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I just wanted to let you know your packages have put me over the moon.  I understood that they were “student” packages, and that there might not be any gems to cut,  I certainly didn’t expect any for the price but my initial exploration into the parcel has more than met my expectations!
I haven’t taken the opportunity to watch the private instruction materials for the challenge, and until today I had no practical lapidary experience beyond my rock tumbling days back when I was a kid.  I couldn’t wait for my dip wax to be delivered, but did have a chance to grab some sandpaper and sharpening stone and start inspecting and going through the package.
While this piece had a good indication of where to start, that grind was at an odd angle against the color bar and the majority of the piece was left for me to discover. While I can’t put a good final finish on this until the wax shows up, I wanted to share my first results:
The facing is a bit of a challenge, but I think this could work out to be a small stone (10mm x 5mm).  Although, I am a bit tempted just to leave it in this specimen/carved form.
Have an excellent week!
Thanks again!
James
James Hirtzel hand carving

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