Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

4.1 Learning About Lapidary Rocks


4.1: Learning About Lapidary Rocks

The goal of this activity is to orient and familiarize kids with the most commonly used lapidary materials. For beginners, you should focus on the more inexpensive and commonly available forms such as agate, jasper, onyx, and soapstone.

Agate (a hard stone that is easy to work and to polish; good for cabbing)

Jasper (similar to agate in taking an easy polish; good for cabbing)

Flint (good for flint knapping to make arrowheads and spear points, utilizing proper safety precautions; also good for cabbing)

Petrified Wood (good for cabbing, book ends, specimens for display; one problem, though, is that petrified wood has a tendency to split or flake)

Soapstone (a very soft rock especially good for beginners to rock carving)

Onyx (a soft rock good for carving)

Alabaster (another soft rock good for carving)

Marble (a bit harder than onyx or alabaster, but still excellent for rock carving; takes a good polish)

Except for quartz and garnet, the following stones are much more expensive and/or require more skill to work:





Stones for faceting and/or cabbing: varieties of quartz (clear, rose, amethyst, smoky, citrine), topaz, tourmaline, emerald, aquamarine, peridot, garnet, corundum (ruby and sapphire), diamond

Encourage adult club members to bring in examples of finished cabs, carvings, faceted stones, and other projects they‘ve done. They also should bring along with examples of the rough material from which the finished stones were crafted to show your kids before and after pieces.