Wednesday, November 19, 2014

20% off Turkey Day Sale

20% off your entire order!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fall 20% off Sale! 

Fall Sale Starts Tomorrow! 

20% off your entire order. 

Coupon Code: FallSparkle 

Fine Print: Valid 9/22/2014 to 10/05/2014. No Cash Value. Can not be used on UltraTec Machines

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

20% Off Coupon - Happy Fourth of July!

20% off Your Entire Order  
Just put : F1reW8rks
in the discount coupon box at check out.

Valid from July 1 2014 to July 7 2014
 Discounts can not be combined.  

No cash value. Can not be used on Ultra Tec Machines or Parts

Thursday, May 22, 2014

20% Off Coupon - Rockin' Summer Kick Off

We are going to have a rockin' summer here at  To get things started off right, here's a 20% off coupon code.  Just put it in the discount box at check out!

20% off Your Entire Order  
Just put :RockinSummer20Off
in the discount coupon box at check out.

Valid from May 22 2014 to May 31 2014
 Discounts can not be combined.  
No cash value. Can not be used on Ultra Tec Machines or Parts

New Facet Rough Up - 5-20-2014

Emerald preforms, sapphire and rubellite!  See them all here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Big Honking CZ!

If you are looking for a big piece of rough to cut a nice door knob or other large project, check out some of the large CZ we have been posting!   You can find all the select CZ here.

Here are just a few:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Watercolor: Agates and Jaspers

I really enjoyed painting this one.  Playing with all the textures and patterns was a lot of fun.

16 x 20 watercolor on Arches cold press

Prints and note cards available here:

Friday, March 07, 2014

Gem and Mineral News

The zircon was found in Jack Hills, Western Australia. Image courtesy of John Valley

Worlds Oldest Gem Discovered
Scientists have confirmed that a tiny zircon gemstone discovered on a remote rock outcrop in Australia is the oldest known material of any kind formed on Earth.  read more here

Dai Sun Jewellery's "The Inheritance" (pictured) is made from 
18K rose gold diamond bangle with ruby, sapphire, garnet and opal. 
It won JMA International Jewelry Design Competition's Best Craftsmanship Award last year.

2014 Hong Kong Gem and Jewelry Show Opens
Two massive international jewelry shows opened in Hong Kong this week The 31st Hong Kong International Jewellery Show opened at the Hong Kong International Convention & Exhibition Centre on Wednesday.  The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show opened at AsiaWorld-Expo on Monday.  read more here

Great Story about a Young Rockhound
“I’m hoping the house doesn’t sink,” quipped Tina, pointing toward not only the rocks — which weigh an estimated 10 tons and line baseboards and window sills as well as shelves — but the bulk of trophies Brian, 13, has scored by winning the junior division of the Portland regional rock and gem competition three years in a row.  Read more here

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Monday, March 03, 2014

Faceter Spotlight: Mari Phillips

Faceter Spotlight: Mari Phillips

Mari Phillips cut the amazing 2.82ct ( 8mm x 8mm)  feldspar spectrolite!
I just love the way it softly glows and shimmers.

Mari shared her experience cutting the spectrolite:
This spectrolite actually wasn't too bad.  I was worried about the blue schiller orientation and polishing due to all the inclusions.  The spectrolite polished up nicely, thankfully, with cerium oxide on the dark side.  the orientation of the blue flashes worked out well and I am just grateful for that miracle.  I could see the flash did run pretty deep in the rough and not so shallow.  sometimes it is easy to accidentally cut the blue flash out.  Done that before!  

Spectrolite on the dop.

Sneaking this in, she also cut this wonderful sunstone!  
What a great choice for the design. It really shows off the sunstone.

Mari has been faceting about 7 years and really enjoys cutting Mexican fire opal, sunstone, and Montana Sapphire.   She can be contacted by email here: maregg07{at}

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rocks News: Gold in your Backyard, Balancing Act, and more

In recent rock related news...

photo source: Routers

A trove of rare Gold Rush-era coins unearthed in California last year by a couple as they walked their dog may be the greatest buried treasure ever found in the United States, worth more than $10 million, a currency firm representing the pair said on Tuesday.  More here:

Michael Grab has mastered the art of stone balancing. He explains how he does it. “The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of “tripod” for the rock to stand on.  More here:

On Oct. 30, 1964, a policeman dusts for fingerprints on case broken into
 by a cat burglar who made off with some $200,000 in jewels from 
the Museum of Natural History. (© Bettmann/CORBIS)

How Three Amateur Jewel Thieves Made Off With New York’s Most Precious GemsThe fascinating story of the hunt for Murf the Surf, a criminal who wasn’t quite the mastermind he made himself out to be   Read more: 

'Gemstone' rush brings life to a halt in Madhya Pradesh's Mandla

We don't know what they are but we want some...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Watercolor: Spinel Painting Finished

16 x 20 Watercolor on Arches Cold Press 
These are some of the spinel we picked up in Tucson this year.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New in the Faceter's Gallery: Jim Kropp

We have added Jim Kropp, carver and silversmith, to the Faceter's Gallery.    Welcome Jim! 

Need a stone cut? Want to see what other cutters are up to? Check out the gallery!
Potential Clients: Please note, you are working directly with the faceter and PrettyRock is not involved in anyway. This is not an endorsement. Always do your research before choosing someone to cut your stone.
Cutters: We would love to have you join the gallery. It's free! The only rule is that you must do your own cutting.  It is just our way of trying to support our faceters. Contact us for details.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wallpaper: Valentine Tourmaline

Happy Valentine's Day from our heart to yours

These are faceted tourmalines.  The center stone is a 1.57 watermelon tourmaline, and the center is naturally shaped like a heart.  It's a tiny thing, but I love it!

You are welcome to share the image above, and I also made wallpaper for you without the quote.  You can find the wallpaper here:

Here is a close up of the heart stone by itself.  I bumped up the contrast a bit so you could see it better.  As I said the stone is tiny and not easy to photograph! (this is not for's mine! ♥ )

Got any heart related rocks or jewelry?  I would love see them!  Share the photos or a link in the comments.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bling! Sculptured Jewelry by Jim Kropp

I love seeing what artists do with the stones they purchase from us.  Jim Kropp took a hunk of  CZ and created this amazing work!  I can't decide which photo shows it better, so here are both. Click the photo for a larger image:

What Jim has to say about his work:
Been sculpting wood, metal and stone for over 65 yrs and still do.  Got tired of big stuff and decided to do miniatures that can be worn.  Everybody else does traditional jewelry, so how about sculptured jewelry.  About 10 yrs ago I saw an article by Woods out of Texas and tried my hand.  Again most people use more traditional settings for carved stones, so I added a more sculptured look to my settings.  Now I also design, carve and cast my settings in Argentium Sterling silver.

All of my work has been self taught.  Having previous experience working with stone and metal, it was easy to scale down to jewelry sizes.  One just has to learn the influences of stone hardness, toughness and grain which point to the proper tools to use.  All of my initial roughing out is done with diamond burs on a rotary grinder.  Then small discs of silicon carbide sandpaper is used with stone softer than 7.  Starting with 200 grit and going to 2000 grit.  Then a final polish with 14000 diamond paste usually finishes the task.  Stones harder than 7 require diamond paste all the way.  My current carborundum (hardness of 9) project fits this harder sequence nicely.  The largest challenge is to uniformly polish each curved facet from edge to edge and top to bottom.  All of my shapes are nonlinear and free formed.  They are generally nonsymmetrical concave surfaces and It takes a lot of practice to freehand polish the bottom of a those holes.

The only advice I can give to someone starting out is first to thoroughly understand all lapidary procedures to make a polished stone.  Then to practice, practice, practice.  Start carving the easier soft materials like wood or calcite and work your way to harder stone materials.  In the process, read every published article around.  If at all possible, contact an experience carver and take some lessons.  Don't know of any schools that teach carving.

My favorite materials are any pretty rocks, be they transparent or opaque.  The light reflected is generally from the front surface showing off the curves.  My favorite metal is silver, but gold, bronze and copper work well depending upon stone color and design.  Since all of my stones have original shapes, all of my settings require original designs.  However, the basket cage is favored to grasp the stone itself.

You can see more of Jim's work here:

Thursday, February 06, 2014

On My Desk Today Feb 6 2014

Weighing some of the rocks from Tucson.
A few cat hairs won't make that much difference...

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Back from Tucson!

Here are just some of our treasures!  I will post some more photos of our trip in the next few days..just wanted to give you a sneak peek!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Learning: UltraTec's Faceting 101 Tutorials!

If you have ever wanted to learn to facet, check out this new series on faceting:

Part 1, Introduction, Parts of the Faceting Machine -

Part 2 Dops -

Part 3 Laps -

I will keep you posted when the next ones come out.

Planned for the future:

Part 4 Choosing Rough - Size, shape, color 

Part 5 Preforming 

6. Dopping

7. Faceting the Pavillion 

8. Faceting the Girdle 

9. Prepolishing 

10. Polishing 

11. Transferring 

12. Cutting The Crown 

13. Cutting The Table 

14. Undopping The Stone 

15. Closing

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Football players are even competitve about their rings!

Football players are even competitve about their rings!

GIA - Photo courtesy Tiffany & Co.
Great article about their design and some of the interesting facts and stories about the rings.

Read  here:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Funny (not rock related)

This is Chief, one of our cats.  He found full bag of catnip.  Enough said.