How to Cut Gems

Cutting gemstones is a process that dates back thousands of years. Often referred to as faceting, the process involves taking a rough gemstone and transforming it in to a polished, sparkling masterpiece. Though it may seem like a difficult task, you can learn how to cut gems like a master by following just a few steps.


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    Select a "rough" or uncut gemstone. The type of stone you select will determine what shape you can facet the gem into based on its clarity, height, and shape.
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    Research exact cutting angles recommended for the type of stone selected. There are a number of hk ,sources available that focus on the art of faceting. Try online tutorials, hard copy books, or even classroom sessions to enhance your knowledge and skill.
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    Use a faceting machine to grind away the outer unnecessary parts of your gem. Most roughs are oddly shaped, and you may need to grind it down so it is closer to the size and shape you want.
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    Heat a small amount of dop wax until it is soft and pliable. Attach the wax to the end of your dop stick, and place the gem on to the top of the wax to attach it to the stick. Make sure your gem is oriented properly. The base of the gem, or what will become the mounted end, should be in the wax and the faceted surface should be exposed. Allow the wax to cool around the gem prior to grinding so it will stay on the stick.
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    Grind the stone into the chosen shape. Popular choices are emerald, princess, pear, and diamond cuts. Each of these have very specific faceting techniques, and to achieve the cut you desire, you need to consult the instructions included with your faceting machine. You can also research particular cutting styles online or look through faceting books for inspiration.
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    Polish the finished gem gently with a soft cloth and a metal oxide solution. This will buff your new gemstone until it sparkles and will help remove any grit or imperfections leftover by the faceting process.


  • To achieve the cut you desire, it may be necessary to reheat the dop wax, remove the rough, and reposition it in the hot wax. Heating the stone along with the wax will not harm it.
  • While you are still learning how to facet, try practicing your skills on less expensive gems, such as quartz or crystal. These stones will allow you to make mistakes without costing you a fortune.
  • Faceting is increasing in popularity, and many locations have regular trade shows dedicated to the art. Research the area you live to find out if there are shows or events you can attend to purchase roughs, exchange ideas, or learn more about cutting gems.


  • Be very careful while working with your faceting machines. The grinding discs are very rough, and if your fingertips or nails touch the working surface, you can have serious injuries.

Things You'll Need

  • Gemstones
  • Faceting machine and instructions
  • Dop wax and stick
  • Polishing cloth
  • Metal oxide
  • Minerals

Article Info

Categories: Jewelry and Watches