Our GENERAL LAPIDARY work is carried out in our original building, a magnificent old railway storage building in the CABOOLTURE HISTORICAL VILLAGE. This area contains a grinding and polishing workshop, a stone cutting workshop and the club’s public retail shop.

WHAT WE DO?

General lapidary consists of the cutting and shaping of semi-precious gem stones, rocks and minerals to create items for inclusion in jewelry, or simply to be displayed as items of beauty.

THE GRINDING AND POLISHING WORKSHOP

Cabochon cutting is a process generally applied to material which is opaque or translucent, (transparent material is more commonly faceted). A stone of particular beauty is sliced using rock saws, and roughly trimmed. It is then cut to a specific shape (round, oval, teardrop etc). Further shaping and polishing turns it into a beautiful jewelry piece, ready for display, or for inclusion in a beautiful piece of jewelry created in the silver smithing or casting shops. (For example, rings, pendants, broaches)

Other general lapidary work includes the polishing of stone or semi-precious gemstone for display and/or inclusion in mineral, gem and rock collections etc.

Many of our members receive training in several, or even all different activities, enabling them to create beautiful items from the raw rock to the finished jewelry item.

Another activity in our general lapidary area is stone tumbling. Raw stone (including but not limited to semi-precious gem stone) is crushed and processed in our tumblers until they are highly polished. The finished stones are used for a variety of purposes, from jewelry making by our silver smiths, to selling to the public in our shop. Our club is very popular with children, and many organised groups visit. We use our tumbled stones to provide these children with a hands-on fossicking experience, one of the most popular activities in the Historical Village.

Our grinding workshop contains 11 multi-wheeled grinding machines, plus a small flat lap, and sheets of glass for hand flat-lapping. All of the machines are water cooled for cooling and dust suppression. We also have polishing wheels and two x two wheel grinders for swift reduction of rough stones and slab edges (There are three diamond wheels of 40, 60 and 100 grit and one carborundum wheel.) The purpose of having these rough grits is to prevent damage and contamination of our better sets of wheels.

THE STONE CUTTING WORKSHOP

The club has several large rock cutting saws for the slicing of large rock materials into thin slabs suitable for further work. These machines are not generally available to all members, and work here is done by the rock cutting supervisor, however the service is available to all members.

We also have a number of small trimming saws, which are used to trim rock slices into smaller shapes for cabachoning. All members use these machines after proper training in their use.


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