My interest in gem carving started in December, 1994, when I saw a picture of Michael Dyber’s winning entry in the 25th German Awards for Jewelry & Precious Gems in Idar-Oberstein, a 55.65-ct ametrine featuring his signature concave facets, “Dyber Optic Dishes.” I was in awe of what he had done. For a year and a half, I tried to figure out how he had accomplished this.

I want to share what I’ve learned about optical dish carving. I’m self taught in all aspects of gem carving and jewelry design, and this is my own method. Of course, others may take a different but equally effective approach. The stone I’ve used to illustrate my technique is a “smokitrine,” a smoky brown quartz with yellow streaks. (While ametrine is a combination of amethyst and citrine, this quartz variety combines smoky quartz and citrine).

Tools For Optical Dish Carving

Below is a photo of the tools I use for carving. They include two diamond ball burrs to start the dimple and a set of wood dowels on 1/8” rods. (I use wood because I feel it’s more forgiving than steel or brass). I bought the diamond bits but made the…