Polito et Claro: The Art and Knowledge of Polishing, 1100–1500

  • Marjolijn Bol
Part of the Europe's Asian Centuries book series (EAC)


The polishing of the surface of a precious stone by making it as smooth as possible is fundamental to the art of the lapidary; only through the successful application of finishing methods can a gem reveal its potential colour and clarity. But despite its importance, we know surprisingly little about the early history of this practice. Through the comparative study of pre- and early modern sources on the art of polishing, this chapter argues that the early modern rediscovery of engraving at the wheel, and this period's invention of the art of faceting, were both firmly rooted in the medieval practice of polishing precious stones on fixed plates.


Lapidary’s wheel Polishing Craft recipes Middle Ages Gemstones Engraving Faceting Materials 


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Online Resources

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjolijn Bol
    • 1
  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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