When I think of rocks for my lapidary projects, I tend to think of minerals in their natural state. When I think of lab-created mineral products, I think of gemstones like sapphire or diamond. But there is actually a third category that falls roughly between the two. The truly unnatural cab materials.
The way I see it, Ray Bridewell's home-grown crystals are at the top of the heap. They are bright and gemmy and take an amazing polish
I made this incredible free-form cabochon using material I purchased from Ray. He makes it by melting quartz and other materials to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit and letting the cool slowly over a period of weeks. As it cools, crystals bloom inside the new slab.
I'm going to give him a plug because I love this material so much and so will you. Contact him at
Bridewell Stone Studios, https://www.facebook.com/BridewellArt/
to see what he has available now.
START YOUR ENGINES!
As you know, most Fordite is a single color with swirls showing the way the material settled and hardened. Sometimes it's called Motor Agate because it is made by layers and layers of automobile paint that was sprayed at cars and has hardened to a product that can be cut and polished into cabochons.
This comes in last of the four lapidary materials covered in this blog post. It just doesn't have the pizazz of the others and isn't as likely to talk to me about what it wants to be as the others.
When I was in Quaratzsite last year, I saw one block of Fordite that really caught my eye. It consisted of the primary colors of red, blue and yellow. It was so cheerful that I just couldn't resist.
It's fun to work with and makes beautiful slabs and cabs (doesn't this one look almost like a button for a child's outfit?). But if you get some, be careful not to work it with too rough a grit. If I used anything rougher than a 220 grit on my wheel, the little bits of color had a tendency to fly off.
I'd love to hear about any unnatural materials you use for cabbing. Drop me a note!
Until next time,
Your Lapidary Whisperer