Choosing a faceting machine is a daunting task. The money involved is substantial and most people do not have the opportunity to try the equipment before laying down their money.

One serious pitfall for the novice is the quality of advice they get. Understand that, when a person makes a substantial investment in a tool, they also have an emotional need to justify that expenditure. Many people swear by their machines, when they have never tried anything else.

Several articles exist on how to chose a faceting machine. (We have two good ones in our Reference Library.) Most authors stress accuracy and repeatability. These are important factors in choosing a faceting machine.

Accuracy: are you really cutting at the chosen angle? A half-degree difference will have a significant effect on the brilliance of some gems. Meet point designs require cutting to 1/10th degree accuracy. If your settings are off, you will not be able to finish one of these.

Repeatability: Faceting is done in stages: shaping, smoothing, and polishing. The ability to accurately repeat a previous setting is imperative. You can do this on all machines, but it is much easier on some than others.

When discussing accuracy and repeatability,…