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Gemcutting and lung health

Hello folks!

I’m considering buying a brand-new Ultra Tec V5 in the very near future. I’d like to start a profitable side-gig that I can engage in at home after my day job. I have no lapidary experience aside from cutting cabochons in high school, so I’ll be self-taught. Essentially I’ll be diving in head first, and I only have spare rooms in my home to work in and nothing akin to a hood or ventilation system.

While researching all things lapidary I have come across numerous articles (including here at IGS) concerning silicosis and lapidary work. What do hobby cutters do to mitigate the dangers presented by fine particles generated during faceting? I’d rather not wear a respirator for hours at a time (they’re uncomfortable of course, and I’d have to shave off my beard at the very least), but then again you only get one set of lungs. Are they necessary? Are there better options? Additionally the V5 is quite expensive and adding the price of a commercial-grade ventilation system may put lapidary work out of my reach as a hobby.

What does the forum community think of the dangers associated with faceting? I understand one bad exposure to rock dust can seriously and permanently damage the lungs. Do you have a ventilation system for your work space and if so, how did you go about creating it? Finally, I really like quartz gems and thought they would make an inexpensive medium to gain experience with, but now I’m having serious doubts about lapidary as a hobby.

Thanks in advance for your responses!

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