Lapidary / Types of Gemstone Cutting

Lapidary is a kind of shaping, working, and cutting of stones. The word is related and referred to small gemstones. Lapidary or gem cutting have been used 1000s years old. It is the way to transform rough gems / crystals into splendid gemstones. It unlocks the luster and shining of the stone.

There are following types of gem cutting styles:-

  1. Faceting
  2. Cabbing
  3. Tumbling
  4. Carving

We are giving brief details of gemstones types of cutting here:-


Faceting style of cutting in gemstones is an outstanding way of giving brilliance to the gemstones. If anyone want any wedding jewelry set made of gemstones like emerald, ruby or Diamond. One would like to go with faceted gemstones. It increases the value of gemstones. It gives beautify to the viewers. In faceting cutting style, gems are shaped in geometrical shapes and flat polished faces. The faceted style of cutting is very popular among people.

The brilliant cut round is an easy way to understand and start to learn faceting.

Gemstone faceting is great art or engineering in fact. In the start, one may feel faceting is difficult but it is not so ambiguous actually. There are different types of facet style gemstones.


Tumbling is a very simple form of gemstone cutting. Rough gemstones are put in a tumbler which is based on revolving barrel with abrasives. Progressively finer abrasive are used till polishing of the gem. One have noticed on the beaches and rivers coming from mountain about rocks. Which are in usually nice shapes and forms. They are naturally tumbled by friction of water and rocks.


Cabochon cutting is very popular among people. Cabbing is very popular for of cutting among people. It is an easy and anyone can master on it.

A cab can be of any form and from any stone precious, semi precious, rocks like ceramic, porcelain or wood.  It does not matter where it come from. Its shapes are flat, domed, or rounded inside. The stone cutter first select the stone for cabbing. Mark it with particular shape or template on the stone. One can select the beautiful patterns for exact finishing shape.

After marking, the shape is cut using trim saw and cooling lubricant to keep the saw blade from becoming too hot. Some machines which are used during cabbing process.

After cutting, they are well grinded with basic outlines. Then comes shapes making and finalizing with polishing work.


The more artistic, challenging part in lapidary is carving. It needs really very aesthetic and artistic sense to carve a stone. It needs further expertise along with cutting. In the past, the old civilizations started to carve a gem. The art is called glyptgraphy. Many thousand years before, gemstones have been carved for the members of past Roman nobility. This art can be found in many other civilizations such as Persian, Assyrians and Egyptians.

There are several types of carving. One of the best known forms is cameo. If the design is cut into the top of a cab, it’s called an intaglio or relief carving. If the design is carved on the back, it’s a reverse intaglio.



Mineral Deposits in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is estimated to have $3 trillion worth of mineral deposits, which through years of insecurity have remained unexploited. Gold, iron ore, copper ore, emeralds, lapis, rubies as well as natural gas are all found in the north of the country.

10 Simple Tests For Identifying Minerals

Minerals have a variety of physical and chemicals properties that can be evaluated using simple tests. The under mentioned checking method can tell us about mineral with simple laboratory tools and equipment. However, in some cases some tests can be dangerous for minerals and gemstones.

  1. Hardness
  2. Mohs Hardness Scale
  3. Magnetism
  4. Color
  5. Luster
  6. Streak
  7. Fluorescence
  8. Crystal Shape
  9. Specific Gravity
  10. Fracture
  1. Hardness

Hardness in any mineral tells us about resistance of a mineral. How much a mineral has an ability to resist against environment or changes? Minerals are formed by different durability level and characteristics. There are various levels of checking the hardness of a mineral. One can check the hardness of mineral with simple scratching with an hard tool on the surface of the mineral.

  1. Mohs Hardness Scale

Three is a list of hardness of common minerals. During checking of hardness test, it may destroy the mineral so care should be taken. The hardness of minerals and Mohs Hardness Scale are studied and examined used in laboratories .

  1. Magnetism

A pure Iron and magnetite (Fe3O4) are rocks which have magnetic effects. There are also some meteorites which has iron rich having magnetic effects. There are many minerals having richness of iron which are half magnetic and have magnetic susceptibility which can be measured as well.

  1. Color

We can judge the mineral or a gem through its colour. Colour can be observed by necked eye easily. But we cannot trust on colour regarding identification. A single mineral can be observed in various colours such as tourmaline, spinels, topaz etc


  1. Luster

Luster is another thing which interprets the mineral. A luster tells us how the light is reflected from a mineral’s surface. Luster can tell us if the mineral reflects metallic, shiny, g=glassy, silky, early or non metallic from surface. .

  1. Streak

Through streak we can identify the mineral through scratching its surface specially in soft minerals. After scratching, there remains a colour on the surface of the mineral. The streak of mineral can be different from the actual coloour of mineral also. This is very useful for the minerals having less than 7 hardness. However streak test can also destroy a mineral. Care should be maintained while doing this test.

  1. Fluorescence

— there are some minerals which have colour effects changes under different lights. For example if you throw a backlight in fluorite, or zinc mineral or Petroleum Quartz, they will glow in different colours. However mostly rocks and minerals cannot be fluorescent.


Fluorescent minerals from Baluchistan Petroleum Quartz

  1. Crystal Shape.

There are various types of crystals shapes which is formed by mineral’ atoms.  Shape results from the pattern formed by the atoms of a mineral when it is forming. Example is various shapes of quartz crystals.

  1. Specific Gravity

Specific Gravity means that what is the ratio of mineral mass in equivalent with equal volume water mass.

  1. Fracture

This is can tell weakness of crystal structure. For example when the miner picks mineral from mine in breakage form, it can tell the type of fracture. Whether the fracture is irregular or appears to be like a broken glass.