Is Lapidary A Dying Art?


In a world driven by mass-production, the hand-crafted art of lapidary continues to thrive. Lapidary, which stems from the Latin word "lapis" meaning stone, uncovers the inherent beauty hidden within geological finds. Using cutting, grinding, and polishing techniques, lapidary artists create decorative items such as cabochons, engraved gems, and faceted designs.

Yellow Opal High End Collar

Dakota Stones' 20+ Year Relationship

In order to get the most out of an interesting piece of rough material, we must first partner with a skilled lapidary source. Lucky for us, we have one! Dakota Stones’ special relationship with this gifted artisan goes back over two decades. Ricky nicknamed him “Midnight Martin” because he only communicates via WhatsApp in the middle of the night. Jeff communicates design ideas through drawings because Martin speaks almost as much English as Jeff speaks Mandarin (little to none, if you couldn't tell). While it presents the occasional challenge, that language barrier hasn’t prevented us from providing beautifully crafted limited batch cuts you can’t find anywhere else. 

Take our latest collars for instance; Our source is the only person we know of who’s making them. The question of how long we’ll be able to offer them remains a mystery even to us. So even though lapidary isn't going away any time soon, it sure is rare to find skilled artists to work with.

Labradorite High End Collar

Technology and Production

Modern technology can often overshadow craftsmanship, and experts like Midnight Martin are getting harder to come by. Thankfully, many of the skilled craftsmen and women who practice lapidary believe in passing down their techniques and traditions to a small but dedicated community of artisans.  Far from being a dying art, there’s still great demand for skilled workers and cutters in our industry. That increased demand has led to some of the highest increases in wages for any industrial work. We take pride in knowing that all of the artisans who manufacture our products are paid well and are witnessing the growth of this industry first-hand.