I don’t think there’s a boy anywhere who hasn’t collected stones sometime during his
youth. Since I’m the mother of four of these, I’ve watched each of them stop to pick up unusual stones. Their father’s interest in finding Indian arrow heads, and the fact that as a family we would attend gem shows, helped keep them interested.Sometimes I would find these treasures in the pockets of their jeans, sometimes I wouldn’t, and if they made it to the clothes dryer it was then very easy to detect them. It’s funny though, it turned out that our daughter, our one and only girl in the family, has picked up her father’s interest and has ” run with it” and actually is conducting a home business using gem quality stones and is transforming them into beautiful jewelry.
It’s been said that, “rock hounds never die they just petrify.” Actually wood that petrifies can be polished into a beautiful collector’s piece. How can anyone stay interested in stones? It’s not until their beauty shines through that they can be truly appreciated. For this to happen they must be cut, shaped and polished. Not until then will you see its value and beauty. That reminds me that before we are molded and shaped by God, we have little value and are just potential pieces of art. There is no quick way to cut, shape and polish stones, the process takes time, and patience. So it is when lives are changed and people have the desire to become like Him, it takes a lifetime!
There is a name for the process of stone cutting, etc. It’s called lapidary work and it can’t be done in a man’s basement work shop, unless he adds several pieces of specialized machinery. A saw that cuts stone has blades that are embedded with diamond dust. Not until the rock is slabbed can you see the beauty of it and even then not until you get the stone wet. Wetting the stone gives you an idea of what it will look like when polished.
I remember buying a stone tumbler for our boys, which works fine for small stones, that is if you are willing to wait several weeks for the final results. That was too slow a project to hold the boys’ interest. If you’re really serious about lapidary work then you will need a special grinding machine. Now that you’ve cut a rock into slabs, you will use a template and with a pencil mark the area that you want cut out.The oval shape is most popular. Then it’s back again to the saw, as you trim out the shape you chose. Then the polishing begins as you hold the piece against diamond cutting wheels of various degrees of grit. In the last polishing step, buffing compound is used which brings out the stone’s beauty. What do you do now? That stone with its beautiful sheen needs to be wire wrapped or placed in a bezel before it will become jewelry. Both wire wrapping and forming bezels takes skill. Knowing how to solder is necessary also.The finished stone is called a cabochon.
I’m told that gems are no longer called “semi precious.” This term use to identify the less expensive stones. Now, they are all “precious” but some cost more than others.Today, people will enter a jewelry store and ask for sphene or iolite. Actually it’s the hardness, durability, brilliance, clarity and color that determine their value and not all stones will polish nor are they hard enough.
People tend to think of the precious ones as the faceted diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. But don’t cut short a highly polished agate, jade, rhodochrosite, lapis, amethyst, rose quartz, citrine, and turquoise which was made popular by the Indians of the southwest. You may never invest in the machinery needed or develop the skills necessary to become good at lapidary work. However, our daughter, Janine, has and she works with a great variety of stones. Check out her web site at http://www.gentlespiritcreations.com/ or video at http://youtu.be/SI_3jYciPb0 In it she actually shows how lapidary work is done.
Isn’t it amazing that God has provided such beauty in rocks? How much more is waiting for us to discover? We can’t imagine what else may be hidden in the mountains or bowels of the earth. God is probably wondering why it’s taking so long for us to discover it!