Cutting Lapis Lazuli

Hello up there, I’ve read your answer on the opal deal and you
mentioned lapis. In a matter of fact,I want to cut a piece af lapis
lazuli by myself for a special design I want to make.I’ve never cut
lapis.Any advice on what to do and what not to do would be fery

Regards Pedro

1 Like

Hi, lapis is a rock instead of a crystal. When cutting most rocks the
problem is with the polish. In most cases a harder surface like wood,
canvas or pelon is better than leather. Most polishes like diamond,
linde or chrome will do the job. Try to run at as high a speed as you
can and use more pressure than you would say with opal, most rocks
polish better with heat and pressure.


Lapis is a soft stone and should be cut and polished wet. Some lapis
is full of cracks so cutting out a large piece can be a pain
sometimes. Final polish with Linde A or Tin oxide on hard leather.

Crystalguy Jewelry, Art Jewelry for the Mystic Soul
Paddle Jewelry for River Addicts

pedro - lapis is not difficult to cut, it’s hardness is about like
your fire and prose opals. notch the starting place with a flexshaft
or a file & use a thin blade. you can cut it dry if there isn’t a lot
of pyrite in it - but pyrite increases the heat. (i cut dry to save
the dust for mixing with oil medium for painting - old masters got
that gorgeous blue with ground up lapis). if you are just making
short cuts you can drip a little water from a bowl as you cut, or
even dip the piece in every minute or so. i’ve never had a problem
with any of these methods. sand your way from 120 on up to maybe 800
for polishing. good luck - ive

1 Like

can I also use the dust to fill up a little hole near the edge in a
setting and fill it… do you mix it with glue of some sort…I just
don’t want to take the whole piece apart and it only bothers me no
one else… Perfection if everything… Ha head ache one means… You
are the most inventive person I have come across and love to get and
see what you are going to write next on thanks as usual… calgang
PS this was on your topic of lapdis… which i love … so cool…

1 Like

Hi Calgang,

I’ve done this a number of times (with different types of rocks). I
mix the grinding dust of the stone being used with epoxy (Hughes 330).
If the hole is extremely small it helps to thin the mixture by warming
a little. Be aware though, that any epoxy that is warmed will set up
faster than a cold or room temperature epoxy.

When doing channel inlay having an epoxy mixture of each of the
stones when setting helps. If the precision of a fit is less than
perfect, a little of the epoxy/stone mixture can be added where needed
before the stone is set. This technique eliminates the holes before
they’re created.


1 Like

I recently got a parcel of lapis cabs that were sold as natural
(undyed) and a few seemed to lose their finish when exposed to a quick
wipe of acetone near the bezel edge. They seemed to be lacquered or
finished with a coat of something. Is this a common treatment to
lapis and can the finish be restored? We are treating them different
as we set and clean them up but it doesnt seem to be a consistent

thanks for the input,

Ive seen some real nice lapis here in Germany (Frankfurt) on a
fleamarket and that piece whas a kind of oil treated. Is this been
done for a particular reason? Just a rare question !!

Regards Pedro

t.lee, Lapis should have a polished surface that acetone would not
affect. You should return the stones as unacceptable. In lapidary
the polish is 90% of the stone, shape being the other 10%. Adding a
coating to a stone is a cheap, quick way of finishing a stone.
Coatings do not last and detract from the value of the stone.

Gerry Galarneau

I don’t know about a common treatment but I do think it is naughty to
say the least. Acetone will not harm the finish on polished lapis (I
just tried). If you get any blue stain on the acetone bearing cloth
then they are died as well and I would send them straight back, I’d
send them back anyway but I am like that!

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England

Tel: 01229 584023

   Ive seen some real nice lapis here in Germany (Frankfurt) on a
fleamarket and that piece whas a kind of oil treated. Is this been
done for a particular reason? Just a rare question !! 

Your acetone test may be ineffective on Lapis which has been given a
final step of wax coating.A production factory might apply with or
without a dying,a coating of anything from Bee’s wax to blue shoe
paste.The purpose of the waxing is to take up a pit,increase the
luster a bit,and,in the case of dyed,prevent the dye from coming off
when handled.A hot point is your good test for waxing,but you might
also try a commercial Gemstone cleaning agent,“Attack”,Huges
Associates,Excelsior,Minn.Attack has a useful property of dissolving
waxes,a stain of dop wax too,and it will still pick up the blue stain
to reveal dying. Mark Liccini

1 Like

Pedro, Lapis Lazuli is a strange stone. Now and then you can find a
really solid piece and it cuts with percision and ease. More often
than not, Lazuli will have soft areas here and there that consist of
pyrite, calcite, or perhaps some rotten quartz. Just as often, you
may find some flaking, i.e. areas that are a lighter blue or even
white around them…this delineanates a place that could eventually
flak off.

Oil is often used to conceal these areas. Another common material is
bees’ wax… gently heat the stone and swipe the wax across the
surface then wipe with a cloth. The white spots disappear and the
softer areas shine. I guess there is nothing wrong with these
practices so long as it is revealed to the time of purchase. So be
careful when purchasing.

Another thing, I find Lazuli polishes best on hard leather with Linde
A at a low speed and plenty of pressure.

Don at The Charles Belle Studio where simple elegance IS fine

1 Like

You may have bought “block lapis” which is lapis ground up and
reconstituted in block form sliced and cabbed.I believe it is
reconstituted with epoxy of some sort which is not user friendly with
acetone.Rio grande sells block lapis and has it pictured in their
catalog.It is very hard to tell which is which.

J Morley Coyote Ridge Studio

1 Like

Hello Don,

Thank you for your input.Since I’ve never worked with Lapis,this info
together with other helpful inputs will be more then
welcome.Stonecutting will not become an everyday happening,but I like
to create my own designs and not all of my designs have standard size
stones.So thank you again and everybody for your interesting inputs

I appreciate it very much.
Regards Pedro