Choosing the Best Faceting Wax for Your Task

Faceting wax or dop wax comes in different colors with different melting points. Learn how to choose the wax best suited for holding your gem for cutting.


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Question:What's the best faceting wax: black, green, or brown? Are specific waxes better for specific types of gemstones or cutting?
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.


J. Sean Keane

International Gem Society

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