Introduction to Faceting

I was asked this year to give an introduction to faceting class at the Michigan Geology and Gemological Society seminar weekend. While I do not consider myself to be a "big" faceter (actually on a per pound basis I guess I am), I do enjoy cutting an occasional piece of rough. So I decided to use my other hobbies 3D Animation and digital photography to tell the story.

I am not a fan of any current presentation software on the market (PowerPoint in particular) so I have taken to using the WEB to put together presentations and provide resource material to others. This also allows me to get double use of the material.

Let me say, in way of an introduction, that this will take you through the general steps of faceting a gemstone, but it is NOT designed to be an all inclusive class. It is designed to increase your awareness of specific techniques used in gem cutting, and give you a "little glimpse" at the art of faceting. It might make you more appreciative of all the work that goes on in creating a faceted gemstone. For additional and often more in depth information see the last page with reference links to some sites on the WEB, reference books, and other places of interest.

Table of Contents

1.) Definitions

I used to know what faceting was, but it may be changing and merging with other things, and personally I think this is good.

2.) History

Actually more of a time line, with some real guess work as to the dates.

3.) What to facet

What are the desirability factors and physical properties needed to make a good gemstone. Hardness, cleavage, refraction and dispersion side lights.

4.) List of Gem properties

A round-up of gem properties for some popular faceting materials.

4a.) Good & Bad news

Buying faceting rough, and throwing more than 50% of it in the sink?

5.) Terminology

Coming to grips with the language used by faceters.

5a.) Obligatory Diagram

The "must have" diagram in works related to faceting.

6.) 80 Index Gear

two gears ... can facet most stones 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16 sided and still counting.

7.) 96 Index Gear

8.) More stuff

Other gears and gizmos

9.) The Generic Machine

What does a faceting machine look like, and how does it operate ...
is it really rocket science?

9a) Controls?

What the various knobs, screws, protractors, and other "gizzes" do.

9b) Cutting laps

How many is enough, the art of scratching a stone.

10.) Step by step - 1

Get the rough, get a diagram, and DOP it up!

10a.) Refractive Index

Helping align the stone on the DOP and finding out whats inside of the rough. Using smelly things to help you get the best alignement.

11.) Step by step - 2

Cut a facet (maybe grind one is more accurate), then do it again, and again, and ...

12.) Step by step - 3

Ready to polish a facet, find out the real secrets to polishing, and then it's time to use the "transfer block" ...

13.) Step by step - 4

Realigning the stone, and cutting the top half!

14.) Step by step - 5

We save the tough part for last, polishing the table (not your coffee table).

14a) Faceting Diagrams

There are two kinds of diagrams, they read a little different.

15.) Help!

Hey! I show you were to get it, I don't necessarily supply it.