tourmaline - rough gemstonestourmaline - rough gemstones

Best Rough Gemstones for Beginning Faceting

Learn which rough gemstones are ideal for beginning faceting practice. A progression of relatively inexpensive gem species can teach important skills.

Question: I've been pleased with the modern faceting gem designs in your book, Faceting The Easy Way. As a beginning gem cutter, I've able to facet some nice looking stones. So far, I've worked only on relatively inexpensive quartz but hope to try my hand at some other species soon. In your opinion, what are the best rough gemstones for a beginner such as myself to practice faceting?
tourmaline - rough gemstones
Tourmaline rough crystals, Afghanistan. Photo courtesy of and Jasper52.

Answer: Along with quartz, the easiest rough gemstones to facet are beryl and tourmaline. Peridot, garnet, and zircon are just slightly more difficult.

Improving Your Skills Through More Challenging Rough Gemstones

As you advance, you can take on more challenging materials. Topaz will have you dealing with a cleavage plane. Corundum will expose you to additional hardness, while opal is softer than these other gems. This progression will test you but with small steps.

Consider Your Budget

Of course, you also have to consider your budget. A beginner doesn't usually practice on expensive materials. Most of the rough stones I've recommended are fairly inexpensive, but you need to look at each carefully. Rough gem prices vary according to color, clarity, size, and quantity purchased.

Donald Clark, CSM IMG

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