It was bound to happen. You work this much with stones and you end up needing lapidary equipment.
It doesn't take up that much room. Honestly.
I wanted to be able to fix a broken stone or change the shape of a stone. I always save stones when they break. You never know when you'll find a friend with lapidary equipment or whether you'll get some yourself!
Here's the machine I bought. It's called a "slated flat lap".
Those are called "diamond discs". They range in grit from 180 to 14,000. The copper tube drips water onto the discs so dust is kept to a minimum and the stones stay cool.
Here's the pile of stones I wanted to alter.
Some of these are broken. Others have edges that are too pointy or aren't quite in a pleasing shape.
I took this Mary Ellen Jasper stone and wanted to get rid of that wonky corner. Here's how it started.
And here it is reshaped! (Please forgive these photos. I was too excited to show you, so I just snapped them without doing a whole photo shoot dealywig.)
Here's another Mary Ellen jasper. This one didn't have a clean, symmetrical shape.
And here it is cleaned up.
By the way, Mary Ellen jasper is a jasper found at the Biwabik mine an hour away from here. It's one of the few local stones I have in my collection.
I did try "cabbing" a broken stone. It's clear I need WAY more practice and experience. I have renewed respect for my favorite lapidary artists.
I won't be making it to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show this winter, so I just ordered a boatload of stones from two of my favorite lapidary artists: Richard Kocurek from Brightstar Gems, and Ken Brittan from Sparklequest.
Here is one of Richard's stones - I'm crazy excited to see this one in person (that shadow in the center is from the photography).