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Rock and Gem - Studio & Classes


Rock Your World With A Lapidary Course

Beginner and experienced rockhounds have an opportunity in November to expand their knowledge of working with rocks and gems as the VISAC Gallery presents a four-session course on cutting and polishing semi-precious or just plain pretty stones.

Long-time local rock and gem craftsman Russ Olson will present two 4-week 2-hour sessions starting Monday, January 12 and Wednesday, January 14.  The cost for the four weeks is $75 for VISAC members, $100 for non-members, plus $5 for materials.  All sessions will be held in the VISAC Gallery's lapidary room.

Some of the topics to be covered include cabochon, which relates to the flat cutting and polishing of stone for mounting on a ring or pendant; mosaic stones; opal triplets, which involves sandwiching the stone between a black base and a quartz cap for protection; rock beads; and knife handles.

"They will be learning how to cut and polish stones, make custom jewelry they can wear such as belt buckles, pendants, and earrings," Olson said. "The appeal is that they are leaning a craft that has unlimited ways in which you can go."

Other possible applications include the creation of lamps similar to stained glass creations, rock vases, mixed media creations involving stone and other materials such as wood, casting gold and silver, and tinsmithing.

"The sky is really the limit," Olson said.

Although there are a few local specimens of interest, such as serpentine from Rossland, the mineralization present in most West Kootenay rock formations make them unattractive for small lapidary work. Most of the specimens Olson crafts come from the Okanagan, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

If you are interested in signing up for the course call Olson at 368-5488 to confirm the starting date.

Regular gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. on Thursday.






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