Our General Lapidary work is carried out in our original building, a magnificent old railway storage building in the Caboolture Historical Village. This area contains a grinding and polishing workshop, a stone cutting workshop and the club’s public retail shop.
WHAT WE DO?
General lapidary consists of the cutting and shaping of semi-precious gem stones, rocks and minerals to create items for inclusion in jewellery, or simply to be displayed as items of beauty.
THE GRINDING AND POLISHING WORKSHOP
Cabochon cutting is a process generally applied to material which is opaque or translucent, (transparent material is more commonly faceted). A stone of particular beauty is sliced using rock saws, and roughly trimmed. It is then cut to a specific shape (round, oval, teardrop etc). Further shaping and polishing turns it into a beautiful jewellery piece, ready for display, or for inclusion in a beautiful piece of jewellery created in the silver smithing or casting shops. (For example, rings, pendants, broaches)
Other general lapidary work includes the polishing of stone or semi-precious gemstone for display and/or inclusion in mineral, gem and rock collections etc.
Many of our members receive training in several, or even all different activities, enabling them to create beautiful items from the raw rock to the finished jewellery item.
Another activity in our general lapidary area is stone tumbling. Raw stone (including but not limited to semi-precious gem stone) is crushed and processed in our tumblers until they are highly polished. The finished stones are used for a variety of purposes, from jewellery making by our silver smiths, to selling to the public in our shop. Our club is very popular with children, and many organised groups visit. We use our tumbled stones to provide these children with a hands-on fossicking experience, one of the most popular activities in the Historical Village.
Our grinding workshop contains 11 multi-wheeled grinding machines, plus a small flat lap, and sheets of glass for hand flat-lapping. All of the machines are water cooled for cooling and dust suppression. We also have polishing wheels and two, two wheel grinders for swift reduction of rough stones and slab edges (There are three diamond wheels of 40, 60 and 100 grit and one carborundum wheel.) The purpose of having these rough grits is to prevent damage and contamination of our better sets of wheels.
THE STONE CUTTING WORKSHOP
The club has several large rock cutting saws for the slicing of large rock materials into thin slabs suitable for further work. These machines are not generally available to all members, and work here is done by the rock cutting supervisor, however the service is available to all members.
We also have a number of small trimming saws, which are used to trim rock slices into smaller shapes for cabochoning. All members use these machines after proper training in their use.
The Faceting Workshop is located in our second building, the Ray Robinson Building, located immediately adjacent to our main building. This building contains two workshops, for faceting and silversmithing.
WHAT WE DO
Faceting involves the cutting of raw, transparent gem and semi-precious-gem material, to create faceted gems. This process involves the cutting and polishing of many small, precisely defined facets on the stone, carefully calculated to reflect light entering the stone, in the best possible way. This reflection of light causes the ‘sparkle’ seen in faceted gems. For some gems, the light is also highly refracted, i.e. the light is split into it’s separate rainbow colours, giving the spectacular multi-colored display reflected from stones such as diamonds, cubic zirconia etc.
Club members facet numerous different types of precious and semi precious stones. Precious stones members have cut include Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire and Spinel. (the club does not generally undertake diamond faceting, as material is difficult to obtain and requires special equipment.) Semi-precious stones include all the quartz-based gems, such as Amethyst, Citrine, Rock Crystal, Smoky Quartz and Lemon Quartz. Numerous other types are also faceting, covering a wide spectrum of gems.
Faceted stones are used for inclusion in jewellery (rings, pendants etc), for competitions, for gifts or for just admiring for their extreme beauty.
THE FACETING WORKSHOP
Our faceting workshop is self-contained to provide members with a suitable environment for concentration. The faceting area has 10 machines (2 large Halls machines, and 6 Halls Junior/Extra machines), and two Patriot machines (Halls Junior copies). There are also several machines for hire to Gem Club Members. There are differences in adjustment methods between the machines, and it is normal for a member to develop a preference for using one machine where possible.
Silversmithing is the art of making items from Silver, and as such, is classed as a Lapidary Allied Craft. Our members create from silver. bronze and occasionally gold.
WHAT WE DO
Silversmithing generally involves the use of silver wire or sheet to craft a variety of jewellery items, ranging from rings to pendants and broaches. Sheet metal and wire are carefully cut, shaped and soldered to create complete jewellery items or surrounds for cabochoned or faceted stones. Jewellery items and surrounds are also created by casting.
OUR SILVERSMITHING WORKSHOP
Our silversmithing shop is located in the Ray Robinson building at our premises in the Caboolture Historical Village. It is well equipped and air conditioned, and it is one of the most popular activities at our club. Under the guiding hands of our excellent teachers, the beginner will carry out the fabrication of a number of ‘basic’ jewellery items in order to learn the techniques and tricks of the trade. Armed with those skills, they are then able to undertake more advanced work of their own choosing, again with the guidance of our teachers if they need assistance.
It is common for our members to create complete works by first cutting a stone, either by faceting or cabochoning, and then fabricate a silver setting or surround for it, however many works are also created completely in silver
Metal Casting involves the creation of jewellery items through the melting and casting of metals.
WHAT WE DO
Our metal casters create a variety of items, ranging from rings and jewellery settings, to complete pendants, charms etc. Metals used are gold, silver and bronze.
The process of metal casting involves four (4) basic steps:
1. The process begins with the creation of a vulcanized rubber mould. This is made by taking an existing item (a ring, pendant, charm, or a blank created by carving especially for the purpose.) A rubber mould is made by setting the item in rubber and applying a vulcanizing process. This step is only required if a brand new mould is required. The club has a collection of moulds for the use of members.
2. Using a mould and hot wax, a wax casting blank is made, by injecting wax into the mould and allowing it to set. The mould is then removed and the casting cleaned and trimmed.
3. The blank is then used to create the actual metal mould by setting it in a special casting plaster called ‘investment’. Once the mould is set, the wax is baked out to clear the mould.
4. Molten metal is then used to fill the mould, either by injection of centrifugal force, and the filled mould is allowed to cool.
Once the completed casting is removed from the mould, it is then cleaned and trimmed for use as, or inclusion in, an item of jewellery.
THE CASTING WORKSHOP
Our casting workshop is well equipped, however because of the involvement of molten metal, its use is limited to club members who have been properly trained under supervision. Casting is a lengthy and involved process, and generally, casting sessions are arranged between those members who have completed training, and items are produced in batches per session.
The Caboolture Gem Club operates a Showroom in its main club building in the Caboolture Historical Village. This area is used by club members to sell items of their own manufacture as members of the club. It does not sell commercial items manufactured elsewhere or by non members.
WHEN IS IT OPEN?
The shop is open during any of the clubs opening hours.