Sunday, January 27, 2013

Osio Mountain Lapidary Rocks!

Mary and Her Gorgeous Cabochons

Slabs Ready to Cut
Today, we will be talking to Mary, an old friend of mine from a soap making forum about her latest passion, rocks, minerals, and cutting them into amazing cabochons for jewelry. Mary just opened her Etsy shop this weekend. Please look for the link and favorite her shop to help her celebrate the grand opening of Osio Mountain Lapidary. Thank you for your time Mary and I can't wait to see what you add to your Etsy shop!

Now That's What I Call a Serious Saw!

1) Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your craft?
I’m Mary and my husband is Jon, and we are total rock hounds! We make cabochons (for jewelry making) out of stone. First we cut rough rock into slabs, then shape it, grind it, smooth it, and polish it. We also collect fossils, and are slowly turning our own rocks and fossils into jewelry, as well as selling our designer cabochons to jewelry makers.
2) How did you get interested in rocks and cabochon making?
I’ve always loved rocks. When I was in kindergarten, my mom would find tons of rocks in my pockets! And I’d always smack rocks onto the pavement to try to find geodes! I never did, but it was fun. In the past couple of years, Jon and I have been interested in making our own jewelry and we loved the looks of rock cabochons, so we tried it ourselves and LOVED it! It’s truly our passion. We have more rocks than we know what to do with at this point! And Jon is a scientist, so we’ve been getting into fossils too. Our son Liam has his very own rock collection at the age of 3.
3) What types of equipment and materials did you need to get started?
With lapidary work, there are tons of pieces of equipment that we’ve had to buy slowly over time. If you want to get into tumbling, you need sturdy tumblers (not the kind you had as a kid!). Rotary tumblers shape rough stones, and vibrating tumblers finish the job, making a nice polish.
For cabochon making, we have a slab saw for slabbing rough rock into slices. We also have a tile saw with a diamond blade to cut the slabs into rough shapes. We have a cab machine (actually it was a grinder and we put a diamond wheel on it, along with an expando drum, with various belts with grits to move it from smooth to polished). We’re looking to buy a hand polisher to polish slabs and face-cut rough rocks, for specimens.
For jewelry making, we have a dremel with diamond drill bits on it. We also may buy a drill press for easy drilling for jewelry and – perhaps in the future – coring for candle holders.
4) Are there any low cost beginner options to get into this craft?
I would suggest tumbling. A good tumbler from Harbor Freight costs about $40 or so for a single barrel rotary tumbler. If you want to cut simple shapes with a saw, a tile saw with a diamond blade is your cheapest option. Otherwise, a heavy duty hand sledge hammer and a chisel are good for getting rough rock into small, tumbling pieces. Safety glasses are REQUIRED.
5) What knowledge of minerals and geology did you have before you started? How much have you learned?
We had basic knowledge when we started, but we have learned SO much in the past couple of years. We knew general things, like rubies, emeralds, what a banded agate looks like, that kind of thing. Now we know many different types of agates and jaspers, which we work mostly with. Did you know that flint comes in beautiful colors and swirls? We didn’t either, until recently. Mineral guide books will point you to expensive mineral specimens and barely gloss over agates and jaspers. You need to be on a rock forum or go on Ebay and browse to really learn the various types. We have also learned the MOHs hardness scale of various rocks, which is super important when you’re tumbling, so that things don’t scratch each other.
6) What are your plans for your cabochons?
Some of them we are selling as loose designer cabochons, but some will be turned into drilled pendants for jewelry. We would love to get to the point where we have more expensive items, as well as basic agates and jaspers. We would love to learn to work with softer items, which can be tough to get a good polish on.
7) How would someone contact you if he or she were interested in purchasing cabochons from you?
We have an Etsy site, which we just opened! We are constantly adding more to it. We also have a Facebook page, where you can PM us anytime!
Please attach a few pictures I can share, if you don't mind. A great idea is a before and after and then maybe some pics of finished pieces with your cabs and/or tools and equipment.
9) Do you have a FB fan page, twitter, etsy shop, or other website/social media to share.
Mary's Partner In Crime (See the Safety Goggles???)
Amazing Rock
All Part of the Daily Grind...

1 comment:

  1. Hey. Your idea to make cabochons from stone is really great.. Even I am thinking to do so.. But i don't have proper lapidary tools..