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Eastern Arizona College to offer two lapidary classes

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By Lori Dugan

THATCHER, AZ—EAC’s lapidary classes will once again be in full swing this spring and is will be taught by part-time instructor, Richard Smith. There will be three different Monday classes taught this semester: section #1656 & #1653, from 8-11:50 a.m.; section #1655 & #1652, from 1-4:50 p.m.; and section #1651, from 6:30-9:50 p.m.

“I hope to generate a greater interest in the Gila Valley of the lapidary arts,” said Smith. “And I am also hoping to convince the College to sponsor a Rock and Gem Show at the college in the near future.”

Mr. Smith was a respiratory therapist for 32 years, and during that time, as his need to develop a hobby intensified, he found lapidary and jewelry to serve not only as a great hobby but as a profitable side business as well.

His business is called Hassayampa Jewelery and he uses his own hand-cut stones to create one-of-a-kind pieces out of gold, silver, or copper.

“I would also like to develop a world-class lapidary course at EAC. We have a great start already, as many serious lapidarists live in the Gila Valley,” said Smith. “We have at least one expert at cutting fire-agate, a very difficult gem to cut, and I hope to interest him in giving a seminar on fire-agate cutting and polishing.”

Smith hopes to also bring in experts in other areas of gem cutting to put on seminars at EAC.

“Arizona is a major center for gem-grade minerals. It will be a privilege to guide students to a satisfying life working with gems and minerals for fun and profit!”

For more information about EAC’s lapidary program, you can e-mail Mr. Smith at