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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune
  • Kathy’s Conundrums

  • For as long as I can remember I have liked the sound of the words lapidary and numismatics. I thought, ‘those words sound important’ and I wanted to know more about what they meant. Say it out loud…numismatics. The sound rolls off the tongue. I looked up the meaning and I found out it was study or colle...
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  •     For as long as I can remember I have liked the sound of the words lapidary and numismatics. I thought, ‘those words sound important’ and I wanted to know more about what they meant. Say it out loud…numismatics.  The sound rolls off the tongue.
        I looked up the meaning and I found out it was study or collection of coins or paper money.  Remember when almost every kid you knew had a penny collection.  We’d put the old pennies in a jar, take them out to the back yard and look through them checking the dates for old pennies?  We’d put the old pennies back in the jar and take the newer ones to the store to buy penny candy.
        The ruse of being a numismatist was an easy way to get any grown up to give me all their pennies.  But I soon tired of getting my hands dirty looking through the pennies before heading to the store.  And, trust me; it was no fun just putting the pennies into those special coin holders.  
        The importance of numismatics lost its luster.
        When I tired of being a numismatist I checked into lapidary. Once I understood that in order to be a lapidary it required lots and lots of expensive equipment, I put the idea of lapidary in the back of my mind.
        It popped forward this winter.  I joined the lapidary club here at SunBird.  For $10 a year I could use all the equipment in the lab.  Before I was allowed to work in the lab, I had to take four classes on how to use the machinery: slab saws, trim saw, diamond grinder/polishers and mini bench polisher.   There were a couple of other gals taking the classes. The instructors had over 20 years of experience each.
       The instructors had all sorts of rough slabs for us to work with: agate, blue lace agate, fossil stone, jasper, obsidian, petrified wood, rainbow calcite, serpentine, but not tiger eye.
        It was interesting to use the template to draw a design on the rock slab, take it to the trim saw and cut the rock as close as possible to the lines and then to take the rock over to the grinder/polisher and grind it down to form the ‘stone’ to use in the creation of a necklace or earrings. In the short span of a two hour lesson I had finished my first cabochon.  A cabochon is a stone that has been shaped and polished.  The finished stone has a convex top with no facets and a flat bottom.  The cabochon is large enough to make a necklace.
    Page 2 of 2 -     That first cabochon was made of soft stone, and easy to cut and polish.  My next cabochon was more challenging.  It was made from a fossil slab.  As I cut and polished the stone, tiny fossils popped out.  It took me two classes to finish the fossil cabochon. The aspect of lapidary that impressed me the most was how any ordinary looking stone could be placed in the slab saw; cut in half and then additional slabs cut from the stone that can be cut and polished into beautiful jewelry, clocks and other decorative pieces.
        I really like the sound of the word lapidary.
     

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