Lapidary is the art of working with stones – ranging from multi-mineral beach pebbles to the finest diamonds. The first lapidarists were our ancient ancestors, who noticed how a rock split under pressure or heat, who then discovered that flint could be flaked or chipped into tools. They carved symbols and pictures into cave walls or other stone, and noticed how sand and harder pebbles in rivers could shape and polish. You’ll see examples of lapidary in every museum, gallery or ancient building. Flint tools, bronze-age carved amulets, jewellery, stone sculptures, marble and serpentine columns, floors and murals…. art in nature.
Our workshop is equipped with a variety of saws, grinding wheels, flat laps, polishers and dremels on which our members can cut, carve, engrave, sculpt, cabochon or facet their masterpieces. We won’t let you loose on them until we’ve given you full training, including all-important machine maintenance and safety tips. We’ll also make sure that in your first few sessions on your own, there’s someone on hand to guide you and answer any questions. You can use your own stones or buy some of our collection, at minimal prices.
Some of our members simply saw apart their collected pebbles, to find out what’s inside. Some polish slabs and specimens for their own collections or displays, or to make ornaments, wall art or clock faces. Others turn their cut stones into a variety of jewellery, ranging from the simplest pendant to more complex settings combined with precious metals or enamelling (which you can read about on our other pages). Inspiration can always be found in our library of books to browse or borrow.
The only limit is your imagination!
This fabulous stone was cut and polished by a club member.