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Faces of Eternity


Rock & Mineral Identification

Geologist Sara Kurth presents an introduction to rocks and minerals. Learn to identify minerals thorough basic hands-on identification including observation skills and hardness tests. Great for teachers and rockhounds, this program qualifies for Boy & Girl Scout merit badges. All materials are provided. Scout groups require adult supervision.

Activity - Ages 8 yrs. to Adult – 10:30 a.m. - 75 minutes
Saturday Classes: October 18, November 15, December 6
Admission: $5.00 per person, Museum Members: $3.00
Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616

October 18
Knot Those Pearls

Pat Koko of the West Suburban Lapidary Club teaches knotting techniques used in necklaces & bracelets. Instruction includes: discussion of beading techniques, use of tools, beads, clasp and string. All materials included. Necessary tools will be available to share to complete the project. Complete a single strand faux pearl bracelet to take home.

Workshop - Ages 15 yrs. to adult – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Fee: $30.00 per person, Museum Members $25.00
Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616

October 26
“Earth’s Early Fossils – Nature’s Experiments”

The earliest soft-bodied animals of Earth evolved in the preCambrian Era during the Ediacaran Period when the entire planet was largely frozen over. The worm-like animals, fronds, disks, and other oddities bear little resemblance to modern animals. Biologist, Donald Baumgartner presents this amazing part of the Earth’s history. A variety of Ediacaran fossils will be available for viewing and for sale.

Sunday Lecture - Youth to Adult – 60 minutes – 2 p.m.
Regular Museum Admission – Museum Members Free
Reservations Recommended: (630) 833-1616

holiday sale



November 2
Modern Gem Carving

Lapidary artist Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio will demonstrate his process and technique for carving gemstones. His lecture will include the inspiration for creating a series of carved objects including the “Faces of Eternity” collection of skulls. Learn about his collaborative effort with his sister, a jewelry designer & metalsmith, and the survival of their family run lapidary business.

Sunday Demonstrations: 1 p.m. & 3 p.m., Lecture: 2 p.m.
Youth to Adult
Admission: $10.00 per person, Museum Members Free

lap day

November 22
Lapidary Day

See demonstrations by artists from the West Suburban Lapidary Club including: beading, silversmithing, cabochon cutting, wire wrapping and faceting. Free hands-on activities and jewelry cleaning. The event is great way to see the Museum and learn more about lapidary art.

Saturday Event – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All Ages - Free Admission

December 6
Create A Gem Tree

Lapidaries Bill and Lois Zima of the DesPlaines Valley Geologial Society teach how to create a small tree using gemstones and wire. These beautiful trees never need water and make a great gift.

Activity- Ages 9 yrs. to Adult – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Fee: $25.00 per person, Museum Members: $20.00
Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616


faces of Eternity

Faces of Eternity Bring Skulls to Life

Reprinted with permission from the GIA  
(Gemological Institute of America) Carlsbad, California.

Human skulls, long a symbol of death or danger, have been a popular jewelry icon for decades, but gem carver Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio has taken the concept of the skull as décor to a whole new level. “I personally see it [the skull] as a symbol of eternity,” he said. “It is a sign of man's mortality; a victory of death over life. I thought to myself, ‘Why don't we try giving some life to them? Maybe even personality and character!’ I wanted to show that skulls could also be alive and fun.”  That was the genesis of a 26-piece collection of carved gemstone skulls he created to last forever.

Carving a New Tradition for the Family Business
Aparicio said the skull sculptures were a way he could blend the lapidary art and metalsmith skills he learned in his family’s gemstone carving business in Lima, Peru. Aparicio and his sister Sylvia, a goldsmith and jewelry designer, grew up surrounded by artists, master carvers and jewelers who visited their father’s art studio. The siblings traveled to gem and mineral exhibitions around the world for more than 20 years, soaking up the work of many artists. This multi-cultural exposure helped them to develop their own artistic forms and techniques.

An engineer by profession, Aparicio creates objets d’art for Neoart Peru, the company their father created in 1968. The brother and sister have revived the business with a specialty in ruby carvings and natural wildlife-inspired themes that use rare and unusual gemstones from around the globe. Aparicio spent several years collecting rough from around the world once he had the idea for the skull sculptures. Each chunk of rough needed to be large enough to create a skull and visually appealing to ensure the finished piece was attractive and interesting.

“Every stone has its little secret,” Aparicio said. “It could be revealed in the cutting, carving or polishing ‒ they all need special skill to be well-carved. That is the fun part, it becomes a challenge.” Aparicio spent one to three months on each of the skulls, depending on the material used and the intricacies of the details. The exception was the ruby skull, which took three times longer because of ruby’s exceptional hardness. It is essentially an eight-step process from design to cutting and carving to polish. Each piece is a result of sculpture, metalsmithing and jewelry-making techniques. “The skulls collection was one of my favorites to create,” said Aparicio, who spent a year designing and carving them. “By carving natural gemstones with a combination of lapidary art and metalsmithing techniques, you can really see how the colors and textures in the various stones bring each piece to life.”

“Faces of Eternity” will be on display at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art July 1 through December 31, 2014. The artist, Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio, will be giving a program at the Museum November 2.

The Early Animals on Earth – Nature’s Experiments

By Sara Kurth & Donald Baumgartner

fossilWhen studying the history of life on earth, the “Cambrian explosion” is described as the time when animal life began. It was during this time period, approximately 542 million years ago, that the widely known trilobites, mollusks, and other hard-shelled organisms became prolific throughout early earth seas. But it is becoming more apparent that the famous trilobites were not the first metazoans, or multi-cellular animals to inhabit earth. In 1947, a strange set of animals, the Ediacaran fauna, were discovered in the Ediacaran Hills of Australia.

The Ediacaran fossils have been found on every continent except Antarctica, the most important finds in Namibia, Newfoundland & MacKenzie Mountains’ in Canada, the White Sea Coast in Russia and the Flinders Ranges in southern Australia.  Preservation sites for these first multi-cellular animals and their ecosystems are very rare and spotty over the globe. Some sites rival the more well-known early Cambrian Burgess Shale in terms of protection and scientific importance. The age of these fossils have been dated from 600 million to 542 million years old. Some scientists believe that a few species of Ediacaran fauna survived longer into the Cambrian. However, debate surrounding these fossils has not been limited to just the age.

Originally, scientists considered the Ediacaran animals to be early representations of modern day metazoans. For example, some of the fossils are round, similar to present day jellyfish. Others are reminiscent of sea-pens. Despite the original classification as early examples of more analogous fauna, some scientists have begun to think of these small, soft-bodied animals as “failure experiments” for the first multi-cellular life. These scientists consider most of the Ediacaran animals to be a representation of extinct lineages that do not resemble any living organisms. The fossils include worm-like, frond-shaped, disks, and odd bag forms. All bear little resemblance to modern animals, so their relationships to our more familiar, later life is difficult to interpret.

The Ediacaran fauna, also commonly referred to as Vendian life, existed during was is now called the Neoproterozoic Era (750-542 million years ago). Climatically, this time period is one of the extraordinary periods of Earth’s history. During this time on Earth the most severe glaciation conditions existed (“Snowball Earth”) when nearly the entire planet was frozen over almost down to the equator, alternating with widespread tropical greenhouse conditions. The Ediacaran fauna were soft-bodied organisms who may have been filter feeders, with no internal digestive system. It has been suggested that these animals may have lain across mats of cyanobacteria, feeding through a process of symbiosis. If this argument is valid, then the demise of these organisms by the predation of hard-shelled organisms like the trilobite is a reasonable conclusion.

To learn more about these unique animals, Donald Baumgartner, Biologist at Harper College and amateur paleontologist, will provide a program on the Ediacaran life Sunday October 26 starting at 2 P.M. A variety of these early animal fossils will be available for viewing and for purchase.

Clarkson, E.N.K., “Invertebrate Paleontology and Evolution, 4th ed.,” Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science, 1998, print.

Fedonkin M.A. et al., “Rise of Animals: Evolution and Diversification of the Kingdom Animalia,” MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008, print.






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