I apologize if this has already been discussed, I searched the forums but didn’t find anything. I would like to try learning gem faceting. It would be nice if I could take a course, but with covid many are canceled, and I also live kind of out in the sticks. On Amazon there are several gem faceting machines in the $300 range. I know these are low quality and not what I would want if I end up getting into it, but does anyone know if they are at least good enough for me to figure out if this is something I enjoy doing? Then I would buy better equipment.
First off all What would You like to facet?
Stones you find in nature. Synthetics?
Buy quality rough?
Cheap stones with inclusions ?
Are you planning to sell any of your faceted stones?
At this point I’d just like to see if I like faceting. No plans to sell anything or try to make income. I’d say cheap stones with inclusions, like quartz. Maybe stones I find but I live on the beach so there’s really not much to find. The kind of quartz where you can buy like a pound for $15. If I like it I might try low cost rough gem material, but I’m looking for a hobby, nothing more.
Why I asked is because it’s hard enough for most people to cut a perfect stone on a good calibrated machine. My guess is that it will be a nightmare on one of those cheap ones.
If cut stones you find on the beach maybe you can have fun with it. Anything more then that I would personally not invest the money in it.
I bought one of the cheaper faceting machines used for commercial cutting and it With all the accessories it is a few grand. On USA faceter guild it regularly come up used machines.
If you are a patient and dedicated person and interested in stones I can’t see you not like to cut stones.
If you are likely to get frustrated I will give it a miss.
My first question is what country do you live in? Most countries will have a Facetors Guild with representatives all over the place. Try contacting someone in the Guild you may find someone in your local area who can give you a bit of instruction 1 on 1 so you can see if you might enjoy faceting, you may even cut your first stone under their guidance.
This is a cheap way to discover and find a possible mentor before you start shelling out on a machine, AND with faceting machines you get what you pay for. My machine is over 20 years old, cost me close to $3k before servicing, which I did myself, but now I know it’s capabilities, my wife’s machine comes with a similar story. Both are accurate and have the ability to a very high standard, the rest is up to the operator.
If you’re in Australia, get in touch and I can point you in the right direction, best of luck.
Thank you! I will check out the faceters guild.
Unfortunately I’m about as far from Australia as you can get, in the US. But thank you for the advice and I’ll do some more digging to see if I can find someone local.
Hi Becky. The USFG is the guild in the us. Great folks and free to look at all the material on website. Membership is very cheap. If you need further help email me at Alivetodaysofar@gmail.com
Beware of the cheap Chinese machines, they more than likely will not be very accurate, also they do not come with everything you need to start faceting, they show like 4 dops but don’t show stone transfer jig or all the different laps needed to finish a stone. I live in USA near beach myself (Mobile, AL) and am pre-master certified with USFG (United States Facetors Guild) if you would like to try to cut a stone to see if you would like it.
Just a reminder. You will get what you pay for". Faceting is not playing paper dolls. It takes patience and good sense. Paying $300 is inviting failure. You will need all the help you can get. Adding a less than acceptable starting machine makes no sense. Find a beginner cutters and harvest their experiences. I am a beginner, twice over The first time in the 1950s and the second now. My old Ultratec has carried me through to reasonable proficiency. But I am a patient person and really want to cut well. Think about it. There is no more Free Lunch!
I am also new to learning how to facet. I did buy one of the cheap amazon green Facet machines. It has served me well for learning. It’s way far from perfect, but after getting some addition pieces, I am learning a lot about calibrations. I end up using a small level on my quill just to get the degrees close. I figure if I can figure this out on this machine, when I’m ready to invest on a good Faceter, (Christmas this year!) I should be pretty ready for an “on the mark calibrations” machine. I have been using substandard rough and also marbles to help practice. Unfortunately I don’t have a mentor to guide me so I am using books and the internet. I’m also in the US, Georgia to be exact. Closest gem club is 60 miles away… oh, and I’m just a hobbyist too. Maybe some Etsy or small scale sales.
Faceting machines are very much a machine where you get what you pay for, a lack of accuracy in cheap machines is one of the most frustrating things for beginners as they think they are the problem not the machine. This can kill their enthusiasm and destroy any chances of them warming to a new hobby or even developing as a professional.
This is just the machine aspect without considering flatness of laps etc, an area often overlooked in discussions.
Through the internet one can find a lot of good info, but unfortunately also some absolute rubbish, hopefully you are able to distill between the good and bad. Beyond that forums are an excellent resource for help and some have some highly skilled facetors as members, I’m a member of an Australian forum with some very skilled and helpful members from all around the world.
Youtube can be good, but most of the material on there is more demonstration than education. For a newcomer one of the best instructional books you can buy is: A Beginners Guide to Faceting by Broadfoot & Collins, I know John Broadfoot well, he is an incredibly skilled facetor, teacher and mentored me in Gem repair and re-cutting. The info you will get from this book is worth its weight in gold.
check out the Facebook pages on facetting. there has been numerous machines for sale and there ae lots of people with experience