The word lapidary originates from the Latin word lapis which means stone, and here at Southern Rockhounds you can experience the fun and wonder of turning a stone into a beautiful piece of jewellery.
The most common form of lapidary is a process called cabochon cutting. This is when a stone is cut with a flat bottom and a curved or dome top, and not only is it a process that can transform an ordinary looking rock into a breathtaking piece of art but it is a skill that anybody can learn. Cabochons however are just the beginning, because the final shape is only limited by your imagination!
Our experienced volunteers are always happy to walk you through the process, and will guide you along the various grinding wheels so you can discover the magic of working with gemstones. Our rock and mineral shop has an abundance of fantastically priced materials to choose from, not to mention a huge selection of jewellery settings that will ensure you walk away from your lapidary session with a beautiful piece to wear or gift to that someone special!
So how does it work?
Once you’ve chosen a stone to work with, it is secured to a stick using a special wax to help make the shaping process nice and easy. Next the stone is applied to diamond grinding wheels, beginning with an extremely coarse grit before moving along machines with increasingly finer grits. Once the desired shape and finish has been obtained, the final stages involve sanding on a fine grit sanding wheel followed by a polishing wheel with a special polishing oxide that will make your gemstone shine! If you have shaped your stone to fit in a setting, our amazing volunteers will then help you glue the stone into place.
Be warned though – the process of transforming a gemstone into a beautiful piece of art is highly addictive and will change the way you look at rocks forever!!!
To begin your Rockhound adventure simply visit our club rooms during one of our scheduled workshops. We can’t wait to see you there :)