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Re-polishing a Lapis Cabochon

This is a flat topped Lapis cabochon which the jeweler had accidentally put into the Rhodium plating solution. The harsh acids ate into the sureface and destroyed the polish. He asked me if I could re-polish it to make it look like new again. I said, "Sure!"

Jewelers have asked me why plating solution or pickling solution hurts the polish on stones like Lapis or Coral but don't hurt other stones. The reason is, most Lapis stones contain at least tiny amounts of Calcite in and among the crystals of Lazurite which make up Lapis Lazuli. The harsh acidic solutions eat up the calcium carbonate of the Calcite very easily and rapidly. That leaves the etched surface. Coral also contains calcium carbonate and is just as vulnerable.

Below, you will see photos of before and after re-polishing the Lapis.

Photo of a square flat Lapis cabochon which has a whiteish surface because it was etched by acid.

Before Re-polishing the Lapis Cabochon

At left you can see how badly etched the piece of Lapis is.

I have to take the surface down on my pre-polishing wheel to get 'under' all of the pitting.

An arrow telling users to click on the photo to make it larger.

The same Lapis cabochon is now nicely polished and the blue color comes out.

After re-polishing

You can see how much the Lapis has improved in appearance with a new polish.

The polish allows the color to come out.

If you have a cabochon which needs re-polishing, feel free to contact us for a cost estimate.

→  Take me back to examples of Re-polishing Cabochons


Denton Anderson,
Gemologist & Gem Cutter
click photo for Video

Photo of Denton the gem cutter.

Graduate Gemologist, GIA, GG
Over 20 years of experience.