Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

Badge 4 Lapidary Arts


4. Lapidary Arts

Many rocks that look dull and uninspiring on the outside actually harbor a gem within. The lapidary arts allow you to unlock that gleaming beauty. As with any art, successfully completing a lapidary project requires training and planning, guidance by an experienced mentor, and practice, practice, and more hands-on practice! To start, you should read an illustrated guidebook, such as James Mitchell‘s The Rockhound’s Handbook or Pansy Kraus‘s Introduction to Lapidary to learn about the various forms of lapidary arts and to pick a project that interests you. In addition, learn about safety in the lapidary workshop. Then jump into the workshop and practice, practice, and practice some more—it‘s fun, and the outcome can be a thing of beauty forever!

Activity 4.1: Learning About Lapidary Rocks

Different rocks have different characteristics. Some are hard, some soft. Some are uniform in color, others are banded, while still others are mottled and mixed in color. Learn the qualities of different rocks for lapidary projects, such as soft soapstone or hard agate. List several different rocks and the sorts of lapidary projects they may be good for.

Activity 4.2: Choosing a Lapidary Project

Buy or borrow a book on lapidary arts and read about one or more of the various arts that you would like to try. Among the many activities practiced by rockhounds are cabbing, faceting, inlay, wirewrapping, silver smithing, beading, carving, and rock tumbling. Work with your youth leader to determine all the materials and equipment you‘ll need. Then outline the steps for your project.

Activity 4.3: Workshop Safety and Maintenance

Note: This activity is required to earn this badge.

Make a list of safety rules to follow in completing your lapidary project and demonstrate your knowledge of safety in a workshop.

Activity 4.4: Completing a Lapidary Project

Note: This activity is required to earn this badge.

Complete your lapidary project.

Activity 4.5 Sharing Your Lapidary Project

A thing of beauty is a thing to be shared! You can do this in several ways. Bring your finished project to a club meeting to share with friends and explain all the steps that went into its creation. Or write a brief article for your club newsletter describing your project and outlining the steps you took in making it. Or display your lapidary work in a case at your club‘s annual gem show.