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Sterling Lapidary's new Machine

Hi All,

New faceter here, currently waiting on a new Sterling lapidary variable speed faceting machine. I know (thanks to Justin K Prim’s world of faceting machines YouTube channel) that Sterling lapidary’s machines are robust, easy to use, and inexpensive, in fact I assume probably about 90% of all colored gemstones are cut on them or something that is essentially the same. However the new variable speed machines have just come out and I don’t know of anyone who has actually used them yet.
The rest of the Sterling lapidary equipment, the trim saw, the faceting handpieces, dop sticks, etc. are apparently unchanged.

Has anyone used one of these new variable speed Sterling lapidary machines? Or any of the other Sterling equipment and have any advice?


P.s. for the record I am in Japan, and was considering an Imahashi machine, but the cost of an entire lapidary workshop from Sri Lanka was
less than the cost of an Imahashi, or a Facetron, UltraTec, or even Graves machine once you consider shipping.

P.p.s. thanks for the videos @justinkprim !

Hello! Thanks for the kind words. I have the prototype of the new variable speed sterling and I must say that it’s awesome. They added a new german motor, a new Finnish speed controller and it has a digital led display that lets you know exactly how fast you’re going from 0-2500 rpms. This thing works better than any other faceting speed controller I’ve ever seen. My Polymetric can’t go as slow or as fast as this thing. All that and it’s actually lighter than the old machine. I’ve had this one for a few months now and I’ve been loving it. I went to Sri Lanka to pick it up to avoid shipping and customs to Thailand and I think it only weighed 18kg and fit nicely inside a rolling suitcase.

I’ve had a few months to test out the bugs of the prototype and now Sterling is ready to go! Enjoy. I really think they took the machine to the next level with this speed control.

We’ve got an online video series coming out soon from IGT that is a training video for the machine. There are several techniques on this machine that you wont intuitively pick up from using it. I didn’t either until the Sri Lankan cutters showed me. The video walks you through cutting the round brilliant and shows you how to use every feature of the machine. I’m also going to post a video this weekend about how to balance the handpiece, which is the first thing you need to do when you buy the machine. I’ll post it on the Institute of Gem Trading YouTube account. Probably even today. I recommend checking that out.

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You just made me one happy dude!

I already bought the machine, an extra precision handpiece, a trim saw, a steel lapidary table, their entire lap package and accessories, basically just about everything they sell for a workshop, and it is on the way to Japan now.

That might seem like quite an investment for a new faceter, but honestly the entire price was less than four grand US, which would have been more than the cost of an American Mast type shipped to me in Japan. And about the exact same price as just an Imahashi machine with one hand piece, and I am fairly sure the Imahashi machine is the same as it was in the 80s when they started improving it in Sri Lanka anyway.

And I am just ecstatic about your videos! I have the Tom Herbst books and have watched tons of videos, but all of the instructions in English seem to use Mast type machines heh.


I saw your video on balancing handpieces on the IGT Bangkok YouTube channel, and it was great, thank you!

My machine won’t be here for a few weeks so in the meantime I will be watching and reading everything I can, and if your video series comes out I guarantee it at least a hundred views from me alone!

Cheers. :smile:

For anyone interested this is the video:

And this is the one that convinced me to get a Sterling in the first place:

I just had my faceter replaced and I just went out in the garden and picked up a good size stone and faceted that one


How did using this balancing technique go? It looks pretty straightforward, and you end up with a kind of faceted stone afterwards, possibly something you could make into a good design later.

I’ll probably do it with synthetic corundum just for the sapphire practice.

it is very straight forward. the good thing with a normal stone is that it is very soft so you can do a biggen and you not need to cut forever on every step, the bigger the better. saying that I am a beginner as well. corundum is very hard

Oh that is a very good point! In fact now that you have said that I imagine Sapphire would be just about the worst choice! :flushed:

Things are flexing a fair bit if put to much pressure on and a facet might be a bit wonky if not careful on a big stone. The leading edge might grab and pull down that side especially on a shallow angle and may not be true. An untrained eye would easily miss that so a softer stone will cut better in my opinion.

Yeah I expect I will either start with some amethyst or clear quartz.

I have some chunks of synthetic amethyst I was just going to use for Christmas presents I might get this alignment done on.

The Sterling looks like a copy of the old Raytech ,machine.

it is a copy of the Imahashi machine from Japan actually. But that was in 1984 and they have been improving it in Sri Lanka ever since, but the Japanese machine is about the same.

The Japanese machine was a copy of a German handpiece machine which developed out of the diamond cutters tang.

The world of faceting machines video above has all this information in it, and the other videos in the series copper pretty much every other faceting machine around.

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Hey everyone.
@justinkprim - is this machine the same sterling that we saw in the Gem show 10 days ago?
I was wanting to practice with this machine as I stood there in que waiting to do some faceting hands on. I mean standing there in your factory not knowing how to facet and actually sitting down with the facettors - to work on speed and quality is a whole different thing.
We have a factory that still uses the traditional dop stick method, I am not sure I understand the difference between this machine and the one we have. Can we use this on the same faceting machine that we currently have? How can I show my cutters get some experience on this cutting machine?
Thank you
Navneet Gems

Yes same exact one. Let me know if you want to come into the school and check out the machine. We have a class starting Monday so I’ll be there for the next few weeks. Afternoon is best. Email me. I can explain best in person.

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