Who are we, well we are Dave & Shalini Austin, and we took up Lapidary after Shalini started to make her own jewellery a few years ago.
It wasn’t long before we felt the desire to create our own stones for her jewellery, the first step was taken when we invested in a couple of beach tumblers along with grits. Boy they were noisy machines, they had the plastic barrels and every time you walked out into the workshop it sounded like there was real heavy rain falling on the roof.
The results were, well ok, if you know what I mean but with practice and a lot of experimentation we started to see good results. It was at about this point that we realized that we needed to be able to drill small holes in these stones so that they could be threaded on wire or headpins for use in the jewellery. So, after much research we bought a lapidary drill and discovered just how long it takes to make a hole in rock.
We had been regularly visiting eBay, on the lookout for a rock saw and eventually one came up and we won the auction, so now we are able to make holes, tumble rocks and make slabs too, but we were still far short or what we wanted to be able to do.
A cabbing machine of some description was needed, now this isn’t an item that appears very often on EBay and buying a new one and importing it from the US was out of the question, so we did the next best thing built one and it’s still going strong to this day, in fact every cabochon you see on this blog was made on that very machine.
We also got Shalini a few more tumbling machines, these have a larger capacity and are made by Evans Lapidary, what’s more they are nice and quiet because they have rubber barrels, and we also got a few extra rubber barrels for the Evans tumblers as well. Yes Shalini is head of tumbling in our workshop!
So that’s us in a nutshell, we are not experts but have learnt a lot over these last few years and are still learning but that’s the fun of Lapidary.
At the moment most of cabochons are wire wrapped using either sterling silver wire or Gold filled wire, but we soon hope to learn how to make simple sterling silver bezel mounts which should be fun.
Dave & Shalini