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Lapidary involves the art of turning a piece of stone into something that is well refined and beautifully polished. In order to do this, there are several methods that are currently available. This includes tumbling, sanding, and grinding. It can also involve making spheres, faceting gemstones, or simply cutting and polishing stones.

List of Lapidary Machines

There are a number of lapidary machines that can be used for your craft. Here are some of them:

  • Vibra-Lap

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This machine is a vibrating round pan. It is used in polishing flat surfaces. To use it, all you need to do is to place the grit and add water in the pan. Then, you can place the stone into it. The vibra-lap will start vibrating and grinding down through the surface.

  • Rotary Tumblers

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When it comes to tumblers, there are two kinds of rock tumblers that you can use in lapidary. One is rotary tumblers, and the other is the vibratory rock tumblers. The former is considered as the most favored. They typically come in either 1 or 2 barrels. This machine transforms rock slivers, turning them into rounded rocks.

In order to process a pile of rocks, it requires almost a month. Rotary tumblers are also generally cost-effective compared with the other type. If you want to move constantly with your lapidary project, and if you have the budget for it, a rotary tumbler may just be right for you.

  • Vibratory Tumblers

A vibratory tumbler, on the other hand, does not have the capacity to change a stone’s form. However, their main task is to make the surface of any stone or rock smoother. As such, they are somewhat costlier than rotary tumblers, but they accomplish the task faster.

If your circumstances allow it, having both rotary and vibratory tumblers may make things easier for you, especially if you are considering lapidary as a serious activity. The rotary tumble can be used for coarse to medium steps for grinding, while the vibratory tumbler can be used for the finishing, polishing process.

  • Grinding Units

A grinding unit is used for polishing. If you own a grinding unit that comes with a trim saw, then pieces can be trimmed right before the grinding process starts. There are different types of grinding units, which means that you need to do your job in doing your research, even to the point of getting recommendations in finding out which one is best for you.

  • Sphere Machine

This type of lapidary machine features two to three cups where you can place your stone in between. Then the sphere machine grinds against the stone or rock and creates a sphere. There are a number of stages that are involved in this process, starting from coarse until it becomes polished. A few days after, you will have created a sphere.

  • Faceting Machine

There are different types and a wide range of categories under faceting machines, which is why it is very important to identify your purpose of use. This also involves the need to do your own homework when it comes to checking out the different options that are currently available.

You can also reach out to experts and get recommendations as to which one is the best. As a general rule of thumb, the dearer the faceting machine is, the better features you can expect the machine to have.

  • Bead Mill

This machine is often used in creating several tiny marbles, or beads, simultaneously. A bead mill comes with two plates, with every plate having its own hemisphere cutting feature. After the stones and rocks are being goes through cutting and grounding, you can then put them on the hemispheres, adding water and grit afterwards. The plates will then start turning opposite of one another, continuing with grinding the rocks into small spheres.


The use of lapidary machines are not just for adults who consider lapidary as a craft, but also for kids as well who are starting to figure out the beauty of this craft. The use of lapidary machines are safe and effective even for beginners, as well as for young ones as well. They are not like other woodworking machines, wherein sawing is very important, and care must be exercised at all times. The blades of these lapidary machines are not sharp and pointy. Even younger ones can start learning how to cut and polish stones. However, just like with other things, proper supervision is still vital.

As we have learned earlier, there are a number of lapidary machines that you can choose from. To start on the right foot, one of the best things that you can do is to get the needed recommendations from experienced lapidarists, especially when it comes to making a decision as to which type of lapidary machine that you can use for your project.