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The word lapidary refers to a person who masters the art of cutting and polishing stones. Apart from the mineral and gem stones he also works on the materials like glass, horn, bones, corals, copal, shells, pearls, jet etc. These are durable metals and they can carve designs on them. These items could be showpieces, broaches etc. In fact there are various patterns of designs which are observed in their work.
But the people who are into cutting diamonds generally use special techniques and are not really included in this category. There are people who chisel inscriptions on the stones or they create thin sections of the stones in the laboratories. They are also known as the lapidaries.
Fixing and cutting the marble stones, semi-precious stones like onyx are also included in the art of lapidary. This art is quite old and in China this art is in practice especially on the Jade stones since the reign of Shang dynasty.
Types of Lapidaries
The lapidaries are generally segregated into three categories. They are known according to the art they practice like tumbling, faceting and cabochon cutting. Tumbling is all about smoothing a surface that is uneven. The tumbling of the stones will need a special lubricant apart from the abrasive grit. Faceting is known to be the art of cutting the gemstones into geometrical shapes.
This enhances the looks and often price of them as they glitter in a better manner after faceting. The cuts could be round, square or semi-circular depending on the quality of the stones. Cabochon cutting is shaping the cabochon stones in a way that they acquire a special shape which has flatter bottoms and convex upper parts.
Lapidaries play an important role in determining the price and quality of the gemstones as often these depend on their cut and design.
There are various equipments that you will need if you wish to become a lapidary by profession or simply because this is your hobby. The equipments have been modernized now-a-days and they are extremely efficient in cutting the stones and other materials easily. The diamond band saw, grinders, trimming saws, flattening machines, drills and drill bits, carbide cutting tools are included in the list of lapidary equipments. The popular companies manufacturing these are Lortone, Graves, Raytech, Pacific etc.
You should by the equipments from a wholesaler who can help you out with an updated catalogue and list of equipments. The provision of buying these online is also available but you should be aware of the quality and efficiency of the product you are about to buy. These are few things which you should known about the lapidaries if you aspire to become one some day.