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 Post subject: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:10 pm 
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Quoting this article...
Everybody hated the name of the Klingons. But there was no time to change it, and Gene Roddenberry was out sick from a rare disease he'd gotten from working with gemstones.

What would be this rare disease?


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 Post subject: Re: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:59 pm 
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A few possibilities spring to mind if he was screwing around with a cab machine without gloves and a mask. Silicosis, copper poisoning from malachite, arsenic poisoning from malachite, etc. There are plenty of opportunities for pain if you forego basic precautions.

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 Post subject: Re: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:24 am 
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The most likely candidate as an occupational disease associated with stone carving and gemcutting would be silicosis from chronic inhalation of crystalline silica dust (from quartz, or quartz rich rocks, or heavy use of sand based abrasives)

Although problems could also occur from prolonged/repeated work with some specific minerals which show some chemical toxicity (or at least irritating properties) in case of chronic inhalation/ingestion (for instance people specifically carving orpiment, cinnabar, or malachite should observe some safety precautions...)
Let's also note that rocks such as serpentinite and talc can be associated to asbestos minerals.

Here's a good read about occupational safety (chapter about minerals): http://books.google.fr/books?id=nDhpLa1 ... ls&f=false


Last edited by cascaillou on Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:12 am, edited 16 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:57 am 
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I got copper poisoning from cabbing malachite and azurite when I was a teenager.
I hadn't a clue at the time it could be dangerous.


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 Post subject: Re: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:48 pm 
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I was well-warned about malachite, azurite and the copper-based minerals so luckily I avoided any problems. Lots of water and don't lick your stone to wet it!

The one that surprised me, later, was abalone shell. I had tons of it from my uncle who was a fisherman in Vancouver. He used to go to the Gulf Islands and pick abalone by the dozens off the rocks at low tide. I remember as a child getting several dozen from him, frozen and in a green garbage bag. It's now commercially-extinct and a protected species (no collecting at all, if you can find any) along the BC coast, and likely will never recover.

I kept many of the shells and tried polishing cabs out of them but gave up as they were just too thin. But plenty of warnings again about using lots of water and not inhaling/ingesting the dust.

-Allan

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 Post subject: Re: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:50 pm 
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Oh, and Tigereye too. It's got asbestos fibres in it... though I remember buying and sawing in half by hand a coil of asbestos insulating tape so I could use it as a soldering ring for silver and gold work. I only found it and sent it to the hazardous waste place a few years ago.

-Allan

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 Post subject: Re: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:03 pm 
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I severely doubt if the asbestiform fibres in tigereye would pose any danger. They're completely intergrowth with and encased in quartz, so you're not likely to get actual free asbestos particles out of it. What you are likely to get is free silica which can also wreck your lungs, though, so use lots of water and wear a respirator (and gloves too, make it all part of your standard procedure).

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 Post subject: Re: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:22 pm 
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I don't think tiger eye or nephrite are hazardous, however I'm wondering about serpentine dust?


Last edited by cascaillou on Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:31 pm 
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Serpentine isn't one mineral, it's a group with different varieties and crystal forms. Trying to cut asbestiform chrysotile would be a very bad idea, but that stuff sorta crumbles in your hands so it's not likely anyone would try. The lapidary varieties are very different.

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 Post subject: Re: rare gemstone disease?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:05 pm 
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sure they are different, but what about the possibility of lapidary serpentine being contaminated with fibrous asbestos minerals (as associated minerals)


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