The History of Stone Cutting - most people have no idea that there is a lapidary field...
When asked what I do for a living, my response is usually "lapidarist". This inevitably gets the "Huh?" response. Most people have no idea that there is a lapidary field and that lapidary may quite possibly be one of the oldest professions!
A lapidary is an artist who practices the craft of working, forming, and finishing stone, mineral, and gemstones into decorative pieces or wearable items.
In prehistoric times, man learned to make tools from stone, using one stone to chip away at another, and in the process learned that stones good be worked and that they had different hardnesses. By 3,000 B.C. man had developed his lapidary skills to such an extent that they could make cylinders from serpentine. In all ancient civilizations history records the carving of stones for tools and adornment. Beads, scarabs, amulets, seals, even bowls were cut from stone. It is believed that around the 1300's early faceting occurred. But in the 1400's real developments began.