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The Castle Lizzadro by William Tolliday of London

The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art

220 Cottage Hill Avenue in Wilder Park

Elmhurst, Illinois 60126


Written by Julie Greiner
The Lizzadro Museum presents the beauty of stone in the form of art objects, mineral specimens, gems and gem materials. This unique collection of lapidary art displayed at the Lizzadro Museum serves as a center for the appreciation of lapidary art and the promotion of the study of earth science.
This display of lapidary art is the direct result of fifty years of collecting by Joseph F. Lizzadro. The Museum was founded in 1962 by the Lizzadro family... "to share with others our enjoyment of the eternal beauty in gemstones and appreciation of the art with which man has complemented the works of nature."

Lapidary Art Displays

The Lizzadro Museum displays over 233 pieces of jade and hard stone carvings featuring several internationally famous pieces. Included in the collection is a nephrite jade imperial alter set from the Ming Dynasty
Ziggy the Asian Bull Elephant of Brookfield Zoo
(1368-1644) and a cinnabar screen encrusted with carved gemstones, which was a birthday gift to the Chinese emperor, Qianlong (Ch'ien Lung) in 1791. There are snuff bottles, modern and antique vases, bowls and accessories. Dioramas featuring card animals, fish and birds - Florentine and Roman stone mosaics, gemstone cameos and intaglios. The push button exhibits of rock and mineral allow visitors to view phenomena fluorescent rocks and minerals under subdued cavern lighting. Other exhibits include meteorites, birthstones and micro mounts. The "Castle Lizzadro" is a memorial to James "Chris" Lizzadro, grandson of the Museum's founder. This example combines the art
of labipdary and gold smithing, by artist William Tolliday of London, England.

History of Lapidary Art

Lapidary is the art of cutting and polishing stone. Lapidary began in pre-history as a means for fashioning tools and weaponry from stone. Then the art became refined for making articles for personal adornment. Carving stones became characteristic of many cultures throughout the world. Faceting is mainly used on transparent or translucent stones to enhance the reflection of light passing through a stone causing the stone to sparkle with color. Cabochon cutting is the technique
Two Buddhist Saints, Qing Dynasty 1644-1912
used to best show the color and pattern of opaque stones. During the 1950s, 60s and 70s lapidary became a popular hobby in the Untied States. Hobbists enjoyed cutting and polishing stones for mounting into prefabricated jewelry settings or metalwork of their own creations. Hobbists found lapidary relaxing and exciting because each stone is unique and many clubs were formed which are still active today.

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art of Chicago

The Museum is located just west of downtown Chicago in Wilder Park of Elmhurst. The Museum Gift Shop is located in the lower level of the Lizzadro Museum. The shop is exclusively dedicated to stone items and educational books on rocks and minerals, fossils, lapidary art and related topics. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. For further information call: 630-833-1616.
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Last Updated: September 23, 2015