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Bundaberg Gem and Mineral Soc. Inc.

Kendalls Rd, Bundaberg, QLD 4670 - PO Box 386, Bundaberg, QLD 4670

ph: 07 4155 1500 (club hours)

email : bundygems@bigpond.com

 

What is Faceting?


Faceting is a mixture of art and arcane science.


The art of the lapidary is to take a piece of rough stone and shape and polish it into a thing of beauty. Traditionally, only transparent stones are faceted while translucent or opaque stones are cut into cabochons or other shapes. Faceted stones are cut and polished to gather light then send it back to the viewer.
The art includes choosing the piece of rough, selecting the design, orienting both together to get the maximum weight or colour, or both from the rough.
The science is in the use of the faceting machine. This is a precision instrument designed to cut flat facets at precise angles in three dimensions. There are a number of seemingly confusing settings and associated equipment. However, there are only three fundamental adjustments; the angle of the cut, the rotation of the stone and the depth of the cut. The techniques are merely refined versions of the techniques used for creating cabochons.
Faceting may appear complex and daunting at first, but it is well within the capabilities of most of us. It does have its complex side, but not everyone will want to cut for competition, or design new cuts. The basic cuts, such as the Standard Round Brilliant and the Emerald can be learned in a short time.
What is a Faceted Stone?
A faceted stone is one that has been cut with tiers of flat, highly polished facets that refract and reflect any light that enters the stone back to the viewer. They are sometimes referred to as cut stones.

Faceting at the Bundaberg Gem Club


The Bundy Gem club runs a weekly faceting session on a Wednesday evening between 7:00 and 9:30 PM. It is intended, primarily, to introduce faceting to our members through a class for beginners. The session is also open to members who have acquired various levels of faceting experience and are able to bring their own machines and equipment.
The Club has four faceting machines to be used in class. Usually there are only four students in a class, however, additional students can be accommodated if they are able to bring their own machine.
Each class lasts for about six months and during this time we endeavour to cut two or three stones.
All members of the club are eligible to enrol in the class after they have six months experience in general lapidary. There may be a delay between enrolment and when a place becomes available. To enrol write to the secretary.
You will need a magnifier, either a loupe of headset magnifier and some patience.

History of faceting


Faceting in one form or another has been around for at least two millennia. The Greeks and Romans cut their stones purely by hand – without machinery. In the early 1900s the faceting world took several large steps forward, mainly due to the diamond industry. Previous cuts were optimised to improve brilliance, a standardised method of cutting was developed and the tools and materials used were developed and improved. The cut now known as the ‘Standard Round Brilliant’ was developed to enable diamonds to be cut uniformly. Since then the techniques and methods have been refined.
With suitable alterations the same method was adapted to cutting ‘coloured’ stones, such as emerald, sapphire, topaz, zircon, etc.. While similar to diamond cutting there are many differences when cutting coloured stones. It is not possible to cut diamonds on the club’s equipment, however, they will cut all other stones.
Sidebar – A coloured stone is any stone that is not a diamond, irrespective of colour.
The most common method used today is known as Meet Point Faceting.


What is Meet Point Faceting?


Meet Point Faceting is a simple method of cutting the facets of a stone so that the corners – or points – of one facet meet precisely the points of its neighbours. The method specifies the order in which the facets are cut, the angle of the cut and the rotation of the stone. The faceting diagram also details which points are to meet with which other points on the preceding facets.


Jamb Peg Faceting Machine  
Facting Machine  
  Our Faceting Teacher at work - Gem Fair 2005
  Club Members Faceting in progress