Doug Menadue :: Bespoke Gems - Precision Hand Faceted Gemstones Of The Highest Quality

Cutting the stone :
Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43

Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43

What I wanted to do here was to give you an idea of how a stone gets cut.

The stone starts off in the "rough" and is attached to a short brass rod called a "dop" using hot wax. The dop is inserted into the "quill" which can be rotated in increments.

The quill can be set at certain angles as determined by the design being cut and in some of the photos you can see the digital angle read out. Precision cutting gems, ie. faceting, is all about correct and accurate angles.

I generally start out cutting the bottom of the gemstone, which is called the "pavilion". The "girdle" comes next which is the middle band around the gemstone. After this, the stone is then "transferred" onto a second dop and the cutting of the top half, the "crown", is done. Finally the "table" which is the top surface of the gem is cut.

To give you an idea of the number of facets on a gemstone, a standard round brilliant has 89 facets. Now, when we cut a stone we are actually grinding it on "laps". These laps have diamond grit impregnated into them and come in different grades, like sandpaper. A typical cutting sequence would be to start with 100 grit (very rough) --> 600 grit --> 1200 grit (fine) --> 3000 pre-polish --> 50,000 polish. This means that we have to touch each facet 5 times which means we are in effect cutting 445 facets!!! And you can get designs that have 150+ facets, so think about that! Cutting a fine gemstones takes time and patience... that's what you're paying for.

Once completed, the finished gemstone is removed from the dop, cleaned to remove all the traces of wax and then its ready to sparkle.


Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43


The rough stone in it's original shape.
Tourmaline often comes in the shape of a triangular rods.


Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43


We're ready to begin cutting the stone.
It has been attached to the dop using wax.


Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43


The pavilion has now been cut and is ready to be polished.


Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43


Polished pavilion.


Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43


The crown has been cut and is ready for polishing.


Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43


Note the rectangular bars of the crown.
These run at 90 degrees to the bars on the pavilion
and this is what gives it the wonderful checker board effect.


Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43


The polished crown.


Tourmaline, Smith Bar, #43


All done.


See the finished gem here.






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