Lapidary tools vary widely depending on the type of gem cutting or polishing involved. Tumbling uses a rotary rock tumbling machine and barrel, while cabochon production takes a trim saw and cabochon machine. Lapping and faceting require more specialized saws and diamond cutting tools to handle harder gemstones. Supplies include rocks, slabs of rock, grit papers, polishing solutions and replacement blades and disks for saws and lapping machines.
In addition to the tumbling machine and barrel, rock tumbling requires coarse, medium and fine grits for the tumbling process; rock polish such as cerium oxide to give rocks a shiny look; tumbling media to balance the barrel and rough rocks to work with. Some lapidaries collect their own rough rocks for tumbling, while others purchase them from lapidary suppliers.
To make cabochons, a lapidary needs not only a trim saw and cabochon machine, but also templates and a pair of safety goggles. Supplies needed for the process include dopping materials, which allow lapidaries to secure rough cut stones to sticks for ease of handling, coolant, polish and rock slabs. Some cabochon makers choose to cut their own slabs from rough rock, which requires a slab saw, water soluble cutting oil and a sharpening stone for the saw's blade.
All of these items are available at lapidary suppliers such as Arrowhead Lapidary and Supply and Rio Grande.