Sunday, 22 December 2013
What is lapidary?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, lapidary (adjective) relates to the engraving, cutting or polishing of stones and gems. As a noun, a lapidaries is a person who cuts, polishes or engraves gems. The origin of the noun is Middle English, from Latin lapidarius (in late Latin 'stonecutter'), from lapis, lapid- 'stone'. The adjective dates from the early 18th century.
Diamond cutters are generally not referred to as lapidaries, due to the specialized techniques which are required to work diamond. Apart from figurative carving of gemstones, there are three broad categories of lapidary, the processes of tumbling, cabochon cutting, and faceting.
It is worth noting that many beads, cabochons and faceted stones are still cut by hand today and at Kernowcraft the majority of our gemstone beads will have hand drilled holes. This means that you need to be sympathetic to the type of bead you are using .As they are all supplied temporarily strung on thread it is very easy to overlook the size of the hole, especially when in the West it has become fashionable to thread them onto wire or headpins when they are not necessarily made with that use in mind in their country of origin. If you would like more information about working with beads with small holes, reads our detailed page here.