Gemstone Review – Gemstone and Silicosis – agate gemstone types
agate gemstone types –
30*40 mm is a good size for Pendents and even Rings for that matter. The silver work needn’t be bulky, chunky or heavy to draw attention. For instance a beautiful “Painted Jasper” cabochon of the same size would draw attention by the sheer beauty of the stone. With silver in the background, so to say.
The very physical property of such stones, is to display its innate, natural beauty to the naked eye. Although the stone when yet unpolished, looks not so impressive.
Painted Jasper, Moss agate, bloodstone, Silicated Dinosaur bones, Fossil Wood, Fuchsite Quartzite
The art of cutting cabochon is as old as History itself. Earlier, gem cutters would begin by sorting roughs of various types of Jasper, Blood stone, Agate, Carnelian etc. Break the chunky mass into chubby (about 15mm thick) pieces in a particular geometric shape, namely round, oval, square, triangle, rectangle etc; It was then further ground on all sides on a rotating emery Wheel. Nowadays it is made of Carborundum bound together by a polymer.
The eroding action is very powerful and simply grinds out the unwanted mass with great speed and accuracy. Since the grinding is a physical act of removing material from the pre-form,the dust emanating from the contact area is a dry and choking, silica dust.
The powdered particles constitute a finely ground “rock flour” of about 1 micron+/- in size. This dust then merges with the surrounding air, and enters the lung through inhaled air. This action of inevitable inhalation goes on for about 3-4 years resulting in a irreversible condition of the lung, usually called Silicosis. In other words, Death!
I have been associated with the Agate cutters of Khambat (cambay) a small gem cutters town on the coast of Gujarat, for over 10 years. Sorry to say, some of the best cutters I knew are no longer here to read this article, as most of them have succumbed to the dreaded condition called Silicosis. Dying a slow gradually dominating breathlessness, culminating in the ultimate sacrifice, Death.
These cutters had no choice, unemployment, penury, Hunger, Family, responsibilities all rolled into one package drove them to accept the painful slow death. There are 100 s of families at stake right now!
Won’t it be wonderful if the large hearted Gems and jewelery manufactures, Business men take up this mantle and help save a large portion of the community. The lone person, who is the bread winner for that family, the talented Gem cutter, Agate Industry’s work horse. A human being who has no options left, just no option at all.
Or…is there a way out?!
By: Pradeep Gour Copyright © 2010 Pradeep Gour
– Gemstone and Silicosis
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