Lapidary is most commonly associated with jewelry and decorative household items (bookends, clock faces, decorative pieces). A specialized form of lapidary work is the inlaying of stones into a marble matrix, known in English as "pietra dura" for the hard stones like onyx, jasper and carnelian that are used.
There are three broad categories of lapidary arts. These are tumbling, cabochon cutting, and faceting.
Most lapidary work is performed using motorized equipment and resin or metal bonded diamond tooling in successively decreasing particle sizes until a polish is achieved. Often, the final polish will use a different medium, such as tin oxide, glasitite or cerium oxide. Older techniques, still popular with hobbyists, used bonded grinding wheels of silicon carbide, with a diamond tipped saw. Diamonds are used as a cutting medium because of its extreme hardness.
Other forms of lapidary include: casting, faceting, carving, jewelery, mosaics. There is a collection of gem and mineral shows held in Tucson, Arizona at the beginning of February each year. This group of shows constitutes the largest gem and mineral event in the world. The event was originally started with the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society Show and has now grown to include dozens of other independent shows.