Lapidarists work with gemstones in several
different ways. The simplest method is called tumbling. The
gemstone is put in a revolving barrel with sand. This rounds off the
gemstone’s corners and polishes it to a bright shine.
Gemstones can also be cut. The cutting style used
for a particular gem is mainly determined by the optical properties of
that gem. The simplest type of cut is known as a cabochon. The
gem is cut with a flat bottom and a curved top. Gems with color like
agate, hematite, and malachite are best suited for this style.
Cabochons emphasis the color texture, and are
usually cut with a diamond coated saw blade.