Volume 1: The Essentials Amateur Gemstone Faceting

Volume 1 deals with the Essentials, laying out the steps necessary to transform a shapeless lump of rock into a glittering jewel that is unique and valuable. Along the way, it explains not only the “how” but also the “why,” and provides helpful tips on dealing with many of the pitfalls that confront the beginning gem cutter.

There are detailed chapters on faceting machines (and how to select one), cutting and polishing laps, and the myriad of additional equipment every faceter needs (and wants). Thorough explanations of proper cutting and polishing technique are accompanied by real-world advice on troubleshooting your gem. Finally, there is a chapter on how to make the most of valuable gem rough, as well as a comprehensive glossary.


Note that Volume 1 contains chapters 1 through 9, as well as a glossary of faceting terms and a merged index of both volumes. The following paragraphs supply a brief, chapter-by-chapter summary of Amateur Gemstone Faceting Volume 1: The Essentials.


A welcome to the wonderful world of amateur gemstone faceting, including a brief explanation of the who, what, why, and how of producing this book.


Chapter 1 - Gems and Faceting

Explains the nature and types of gemstones and introduces the hobby of faceting.


Chapter 2 - Faceting Machines

Provides an overview of the mechanics of faceting machines, including a section on evaluating and paying the right price for your dream machine or even building your own. A final section contains a snapshot of the current faceting machine market, along with contact information for manufacturers.


Chapter 3 - Laps

Explains the basics of cutting and polishing laps and the relative advantages and disadvantages of each type. An overview of commercial offerings should help you make the best choice, while a final section lists typical lap sets for the beginner and advanced faceter.


Chapter 4 - Additional Equipment

Faceting involves a great deal more than just machines and laps. This chapter discusses the additional equipment you will need or want, ranging from dop sticks to polishing compounds to lighting.


Chapter 5 - GeM101: Your First Gemstone

A detailed illustrated tutorial to guide you through cutting and polishing your first gem, from selecting the rough stone to showing off your handiwork.

Chapter 6 - Gem Rough

Provides advice on finding gem rough, selecting the right piece, and paying the right price for it. The chapter also discusses synthetic and simulant gemstones and concludes with a section on orienting your gem rough for maximum visual impact and yield.


Chapter 7 - Dopping

The act of dopping, that is, gluing a piece of gem rough to a dop stick, can be a major challenge. This chapter explains traditional dopping practice and introduces a hybrid method, which simplifies the process substantially. The chapter ends with a discussion of dop transfer technique to ensure proper alignment of the pavilion and crown.


Chapter 8 - Cutting and Polishing

Explains the techniques of cutting and polishing, including sections on pre-forming, lap and facet sequencing, meet point faceting, polishing theory, and charging laps with compound. Extensive troubleshooting discussions should help you avoid, or at least correct, common cutting and polishing problems.


Chapter 9 - Further Reading

An expanded reading list on multiple faceting-related topics.


Glossary of Faceting Terms

A reasonably complete list of faceting terms, including brief explanations and more importantly, direct pointers to the chapter and page where you can learn more.



The two volumes of Amateur Gemstone Faceting comprise 20 chapters and almost 900 pages. The merged index helps you quickly find what you need.

Site Manager: Tom Herbst

Last Updated:

25 October 2014