faceted halite
faceted halite

Tips for Cutting and Polishing Halite


Halite is a very difficult material to facet, even for experts. Jeff Graham offers his advice on how to cut and polish this challenging yet tasty gemstone.

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Some lapidary experts have successfully cut and polished halite, a very challenging material to facet. This is how I do it.
faceted halite
With a hardness of 2.5, perfect cleavage, brittle tenacity, and extreme solubility in water, halites are exceedingly difficult to cut and near impossible to wear. However, they can occur in spectacular colors, like the deep blue this rare faceted specimen shows. 3.80 cts, 10 x 8 x 4 mm, Africa. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Jasper52.

The Process

  1. Stick the halite in your mouth.
  2. Next, flush liberally with 190 proof grain alcohol (if you've got any left after the last toga party).
  • halites on matrix - Poland
  • halites on matrix under UV light - Poland

    Halite is not only tasty but also fluorescent. These colorless halites on a shale matrix appear pinkish orange under ultraviolet light. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Cutting Remarks

    Slight rounding at facet junctions may occur using this method.

    For a little acid to help polish, a wedge of lemon or lime works well. Take two aspirin in the morning.

    halite crystals in a mine - Germany
    Be wary of consuming halites in situ, since they may contain admixed materials not good for your health. Consult your faceter before mixing halite and alcohol. Halite crystals in a mine, Merkers, Germany. Photo by Wampi. Licensed under CC By-SA 3.0.

    Jeff R. Graham

    The late Jeff Graham was a prolific faceter, creator of many original faceting designs, and the author of several highly-regarded instructional faceting books such as Gram Faceting Designs.

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