Faceting and Stone Work – What is Lapidary?

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Faceting and Stone Work – What is Lapidary?

Faber Metalli – Goldsmithing and Lapidary

Our name isn’t exactly self-explanatory, is it?

Faber Metalli is Latin for “craftsman of metal.” Goldsmithing refers to jewelry making – whether out of gold, silver, or platinum. But what is lapidary?

Lapidary comes from the Latin word for stone – “lapis.” It is a noun, relating to stones and gems and the work involved in engraving, cutting, or polishing them. Examples of this are smoothing out stones into cabochons or faceting gemstones into the beautiful, light-enhancing shapes you find in most jewelry.

Someone who does this work with stones can be called a lapidary or a lapidarist. As well as being a goldsmith, William is also a lapidarist. He was initially hired as a lapidary intern in 2011, and his skills in the trade have grown since then. William is currently augmenting his knowledge of cutting and working with gemstones by taking classes to become a certified gemologist.

Lapidary Services

Faber Metalli is unique in being one of the few jewelry stores in Minnesota that also offers lapidary services. William can cut from rough or repair a stone that is chipped or scratched. Below is a brief explanation of what these services entail.

Cabbing – Raw material is ground down to the desired shape, usually giving a nice, even dome across the top. The work is done on an arbor using diamond abrasives and polished with metal oxides. This style of cutting works really well with opaque to translucent stones. The resulting stone is called a cabochon.

Inlay – The process for inlay work is very similar to cabbing. Instead of cutting an independent stone, the material is cut to fit an opening in the piece of jewelry. It is typically then epoxied in place before it is finished, then ground down and polished in the item.

Faceting – Unlike cabbing and inlay work, during faceting the gems are cut on a faceting machine, using rigid metal disks called laps. The laps are coated with diamond grit for cutting or with either super-fine diamond powder or metal oxides for polishing. The stone is secured to a metal rod, called a dop, which is held in a hand piece that allows for precise placement of the facets.

An extension of our unique lapidary offerings is our love of colored gemstones at Faber Metalli. In fact, William specializes in beautiful designs featuring colored stones. We also have a selection of loose stones for purchase or custom jewelry.


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