In comparison to bonding airplane or car parts, you would think a gem bonding and polishing would be a walk in the park – shockingly this isn’t always the situation.
When your gems and stones get dusty, you would want to wash them with soap and water. When the glue line is exposed to this cleaning fluid, it might damage all the hard work that was put into making the piece of sculpture.
The lapidarist must use the correct adhesive to do the work, otherwise, you’ll be dissatisfied, and you’d need to fix it again and again.
Keep reading to learn more about what I’ve found to be the best glue for lapidary.
Or check out my guide to some of the best lapidary tools for beginners here.
What is Lapidary?
Lapidary is the practice of polishing, molding, shaping, and exhibiting pieces of minerals or stones into decorative things.
There are three general categories of lapidary arts, which are cabochon cutting, faceting, and tumbling. The earliest realized lapidary work happened during the Stone Age. As individuals made apparatuses from stone, they understood that some land materials were harder than others.
The next documented examples of lapidary came through the drilling of rock and stones. This dates back to approximately 1,000,000 years ago.
The early Egyptians created jewelry and cutting techniques for turquoise, lapis lazuli, and amethyst.
The main purpose of glue for lapidary is important as it helps the stone in strengthening, mending, and mounting. It was tough finding a good glue to use for my stones, and that’s why I have made a list of the best glue for lapidary to make it easier for you.
Top 3 Best Glues for Lapidary
One thing that a lapidarist can never neglect when carrying their supplies, is the glue they use for lapidary.
1. Cyanoacrylates CA Glue – (Best Overall)
Cyanoacrylates (CA) is considered one of the best fast-acting and strong adhesive glue. They require some knowledge before using for safety and effective use, but they come in three different types of viscosities: thick, medium, and thin. They’re fast-setting and are incredibly strong so you have to be cautious while using and applying.
Additionally, you can use this glue to mount the gemstone after you have finished your creation. Apply it to the backside of the stone or gem to give it additional strength. It only takes one to two drops of this glue to attach and bond your gemstone together and set it.
Another magnificent use for the cyanoacrylates glue is it will dry clear and transparent for repairing cracked stones or if the stone has gaps and holes. That way it won’t show traces of adhesive and no one will notice that you have applied glue. To fill in the cracks, medium viscosity glue is the best to be used.
- Leaving little to nothing traces on the stone
- Extremely strong
- Clear substance
- Dries quickly
- Small volume goes a long way
- Once the tube is open, the remaining glue will only last for a few days
2. Epoxy 330 Glue – (Runner Up)
Epoxy 330 is a little different from any other glue and it can be hard to find in local stores. You can apply glue directly to the items that you want to bond together. However, the epoxy 330, are two-part adhesives. When you purchase them, there are two tubes in the package. This consists of resin and hardener. You mix equal parts of each to activate them.
Once you have activated the glue, you have relatively little time to work with it, about 10 minutes to be exact. The curing process is completed after 24 to 48 hours; it then gives your gemstone a clear shiny polish.
Additionally, it’s made specifically to bond gem materials and be compatible with metal surfaces. Each tube contains approximately 14.7 ml and its extremely high resistance and strength to mechanical and thermal influences.
Like most other chemicals, it’s best to practice caution around glue. When the glue is inhaled too strongly, the chemicals may be dangerous and may cause reproductive harm.
- Resistant to most oils
- A solvent is not required
- Suitable for other materials too
- Compatible with additives such as accelerators and dyes
- An inhibitor can be added to extend pot life
- Chemicals are potentially dangerous when inhaled
3. Opticon Fracture Sealer & Hardener – (Best For Repairs)
This glue is not only suitable for gemstones, it can also be used in plastic, leather, metal, ceramic, rubber, wood, paper, and glass. It sets around 10-30 seconds and fully dries within 24 hours.
In the package, it includes a resin and sealer which makes this product perfect for reconstructing and restoring gemstones that have cracks.
Once you apply it to your pieces, you’d still have time to reposition it. And the dried glue can be sanded if any faults are detected.
- Temperature resistant
- Multi-purpose glue
- Paintable and sandable
- Tends to be too sticky
- It’s a bit pricey
Main Uses of Glue in Lapidary
Once you’ve molded and shaped your stone, seal and cover the whole surface of the stone with a thin layer of glue to give it a nice shine, and then let it dry. This will both strengthen the porous and soft stone. As soon as it dries, you can then buff your gem or stone and clean it to a polish.
Another astounding use for glue for your pieces is repairing broken stones. Medium viscosity can likewise be utilized to fill in and bond any breaks and cracks.
Not all stones make great jewelry. Some are excessively delicate or are permeable and you might be enticed to avoid them. Nonetheless, glue can help here as well.
When creating your lapidary decoration, you would likely want your piece to be mounted. A little drop of glue on the back of the gemstone or close to the prongs won’t be seen when dried and will make a tight-fitting seal.
We went to the craft store looking for something specific. We were looking for an adhesive that could glue a non-porous, smooth tumbled stone, to a piece of metal jewelry. Two products of which products matched and even exceeded our expectations!
Our top pick is named cyanoacrylates glue, it also works well in different gem materials and not only with stones. The strength of this glue is extremely strong and it sets relatively quickly.
Another great option is the epoxy 330 glue, one of the great features it has is that it’s thermal resistant and it can endure all weather conditions without it cracking. Surely these will help create the best pieces of jewelry and decoration. Good luck and happy gem crafting!