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Gemstone Faceting

The art of transforming a rough gemstone into a cut and polished piece.

Gem faceting describes the process of transforming a rough gemstone specimen into a cut and polished piece usually for setting in jewellery or as an addition to a showcase or collection.  Gemstones typically reserved for faceting include diamond, ruby, sapphire, topaz, and garnet, to name but a few.  

A rough specimen is first cut with a diamond-bladed saw to remove unwanted material.  A suitable design template is then chosen to guide the shaping process.  The specimen is first held firmly in place on a stick or instrument (called a dop) so that it can be handled and manipulated against a revolving grinding wheel (called a lap).  The lap is embedded with either diamond or corundum grit to facilitate the grinding process.  An ever-diminishing degree grit coarseness is applied to the stone to reach the desired shape, before final polishing.  The RGC uses a number of high-quality, precision faceting machines for this purpose.  


Members can progress to learn this skill after first gaining a reasonable level of competency in cabbing, and will be trained by our expert volunteer instructors.  (Click here to next learn about working with precious metals.)  More information about gem faceting can be found in our links area by clicking here.

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