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What is Faceting?

Ever wondered how that lovely Sapphire or juciy Amethyst was cut in your jewellery? How it's shape and pattern was created?


Faceting is the art and craft of cutting gemstones. To do this you need to use a faceting machine and a cutting design with the instructions to cut and achieve a finished gemstone. The faceting machine allows you to cut facets which are a flat surface that are cut onto the surface of a gemstone, they are usually a triangle, diamond or a bar in shape.


Different gem materials such as Ruby, Emerald, Citrine and Topaz affect light differently, so the facets need to be cut at different angles to get the best sparkle from the finished stone. If you want a fascinating and fun hobby, why not give faceting a try. You will be pleasantly surprised by the result - a beautiful sparkling gemstone that you have cut yourself.

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Types of Faceting Machines

Below are the main types of faceting machines that can be acquired. Each type may have many different manufacturers. NE1 Faceters mainly teaches on mast type machines.

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This type of machine has a faceting head, which holds the stone, fixed to a vertical post (mast). It tends to be the most accurate type of machine but can be slower to cut with.

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Hand Piece/Floating Head

This type holds the gemstone in a hand held unit that can be lifted completely off the platform that it sits on. A good machine for compromising between accuracy and speed.


Jamb Peg

The traditional type of cutting machines, but can range in quality. They are usually the fastest for cutting, but also tend to be the least accurate.

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Faceting Designs

Most of the faceted gemstones we see everyday are standard cuts  -  round, oval, pear, square, etc. There are in fact over 4000 different gemstone designs, covering a much broader range of shapes and styles so there should be something for everyone's taste. They also range from simple to complex, allowing faceters to push their skills as they learn and improve.


Faceting designs are the instructions used to cut gemstones. They include a picture of the design as well as information on the angles and indexes used to create each facet or face of the gem. Designs can be for specific material to best suit the properties of that material and can usually be converted to match what you are cutting. At our workshops we teach how to read and use faceting designs to cut gemstones, click below to learn more about our workshops.

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