Most of the books on faceting that are available to the beginner are few at best. The author of many books take for granted that the reader understands terms like refractive index, dispersion, cleavage planes, birefringence, pleochroism, Moh’s Hardness, toughness, crystallography, etc. Don’t be discouraged – there are a few books out there that can guide you through the whole process and give you the information you’ll need, including an understanding of all those technical terms listed before. Self-taught or tutored, you’ll need to read every book that you can find on the subject (if nothing else you will be able to talk like a cutter). Here, in the authors humble opinion, are some of the best books on the subject.
FACETING for AMATEURS by Glenn & Martha Vargas: Don’t let the title fool you this book covers almost everything you need to get your self started it’s well written and very easy to understand. Including one heck of a Gem material reference section which gives you the physical and optical characteristics of most of the natural gem minerals (yes all those pretty gemstones are minerals). This section also covers a lot of man-made materials as well! There are a lot of cutters out there that are far from being amateurs who keep this book at hand (yours truly and my partner in crime as well).
ANY BOOKS by JOHN SINKANKAS ON GEM CUTTING: Mr. Sinkankas has written books that covers everything you will ever want to know about gems & gem cutting (some have even called him the God father of gem cutting) When you obtain any of his books (many are out of print) listen and believe the man really knows what he’s writing about. But BEWARE John SINKANKAS can fill up your brain rather quickly and if you haven’t had your brain filled lately it can be quite a shock!
FACETING THE EASY WAY by Don Clark: This book isn’t really written for the person that just ready to cut their first stone but AFTER you’ve been cutting awhile get this book, it’s very well written. Complete with very clear instructions, easy to read diagrams, and this book covers all of your basic shapes. Mr. Clark has been cutting and designing gem cuts long enough to know about mistakes and more importantly how you can avoid them, thus keeping your sanity, at least until your next brain over flow.
FACETING DESIGNS by ROBERT LONG & NORMAN STEELE: Long & Steele have done a great many books on Faceting designs and the math involved in the process we call faceting. Also they wrote a real gem (pardon the pun) of a book titled MEET POINT FACETING. I wouldn’t really recommend these books for the novice cutter, you may end up in a dead run screaming off into the night! Only after you been cutting for sometime and have a understanding of Tangent ratio conversion do I recommend you add these books into your book shelf! PLEASE don’t misunderstand these books are very great, after you know what your doing when your at machine.