PROJECT: Gemstone Jewelry Box

Thomas Gangi photo

Thomas Gangi photo

by Thomas Gangi

Creating a box out of semiprecious or decorative stone is a challenging project for the experienced lapidary. Any stone with a Mohs hardness of 4.5 or above will work well. You will need a piece of rough material that is large enough to be cut into a 3-in. by 4-in. slab. From this, you will cut 3-in. by 4-in. slabs that are 3?16 in. thick.

This project requires the skills and machinery to make thin gemstone slabs with parallel faces and right-angled edges. Ordinary slab and trim saws can do this. To ensure tight and nearly invisible joints, all surfaces and edges must be flat lapped to remove any saw marks or ridges. A vertical lap added to the end shaft of a Genie- or Pixie-type machine, augmented by a table at right angles to the lap face, can yield the necessary square and smooth edges. One additional fixture, a gluing table, is necessary for the assembly of all the pieces of the gemstone box.

A gluing table can be made from a flat board with a nonpermeable surface to which a square fence, or rail, is attached (Figure 1). The rail is made from 1-in. square stock and is attached to the table with screws. All corners of the railing must be square. Spacer blocks and a pair of sliding wedges are needed to apply pressure when gluing the gemstone sections together. Assorted sizes can be made from ¾-in. hardwood.

For the full article, see the April 2017 issue.



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