The Cobb County Gem and Mineral Society offers its members a fully functional set of workshops supporting most aspects of the Lapidary hobby.
The Clubhouse supports individual training on the various equipment used to make jewelry, We offer workshop hours so members can use the equipment to work on their projects, and facilities for more formal classes in various aspects of the hobby.
In addition, specimen collectors can use the facility for preparation of their self-collected specimens.
Check out the following which provide greater detail on the equipment in each shop and its uses.
The Cutting Room is where we make big rocks into little rocks. In this room you will find saws with the capacity to handle any rock from a couple of inches to as much as 11 inches. The saws can be used to cut slabs (the most common thing to do). Or, you can use them to cut excess matrix off of specimens. This way you can remove unwanted material to make the “special” part of your piece stand out and fit better in your display case.
The purpose of cutting slabs (thin pieces of your specimens usually in the vicinity of one quarter inch or so), is so that you can then be ready to go to the Polishing Room for further preparation.
This is where slabs of agate or other types of rocks can be made into a beautiful stone. Usually this means cutting Cabochons (a gem or other hard stone cut in convex form and highly polished but not faceted). Cabochons are the most common type of creation prepared in the Polishing Room. Cabochons are typically in an oval or round shape. However, some lapidaries prefer to follow the natural shape that the stone was found in. First, there are small “Trim” saws for use in cutting your slab into the desired rough shape. In other words, drawing the desired shape and cutting away the material around it. Once the trimming is done, you move to one of the polishing machines. These machines have several wheels, each coated or embedded with grits. Each wheel has a different grit coarseness. The most course is used to take off the remaining excess material and to perfect the rounded shape desired. Further grinding with the courser wheels can be used to create the convex curves desired. Once that is done, you would move to the finer grit wheels to begin polishing. This process is repeated until and high polish is achieved. At this point your have a completed cabochon.
This room is equipped with machines which can take a gemstone and precisely facet it into any number of shapes. Think of a cut diamond. This can be done on any kind of stone that is hard enough to take a polish. The techniques of faceting are beyond the scope of this overview. Suffice it to say, the the CCGMS has at least 6 faceting machines that can be used by its members to learn the process of faceting and to facet their own stones.
The club provides “Foremen” and other Instructors to train our members on how to use the equipment in our workshops. Once a member is certified to use the equipment, they are welcome to come to the clubhouse after arranging for a foreman to be there and work to his hearts content in making beautiful pieces of art.
Of course, many of our members don’t stop with a beautiful polished of faceted stone. They want to make fine pieces of wearable jewelry. For that we have additional expertise and classes to assist in this part of the hobby. Currently, we have limited metal working equipment, but there is continuing discussion of expansion of this type. If you have a desire to do this kind of thing, please bring it up to a foreman, board member, or other member who can use your interest to support investment in needed equipment.