Facet Designs For Beginners

What are the best facet designs for novice gem cutters? Find recommendations for cutting styles, books, resources, and gemstone rough here.

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Round brilliant cuts, such as this peachy pink 2.08 ct. topaz, are good introductory facet designs for beginners.
Round brilliant cuts are good introductory facet designs for gem cutters. "Topaz, (2.08 cts., brilliant cut)." © Dan Stair Custom Gemstones. Used with permission.


I want to learn the art of faceting. Where do I start? What facet designs do you recommend for a beginner?


Most people start practicing facet designs with a standard round brilliant. Cut a few of these to get a feel for the machine and the motions involved. Next, try an emerald cut. This facet design will introduce you to step cutting.

Once you're familiar with the basics, you can move on to more complex shapes and designs. Faceting for Amateurs is an excellent book. It features designs for beginners and advanced cutters alike. Gradually, you'll add more challenging techniques to your repertoire like meetpoint faceting. Introduction to Meetpoint Faceting is an excellent guide but very tough for novices. Before you tackle it, make sure you have the basics down and some experience under your belt.

Of course, the International Gem Society (IGS) has an extensive selection of faceting articles for beginners. Take advantage of these resources. The IGS also has cutting information for specific gemstones as well as diagrams for hundreds of facet designs.

As far as materials, many cutters start with quartz. Depending on your budget, there are more rough gemstone options. However, I don't recommend starting with synthetic gems. Most of them are very hard, which presents an additional challenge to beginners.

Donald Clark, CSM IMG

International Gem Society

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