The art of cutting, polishing, and engraving precious stones.

Cabbing with the Snows

A while ago, we went over to Mr. and Mrs. Snow’s house and learned how to make cabs. Dan provided the equipment and Connie provided a delicious lunch and took photos so I would have something to write about. Everyone had a lot of fun.


Dan demonstrating how to use a flat lap. Photo by Connie Snow


Everyone working hard. Photo by Connie Snow


Jim and Jeanna working. Photo by Connie Snow


Two people working on the same machine! We even had three people at one point. Photo by Connie Snow


Stephanie polishing her cab. This was her first time ever! Photo by David Reed


Stephanie’s jasper and David’s green goldstone completed cabs. Photo by David Reed


Martin working. Photo by Connie Snow


Dan, Burt, and Charley discussing something, David shaping. Photo by Connie Snow


Jeanna and Jim proud of their work. Photo by Connie Snow



Lapidary Class

The previous lapidary class filled to capacity, so let’s have another one!
Join our IGAMS Lapidary Class
It’s fun and easy to learn!
Call us at 816-325-7370 to sign up now
$25 Independence Parks and Rec plus $10 cash the first class
Classes will be January 23, 24, 30, and 31 from 7-9 PM at the
Truman Memorial Building
416 W Maple
Independence, MO 64050
Call Kara Paris with questions
Brought to you by
Independence Parks and Rec and

Joplin Mining Equipment

In November 2016, we went to see Marv Dahmen’s collection of vintage Joplin/Tri-State mining equipment and minerals. He talked about it for 5 hours but there was never a dull moment. We managed to record some of it, although it was so long Stephanie and David ran out of space on their phones. Here are some photos.


Everyone listening to Marv. Photo by Stephanie Reed


Ore buckets as far as the eye can see! Photo by David Reed


Ore crusher. Photo by Stephanie Reed


Most of the things outside are from the Picher Museum. Photo by Stephanie Reed


Ore buckets, a crucible, and one of the only 2 remaining drill bit buckets. They were sold for scrap metal when the Picher Museum was having hard times. Marv got them from the scrap metal place. Photo by Stephanie Reed


This is not an ore bucket. This is a dewatering bucket. Photo by Stephanie Reed


The inside of a dewatering bucket has a plunger inside. Photo by Stephanie Reed


A drill. Photo by David Reed


Photo by David Reed


Calcium carbide and some lamps. Photo by David Reed


These long scoops are used to clean out the holes before putting in the dynamite. If you hit some debris while loading the dynamite it might explode. Photo by David Reed


Wooden paddles for opening boxes of dynamite. It is too dangerous to use a metal implement. Photo by David Reed


Lamps, containers of carbide, and mortars and pestles. Photo by David Reed


An impressive display of blasting caps. Photo by Stephanie Reed


Guy’s dropper lamps. These were used before carbide lamps were invented. Photo by Stephanie Reed


Marv in his workshop. On the table are some slabs that will soon be cut into cabs, and there is a curved plate that can be coated with ink and used to label boxes of Hercules dynamite (with removable plates for dates, lot numbers, etc.). Bucyrus Erie is a mining equipment company. Photo by David Reed


Marv also makes jewelry. Photo by David Reed


Some of his freshly tumbled rocks. Photo by David Reed


Part of Marv’s rock collection. Photo by David Reed


Lots of Owyhee Jasper from Oregon and Idaho. Photo by David Reed


A device for crimping blasting caps. It is extremely rare. Photo by David Reed


This is a pigtail, which is a blacksmith-made hook for ore buckets. It is specially curved so that the bucket won’t fall off while it is being raised up. Photo by David Reed

Thank you Marv for inviting us on your property and into your home to see your amazing collection!

Lapidary Class

Join our IGAMS Lapidary Class
It’s fun and easy to learn!
Call us at 816-325-7370 to sign up now
$25 Independence Parks and Rec plus $5 cash the first class
Classes will be November 14, 15, 21, and 22 from 7-9 PM at the
Truman Memorial Building
416 W Maple
Independence, MO 64050
Call Kara Paris with questions
Brought to you by
Independence Parks and Rec and

Big Al’s Big Rock Sale

Flyer for Big Al's Big Sale with list of tools for sale.

“Big Al” DeMaranville is having a rock and tool sale in Kansas City, Kansas so that he can move into a new home. On the first weekend, July 25-26 (8am-5pm), there will be rocks and lapidary/silversmithing equipment for sale. The second weekend, August 7-8 (8am-5pm), will have a house sale (and any tools that haven’t been sold yet).

The sale is now over. Thank you for your interest.

A Lapidarist’s Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a Rockhound was stirring,
I felt like a louse.

For the lapidary gifts I was making this year
Lay down on my bench, UNFINISHED, I fear!
The pendant my dear wife wanted so much
As I polished the cab, it fractured with a touch;
And the lovely jade brooch for Grandma so sweet,
Just wouldn’t polish – it looked terribly beat.

As for Sister’s new bracelet with baroques dangling lightly,
I ran out of bell caps after the stores were closed tightly.
Then the tie clasp for Uncle that would make such a hit,
After I cut the cab, no mounting would fit!
And even Junior’s new crystal growing set
Though I’d sent for it months ago, had not arrived yet!

So I tossed and I turned as though caught in a trap.
I could not settle down for a “long winter’s nap.”
When all of a sudden I heard such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

I raced for the door then saw with a flick,
A red-suited man I was sure was Saint Nick.
As I reached for my robe and was turning around,
Down the basement stairs, Santa went with a bound.

He went straight to my workbench to see what I lacked,
Then with a nod of his head, he opened his pack.
Out tumbled such mountings and bell caps without stop,
I was sure Santa must own a lapidary shop!

He said not a word but went straight to work,
And finished each piece, then grabbed his pack with a jerk.
And shaking his white-bearded face with much glee,
Took out some new slabs I knew were for me!

Then laying his finger aside his nose,
With a nod of satisfaction, up the stairway he rose.
Went straight to the door, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas, Dear Rockhounds, and to you a good night.”

Source: Hy Grader, Coastal Waves 2005, Scribe 2010, Lake Rocker Newsletter 12/2012, The Gemrock 12/2014.

Petrified Palm

You’ve heard of petrified wood, but have you heard of petrified palm? It’s made from trees of the extinct genus Palmoxylon, which were very similar to palm trees. The process is the same: when the palms died, sometimes they would be covered by water or dirt before they rotted. Then, as groundwater flowed across the ground it carried dissolved silica which would fill the xylem and phloem inside the palm. The result is solid silica in the same shape as the plant. They usually turn out much smoother and more uniform than other types of petrified wood, and petrified palm can be cut, polished, and used as a semiprecious gemstone. It’s mostly found in the Catahoula Formation, Texas, and Louisiana (where it’s the state fossil).

A group of four honey-yellow cabochons shaped like a circle, oval, triangle, and square. They have brown dots and stripes in different patterns, similar to the other petrified palmwood.

Amy O’Connell’s Petrified Palmwood sold at

As you can see, petrified palm’s distinctive round spots make great cabochons.