When you finish faceting a gemstone you’ve never worked before, the experience usually falls into one of four categories:

  1. Wonderful! Beautiful! I’ve just GOT to get some more of this stuff!
  2. That wasn’t so hard. Looks pretty good, too.
  3. Whew! I’m finally done.
  4. I NEVER want to see that #&$@* stuff again!

While I’m a relatively new faceter, over the years I’ve experienced each category roughly an equal number of times. When I started, I had a great many more category four experiences. Lately, I’ve enjoyed more category ones. Hopefully, these notes and faceting advice will raise the odds that your first experience cutting a new gem material will be satisfying.

Choosing the Material

This has nothing to do with whether peridot or garnet is the right choice. Rather, this is about which individual piece of peridot or garnet to take home and play with. You can choose from an abundance of rough gem material available through dealers and shows. Their degrees of difficulty to work with vary.

Different cleavages, hardnesses, and refractive indices all come into play when you sit down to facet a stone. However, more goes into selecting a stone than that. Once you’ve picked the…