By Duncan Miller

How to teach yourself faceting, in three easy steps:

1.      Acquire a faceting machine.

2.      Learn to facet.

3.      Become an expert.

These are good introductory lessons for those starting out faceting, and perhaps don’t have access to a mentor or teacher. Things get a lot more difficult when you want to facet non-standard, soft, or easily cleavable stones. For the past few months I have tackled various soft gem materials. This required learning some new skills. I had to practise and perfect hybrid dopping using wax and cyanoacrylate glue with a necessary accelerator to ensure the glue set. Faceting soft, and easily cleaved materials requires using sharp, fine diamond grit laps. Some very soft materials, like cerussite, tend to bind to the finest laps, so a compromise is necessary. The steepest learning curve was in polishing. Directional cutting and polishing were mandatory because of their differential susceptibility to cleave, chip and scratch. Polishing direction and pressure had to change for just about every facet. For such stones, patience and a responsive polishing technique are as important as choice of lap and polishing medium.


Cerussite 75,42 ct; 18 mm
Rhodochrosite 2,84 ct; 8 mm