Dopping techniques - faceting machineDopping techniques - faceting machine

Gemstone Dopping Techniques

A novice gem cutter needs to master various dopping techniques for cabbing and faceting gemstones. Learn how to attach gem rough to a dop stick safely.

8 Minute Read

What are Gemstone Dopping Techniques?

There are gemstone dopping techniques for the two main branches of the lapidary arts.

In gemstone faceting, the dop stick is placed in a machine, which allows for precision control of angles, rotation, and depth of cut.

Dopping for cabochon cutting is fairly simple and less precise and critical. For example, if the adhesive bond should break while cutting a cab, you can Super Glue it back to the dop stick and be operating again in minutes. However, if a stone should come off the adhesive on the dop while faceting, it would be a very different story. You would either have to re-apply the stone to the dop with the exact orientation as before (which is nearly impossible) or recut the stone to a new orientation (which is a drag).

Novice gem cutters who want to facet gemstones need to master their dopping techniques as soon as possible.

Dopping Techniques for Cabochon Cutting


The most common dopping technique for cabbing requires a selection of dowels of varying sizes and wax as a dopping compound.

Dopping wax is essentially the same as sealing wax, although it’s often mixed with other ingredients to…

Donald Clark, CSM IMG

The late Donald Clark, CSM founded the International Gem Society in 1998. Donald started in the gem and jewelry industry in 1976. He received his formal gemology training from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Society of Gemcutters (ASG). The letters “CSM” after his name stood for Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter, a designation of Wykoff’s ASG which has often been referred to as the doctorate of gem cutting. The American Society of Gemcutters only had 54 people reach this level. Along with dozens of articles for leading trade magazines, Donald authored the book “Modern Faceting, the Easy Way.”

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