The art of cutting, shaping and polishing rocks and minerals.
The RGC provides members with the opportunity to cut, shape and polish rocks and minerals. This is more generally referred to as lapidary, which comes from the latin lapis which means stone. The most basic form of lapidary is the making of cabochons (referred to as cabbing).
A cabochon is a specimen of rock or mineral that has been cut, shaped and polished to form a symmetrically shaped piece, which is rounded and domed on one-side, and flat on the other. Traditionally, the shape chosen for cabbing is an oval, but cabochons can be made into a myriads of shapes and sizes. The lapidarist will generally select the shape, size and degree of doming to be performed on the specimen based upon the purpose of the cabochon (e.g. for jewellery), the size and shape of the specimen itself, and what patterns are evident in the specimen which the lapidarist wishes to accentuate.
Cabbing is usually selected for work on opaque specimens (e.g. jade, opal, feldspars), whilst faceting is more generally reserved for transparent specimens (e.g. diamonds, sapphires).
Cabbing is a fundamental skill and will be the first activity that new and prospective members will be introduced to at the club.
The club has all manner of cutting wheels, grinders and polishers required for every facet of cabbing, and new and prospective members will receive expert instruction in using the machinery and gaining competency in this skill.