Sculpting in stone, architectural stone, and preparing laboratory 'thin sections' may be considered lapidary arts though the term is most commonly associated with jewelry and decorative household items. (bookends, clock faces, ornaments, etc.)
There exists three broad categories of lapidary arts. These are the procedures of tumbling, cabochon cutting, and faceting. The distiction is somewhat loose, and leaves a broad range within the term cabochon.
At present most lapidary work is accomplished using motorized equipment and resin or metal bonded diamond tooling in successively decreasing particle sizes until a polish is achieved. Often, the final polish will use a different medium, such as tin oxide, or cerium oxide. Older techniques, still popular with hobbyists, used bonded grindwheels of silicon carbide, with only using a diamond tipped saw. Diamond cutting, because of the extreme hardness of diamonds, cannot be done with silicon carbide, and requires the use of diamond tools.