What are Mineral Clubs and what do they do ? Listed below is a little information on Mineral Clubs like the SPokane Rock Rollers
Lapidary (Mineral ) clubs promote popular interest and education in lapidary, the craft of working, forming and finishing stone, minerals and gemstones. These clubs sponsor and provide means for their members to engage in all forms of jewellery making, cabochon cutting and faceting, carving, glass beadmaking and craft work. The clubs also promote and facilitate healthy outdoor activities in the form of field trips to various fossicking locations for the purpose of collecting gemstones or mineral specimens. Lapidary is particularly popular in the United States of America and Australia where large numbers of clubs were formed in the 1950s and 1960s.
A lapidary (the word means "concerned with stones") is an artist or artisan who forms stone, mineral, gemstones, and other suitably durable materials (amber, shell, jet, pearl, copal, coral, horn and bone, glass and other synthetics) into decorative items such as engraved gems, including cameos, or cabochons, and faceted designs. Hardstone carving is the term in art history for the objects produced and the craft. An overview of the art history of the subject is given there. Diamond cutters are generally not referred to as lapidaries, due to the specialized techniques which are required to work diamond. Gemcutter typically refers to diamond cutters or producers of faceted jewels in modern contexts, but artists' producing engraved gems, jade carvings and the like in older historical contexts.
The arts of a sculptor or stonemason do not generally fall within the definition, though chiseling inscriptions in stone, and preparing laboratory 'thin sections' may be considered lapidary arts. But, figurative engraved gems and cameos are certainly the work of artists. In modern contexts, the term is most commonly associated with jewelry and decorative household items (e.g. bookends, clock faces, ornaments, etc.) A specialized form of lapidary work is the inlaying of marble and gemstones into a marble matrix, known in English as "pietra dura" for the hardstones like onyx, jasper and carnelian that are used, but called in Florence and Naples, where the technique was developed in the 16th century, opere di commessi. The Medici Chapel at San Lorenzo in Florence is completely veneered with inlaid hard stones. The specialty of "micromosaics", developed from the late 18th century in Naples and Rome, in which minute slivers of glass are assembled to create still life, cityscape views and the like, is sometimes covered under the umbrella term of lapidary.
In China, lapidary work specializing in jade carving has been continuous since at least the Shang dynasty.
Apart from figurative carving, there are three broad categories of lapidary arts. These are the procedures of tumbling, cabochon cutting, and faceting. The distinction is somewhat loose, and leaves a broad range within the term cabochon. The picture to the left is of a rural, commercial cutting operation in Thailand. This small factory cuts thousands of carats of sapphire annually.
Most lapidary work is done using motorized equipment and resin or metal bonded diamond tooling in successively decreasing particle sizes until a polish is achieved. Often, the final polish will use a different medium, such as tin oxide, glasitite or cerium(IV) oxide. Older techniques, still popular with hobbyists, used bonded grinding wheels of silicon carbide, with only using a diamond tipped saw. Diamond cutting, because of the extreme hardness of diamonds, cannot be done with silicon carbide, and requires the use of diamond tools.
There are also many other forms of lapidary, not just cutting and polishing stones and gemstones. These include: casting, faceting, carving, jewellery, mosaics (eg. little slices of opal on potch, obsidian or another black stone and with a clear dome (glass or crystal quartz) on top. There are lapidary clubs throughout the world. In Australia there are numerous gemshows including an annual gemshow, the Gemborree which is a nation-wide lapidary competition. There is a collection of gem and mineral shows held in Tucson, Arizona, at the beginning of February each year. This group of shows constitutes the largest gem and mineral event in the world. The event was originally started with the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society Show and has now grown to include dozens of other independent shows.
Handmade stone jewelry is jewelry which has been assembled and formed by hand rather than through the use of machines. According to the guidelines of the FTC, in order to be stamped or called "handmade" the work must be made solely by hand power or hand guidance . In essence, this means that jewelry may be made using drills, lathes, or other machinery, but it must be guided by human hand. This precludes the use of punch presses, CNC machinery and casting to name a few processes that would not qualify as "handmade". Beyond that caveat it can be anything made out of anything that would be considered jewelry. The American Gem Trade Association Spectrum awards , the Gem Center Idar Oberstein, and the De Beers Awards include awards specifically for handmade jewelry.
Although there is much mass produced jewelry in the world, there are many people who prefer to have work that is hand-crafted by a real artisan, and the arena of hand made jewelry and other items will likely remain healthy because of that fact. Much jewelry that is marked or sold as "hand made" often is not truly so, though it may be essentially so.
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Information coeurtesy of Wikipedia.org