Lapidary Services - Stone Treasures by the Lake
A lapidary is an artist or artisan who forms stone, minerals, or gemstones into decorative items such as cabochons, engraved gems and faceted designs. A lapidarist uses the lapidary techniques of cutting, grinding, and polishing.
Diamond cutters are generally not referred to as lapidaries, due to the specialized techniques which are required to work diamonds. In modern contexts, a gemcutter is a person who specializes in cutting diamonds, but in older historical contexts it refers to artists producing engraved gems such as jade carvings. The term lapidary has sometimes been applied to collectors of and dealers in gems, or to anyone who is knowledgeable in precious stones.
The earliest known lapidary work likely occurred during the Stone Age. As people created tools from stone, they inevitably realized that some geological materials were harder than others. The next earliest documented examples of what one may consider being lapidary arts came in the form of drilling stone and rock. The earliest roots of drilling rocks date back to approximately one million years ago.
The early Egyptians developed cutting and jewelry fashioning methods for lapis lazuli, turquoise, and amethyst.
The lapidary arts were quite well-developed in the Indian subcontinent by early-1st millennium CE. The surviving manuscripts of the 3rd-century Buddhist text Rathanpariksha by Buddha Bhatta and several Hindu texts of mid-1st millennium CE such as Agni Purana and Agastimata, are Sanskrit treatises on lapidary arts. They discuss sources of gems and diamonds, their origins, qualities, testing, cutting and polishing, and making jewelry from them. Several other Sanskrit texts on gems and lapidary arts have been dated to post-10th century, suggesting a continuous lapidary practice.
Lapidary was also a significant tradition in early Mesoamerica. The lapidary products were used as status symbols, for offerings, and during burials. They were made from shell, jade, turquoise, and greenstones. Aztec lapidaries used string saws and drills made of reed and bone as their lapidary tools.
There are three broad categories of lapidary arts: tumbling, cabochon cutting, and faceting.
Most modern lapidary work is done using motorized equipment. Polishing is done with resin- or metal-bonded emery, silicon carbide (carborundum), aluminium oxide (corundum), or diamond dust in successively decreasing particle sizes until a polish is achieved. In older systems, the grinding and polishing powders were applied separately to the grinding or buffing wheel. Often, the final polish will use a different medium such as tin oxide or cerium(IV) oxide. Cutting of harder stones is done with a diamond-edged saw. For softer materials, a medium other than diamonds can be used, such as silicon carbide, garnet, emery, or corundum. Diamond cutting requires the use of diamond tools because of the extreme hardness of diamonds. The cutting, grinding, and polishing operations are usually lubricated with water, oil, or other liquids. Beyond these broader categories, there are other specialized forms of lapidary techniques, such as casting, carving, jewelry, and mosaics.
Stone Treasures by the Lake custom cuts cabochons and offers them for sale online. See my creations below.