Best Rough Gemstones For Beginning Faceting


“Watermelon Tourmaline” by Mauro Cateb is licensed under CC By 2.0
“Watermelon Tourmaline” by Mauro Cateb is licensed under CC By 2.0

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?

Answer

Along with quartz, the easiest rough gemstones to facet are beryl and tourmaline. Peridot, garnet, and zircon are just slightly more difficult. 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 rough gemstones. This progression will test you but with small steps.

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

Donald Clark, CSM IMG

“Topaze (Topaz), Rhyolite” by Géry Parent is licensed under CC By-ND 2.0
“Topaze (Topaz), Rhyolite” by Géry Parent is licensed under CC By-ND 2.0