Introduction: Machining stones

1. introduction

1.1 Prehistory

The processing of stones, minerals and fossils has a long tradition. Already in the Stone Age people designed tools from hard stones such as flint, jasper and the like in order to produce e.g. knife blades, weapons etc. in the simplest way, by giving these stones by hand the appropriate form for different purposes. Already in the Middle Ages, among other things, colored stones, semi-precious and precious stones were processed into jewelry and decorative items. The processing, i.e. the grinding and polishing of these stones was a time-consuming procedure at that time, because in the beginning everything had to be done by hand. Guilds specialized in stone processing were formed. At that time, only real minerals, colored stones, semi-precious and precious stones were processed, because synthetic production was not possible. The cut stones had already a very high value in the past, because they were used in jewelry, crowns, robe clasps, etc. and were not accessible and affordable for everyone. The grinding and polishing process, later powered by water and sandstone wheels, was strictly guarded by the grinders and was a strenuous and time-consuming process. Great exhibits such as thin-walled bowls, cups, cameos, etc. can be admired today in the gemstone museum in Idar-Oberstein. Considering the simple tools used at the time, these artists deserve the highest respect.

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