Growing Bismuth Crystals


Minnesota Mineral Club Member Anthony Amundson shows his process for Growing Bismuth Crystals.


A lapidary (lapidarist, Latin: lapidarius) is an artist or artisan who forms stone, minerals, or gemstones into decorative items such as cabochons, engraved gems, including cameos, and faceted designs. The primary techniques employed are cutting, grinding, and polishing. Carving is an important, but specialized technique.

Hard stone carving is the term used in art history for objects produced by the specialized carving techniques, and the techniques themselves. Diamond cutters are generally not referred to as lapidaries, due to the specialized techniques which are required to work diamond. In modern contexts “gem cutter” typically refers to people who specialize in cutting diamonds, but in older historical contexts it refers to artists producing engraved gems such as jade carvings and the like. By extension the term “lapidary” has sometimes been applied to collectors of and dealer in gems, or to anyone who is knowledgeable in precious stones.



Faceting gems is a rewording hobby. The practitioner gets to learn crystallography, and select different facet patterns based upon the stones natural crystal structure to best reflect light. Facet lapidary tools can either be home made or purchased as complete systems.

Sphere Making

Sphere machine

Sphere making is the ultimate lapidary skill. Spheres show the natural beauty of stones in 3D. Lapidary knowledge is required in material selection, saw techniques, grind techniques and polish.