so while his website is still up I’m not certain he’s still in business.