Star Gemstones: Tips For Beginners


Needle-like rutile inclusions in rose quartz crystals can create a star effect. When cut as cabochons, they can make fine star gemstones. “Star Rose Quartz” by Ed Uthman is licensed under CC By 2.0
Needle-like rutile inclusions in rose quartz crystals can create a star effect. When cut as cabochons, they can make fine star gemstones. “Star Rose Quartz” by Ed Uthman is licensed under CC By 2.0

Question

I love star gemstones and want to know more about them. I don’t cut, but if I thought it was something I could learn (and afford) without too much trouble, I’d like to start. Are star gemstones difficult to cut? How long does it take? What equipment do I need? Where can you buy the raw goods to cut?

 Sincerely,

 Joyce Barham

Answer

You can read about asterism, or the “star effect,” and the inclusions that cause this optical phenomenon in gems in the International Gem Society (IGS) article on phenomenal gems.

I’ve cut several star gemstones. There are three books I’d recommend that will tell you how to cut and polish star stones and what equipment you’ll need: Advanced Cabochon Cutting by Jack R. Cox, Star Gems by Douglas L. Hoffman, and Gem Cutting by John Sinkankas. Any of these will help you understand how to work with star gemstones. You can also review the IGS guide to cutting star and cat’s eye gems.

When you’re ready to purchase stones and equipment, check out the IGS recommended suppliers list.

I hope this helps.

Leon Reeder

“Star of Asia Sapphire – Smithsonian Museum of Natural History – 2012-05-17” by Tim Evanson is licensed under CC By-SA 2.0
Star sapphires feature some of the most spectacular and well-known examples of asterism. “Star of Asia Sapphire – Smithsonian Museum of Natural History – 2012-05-17” by Tim Evanson is licensed under CC By-SA 2.0