Lapidary creating your own cabbing machine

my cabbing machine...

by Eric Mitchell


...can grind, sand, polish and with the aid of a keyless chuck, carve and buff, a versatile homemade cabbing machine


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tumble action

Plucking some rough from the ever growing piles is no doubt fun at times but also an increasing weight to bear, creating a space just shouts louder for more finds & purchases to fill, this green and yellow agate called loudest, perhaps gaining in popularity,
it seems to have adopted the name of the mythical singer orpheus from the (same region) Rhodope Mountains Bulgaria which was first given to the mineral Hinsdalite, nevertheless this agate is found with celadonite(silicates of manganese, iron, potassium)
and brown, yellow jaspers, with it occasional clear or dendritic areas it can produce wonderful landscapes.

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That Piece Of Quartz Lapidary Woes

by Ron Willis

I am the proud owner of an Australian Robilt faceting machine, which I bought from a friend who
never really got started - that was in 1970. Since then I have suffered humiliation, frustration,
hopelessness, personal damage and insufferable anger. Not one perfect gem has come off that
machine since it has been in my possession.

Read more: That Piece Of Quartz Lapidary Woes

Ooh! That’s rough

Ooh! That’s rough
By EW & JP Mitchell

At shows we’re often asked ‘where do you get your rough? Now I ask you, if you had a source of good cheap rough, would you tell me? The answer we give is truthful ‘wherever we can find it’. Tumbling and cabochon cutting (cabbing) you can quite literally pick it up rough for free along most beaches. Particularly those on the east coast, where you can find a good range of quartz and quartzites, jaspers and even agate, jet and amber.

Read more: Ooh! That’s rough

Crystal Ball Polishing

There's many ways to make a crystal ball, some are fairly automated, some manual and those in between.

Here's a video of a crystal ball being polished by machine.


Rock n Gem Magazine Issue 1 cutting tourmaline


Tourmaline is to me a truly fascinating gemstone. I am attracted by the wide range of colours in which it occurs and by its property of dichroism which can lead to even greater variety within the same stone. Don't worry about the term dichroism if this is new to you. Any gem crystal that is dichroic has a structure which absorbs light differently depending on which way it passes through. This property is only
significant optically from a cutters point of view. A piece of tourmaline without obvious physical problems will cut and polish well in any direction, but looking at how the light is behaving gives us some choices as to how the finished stone will appear.

Read more: Rock n Gem Magazine Issue 1 cutting tourmaline

one man and his tumbler

one man and his tumbler

Prior to becoming immersed into the extended world of stone polishing and lapidary I’m afraid I was guilty of a little snigger when I heard of folk spending weeks tumble polishing stones.
Not a complete novice to the tumbler having left many items of jewellery to rotate overnight but stones are a different matter.

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lapidary in ancient egypt issue 64

lapidary in ancient egypt

Beautiful gemstone artefacts span the history of Ancient Egypt. However, surprisingly little is known of Egyptian lapidaries and their work.

Experiments by an engineer called Denys Stocks showed that the copper and bronze chisels of the time could only effectively cut soft stones without causing damage to the tool.

Gemstone material can also be damaged by pounding with hard rocks or meteoric iron, so it has been difficult for Egyptologists to work out how semi-precious stones (such as those found in the jewellery of Tutankhamun) were shaped.

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Rock n Gem Magazine Issue 3 The Art of Dopping

The Art of Dopping – Martin Winterbottom

 Dopping is the art of securing stones to a stick so that they can be cut and polished. This is rather like other lapidary techniques in that once several methods have been tried and the best found there is a tendency to rely on that method and concentrate on other aspects of the job in hand.

Read more: Rock n Gem Magazine Issue 3 The Art of Dopping

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