IGS may receive customer referral fees from the companies listed in this page. Learn more.
Question: What’s the best faceting wax: black, green, or brown? Are specific waxes better for specific types of gemstones or cutting?
By International Gem Society 1 minute read
best faceting wax

Although commonly called “wax” by gem cutters, faceting wax or dop wax is actually made from a pitch-like material and has nothing in common with candle wax. Faceting wax melts at much higher temperatures than normal wax. This museum display shows how gems are attached to a dop with faceting wax. Photo by me and the sysop. Licensed under CC By-ND 2.0.

Answer: It all depends on what gemstone you’re cutting and also personal preference.

Black, Red/Brown, or Green Faceting Wax?

I have used all three types. Each has a different melting point, so consult the instructions carefully for whatever type you pick.

Like most faceters I know, I use the black wax for almost everything. I’ve tried the red/brown wax and liked it well enough. This variety is also called “diamond setters cement” and has a high melting point. However, I found the black wax easier to work with than red/brown and less noxious smelling when heated. Nevertheless, you can certainly find faceters that swear by the red/brown wax.

Green is the best wax for very heat sensitive stones, such as opal. For opal, I only only use the green wax. It melts at a lower temperature but also has a greater chance of allowing the stone to shift on the dop. I have two very bright, hence warm, incandescent lights that I use while faceting.

Regards,

J. Sean Keane