Encyclopedia > Lapidary

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Lapidary, which means "concerned with stones", is the craft of working, forming and finishing of stone and stone-like materials (amber, shell, jet, pearl, copal, coral, horn and bone, glass and other synthetics) into functional and/or decorative, often wearable, items.

Sculpting in stone, architectural stone, and preparing laboratory 'thin sections' may be considered lapidary arts though the term is most commonly associated with jewelry and decorative household items. (bookends, clock faces, ornaments, etc.)

At present most lapidary work is accomplished using motorized equipment and resin or metal bonded diamond tooling in successively decreasing particle sizes until a polish is achieved.

Diamond cutting because of the extreme hardness of diamonds is a specialized field that uses different techniques from lapidary.

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