Tucson Faceters Frolic 2018

sponsored by
The United Stated Faceters Guild

January 31, February 1, 2 and 3, 2018
9 am till 9 pm

The Old Pueblo Lapidary Club
3118 North Dale Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85712

There will be speakers every day Febuary 1-3 from 10am till 9pm. Admission is free

Speaker Schedule:

Thursday, February 1:
10 am till noon – Tom Mitchell – “All About Dopping”
1 pm till 3 pm – Lisa Elser – “Roughing it – Buying Gemstones Overseas”
4 pm till 6 pm – Tom Herbst – “Roughing It: Managing Your Raw Gemstones”
7 pm till 9 pm – Scott Sucher – “The Art of Cutting and Polishing” (inspired by a talk given by Steve and Nancy Attaway)

Friday, February 2:
10 am till noon – Diane Eames – “Cutting for Jewelry”
1 pm till 3 pm – Alan Hodgkinson – “Visual Optics”
4 pm till 6 pm – Steve and Nancy Attaway – “The Economy of Gemstone Repairs and Re-Cuts”
7 pm till 9 pm – Tom Herbst – “Designing and Visualizing Gemstones”

Saturday, February 3:
10 am till noon – Arya Akavan – “Introduction to Synthetic Gemstones: history, common materials, and practical basic” and then “Synthetic Gemstones: chemistry, cutting, colour, and curiosities”
1 pm till 3 pm – Dr. Alexander Bulatov – “The Method of Growing Moissanite and Diamonds”
4 pm till 6 pm – Tom Herbst – “A Stone’s Story” (tells the full story of a single stone, from design to acquisition to cutting and polishing)

The Hob Nob sponsored by the Old Pueblo Lapidary Club will start at 6 pm. They will have the prettiest stone contest and a pizza dinner. There is a fee for dinner. There will also be gem rough vendors.

7 pm till 9 pm – Scott Sucher – “The Evolution of Diamond Cutting”


Gem Cad and Gem Ray – Friday, February 2 – Cost $35.00 per class
9 am till noon – Beginners GemCad
1 pm till 3 pm – Intermediate GemCad
3 pm till 5 pm – Advanced GemCad 3/GemRay

Presented by Robert Strickland the creator of these programs. Limited to 12 students. Students should bring their own computers and extension cord or power strip.

Introduction to Faceting
– Thursday and Friday, February 1 & 2 – Cost $25.00
9 am till 5 pm
Taught by Ernie Hawes and Billy Bob Riley. Limited to 8 students. Students will learn to cut one stone. They will be using the machines provided by the OPLC and they will be cutting stones provided by the USFG.


Gem Rough Buying Tour of Tucson – Wednesday, January 31 – Cost $40.00
9 am till whenever

Arya Akavan will lead the gem rough buying tour of Tucson. When you sign up for this event, please give your name and cell phone number. Arya will contact you before the event to give you the location where to meet.

The buying tour is sold out. Please feel free to ask our folks at the Frolic for advice on buying rough.

For further information contact Tom Mitchell: 352-751-0906


in order of appearance

Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell took up faceting after retiring from a career in Fire Safety. He got involved after a camping trip to a fee mine in Northern Georgia. He learned faceting at William Holland School of Lapidary Arts in Young Harris, Georgia where he now teaches.

He is the author of “Faceting 1, Learn the Fine Art of Gem Faceting, It’s Easy!” He was instrumental in organizing a The Villages Gem and Mineral Society in his hometown, is the current President of the Tomoka Faceters Guild, holds the position of Assistant Florida State Director of the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies, all in Florida, and is an officer in the United States Faceters Guild.

Lisa Elser

Lisa is a gemcutter trained in Switzerland and living in the Vancouver, BC area. She’s published articles on gem travel, ethical buying, heat treatment of gems, and numerous gem cutting techniques. Her gems have been featured in Canadian Jeweler, More Magazine, Canadian Jewelry Business, and Jewelry Artist Magazine, and she is the winner of an American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Spectrum Award and 5 Lapidary Journal Gemmys.

Her Spectrum Award winning Tourmaline is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum.

She and her husband travel the world to buy rough gems, ensuring that the stones purchased are ethically mined and benefit local communities.

Tom Herbst

Tom is an amateur gem cutter and all-round rock enthusiast. He is also the author of the two-volume book “Amateur Gemstone Faceting.” Born in eastern Ontario, Canada, he received his formal education in Montreal (Quebec), Waterloo (Ontario), and Ithaca (New York). A research astrophysicist in his “day” job, Tom specializes in the design, construction, and scientific exploitation of novel astronomical instrumentation. He currently lives and works near Heidelberg, Germany.

Although he began collecting pretty rocks as a kid, it was not until his mid-thirties that Tom realized that creating gemstones is within everyone’s grasp. A few faceting lessons and a homebuilt machine later, he was deep into the hobby and has never looked back.

Scott Sucher

Scott Sucher is a retired Air Force Combat Search and Rescue/Special Operations instructor pilot, and was Chief, Air Operations and the Rescue Coordination Center in Kuwait for Operation Southern Watch

He is an acknowledged expert in the history and cutting of famous historical diamonds, having published articles on the French Blue, Tavernier Blue, Hope, and Koh-i-Noor diamonds in Gems and Gemology, Review de Gemologie in France, plus a few others. Scott was the featured expert gem cutter in the Discovery Channel documentary “Unsolved History: The Hope Diamond” that first aired in March 2005 and the 2010 National Geographic program “Secrets of the Hope Diamond” with significant on-air time in both programs. As a result of the Discovery Channel filming, he was privileged to be alone in the Smithsonian vault with the unset Hope diamond, the Blue Heart diamond, and Napoleon’s Necklace.

He has had several international displays, and has co-displayed for the past several years with the GIA at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. He has also guided projects with the National History Museum, London and the Museum national D’Historie naturelle in Paris. He was the keynote speaker for GIA’s 2011 John Sinkankas Diamond Symposium. His work is on permanent exhibit in many museums.

Diane Eames

Diane Eames has been working with gems for 34 years, as a fine jeweler, Graduate Gemologist and gem faceter. For the last 10 years, she has owned Gems of the Hill Country, specializing in topaz from Mason County, Texas, sending the Texas state gem all over the country. Currently president of the USFG, and Texas Faceters Guild, she works to help others learn faceting, gemology, and the jewelry industry.

Alan Hodgkinson

Alan, a resident of Scotland, is on his 26th annual AGTA lecture visit to Tucson. Additionally, he lectured for AGA and the NAJA. on a tour which involved 14 cities in 26 days on one visit, and another time driving from Tucson to San Diego then up to Vancouver lecturing in every City on the way. He thinks the reason he gets invited back is his sheer enthusiasm for gems and a gift to bring stones alive for the audience especially when they realize they themselves can replicate the simple procedures which he demonstrates and explains in a simple English, full of adjectives, similes and metaphors which everyone can follow (if they remain awake!).

His extensive list of accomplishments include: President of the Scottish Gemological Association, Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Lifetime Member of the Gemological Association of the United Kingdom, Honorary Member of the Canadian Gemological Association, Honorary Registered Valuer.

He has also received a Lifetime Member Award from AGTA, a Lifetime Member Award from AGA, the First winner of the Bonanno Award (2000), and Winner of the Hanneman Award (2017).

He is also the author of “Visual Optics”, “Gem Testing Techniques” and “Guide to West Kilbride”.

Steve and Nancy Attaway

Nancy owns and operates of High Country Gems, where, with her husband, Steve, they create and manufacture custom jewelry set with their own faceted and carved colored gemstones. They make fine jewelry for customers and sell unique pieces at shows. Nancy also facets and repairs colored gemstones for jewelry stores. Nancy began faceting with the New Mexico Faceters Guild in 1987.

Nancy is a self taught gemcutter, and Steve is a self taught goldsmith. Nancy was the president of the New Mexico Faceters guild for 6 years and was the newsletter editor for 7 years. She served 8 years on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Jewelers Association in Albuquerque.

Nancy has designed and published many faceting diagrams in Lapidary Journal. One of Nancy’s designs was selected for the Pre-Master Competition by the United States Faceting Guild. Nancy faceted a replica of the French Blue diamond for the Smithsonian Institution as her part of a special project on the Hope diamond. Nancy faceted an 85 carat ametrine “Eye of Horus” that is on permanent display in the Smithsonian’s Gem and Mineral Hall.

Arya Akavan

Arya is a hobbyist faceteter and designer who started cutting gems in 2010, at a class in the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. He has since gone on to host design competitions, write articles for several regional and national faceting organizations, give “newbie tours” at Tucson, and has also been on the board of directors for the USFG. He enjoys working with materials with unusual or extreme optical properties, like rutile and andalusite, as well as rare and unusual synthetics, like yttrium orthovanadate and langasite.

Dr. Alexander Bulatov

Dr. Bulatov has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry and currently resides in Russia where he is employed at the Institute of Biochemical Physics. He has held positions in the Chemistry Department, University of Minnesota, and as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Institute of Organic Chemistry, the University of Tuebingen, Germany. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Chemical Physics, and was a Research Chemist at Gem Resources, Inc., Institute of Magnetonics, and Geology Department at Moscow State University

Awards: Award of All-Union Conference on Physical Chemistry for Young Scientists and Special Award of the USSR Academy of Sciences for Young Scientists both from Moscow, the National Science Foundation Award (USA) and the Special Medal for Inventors of the Soviet Union.

Memberships: Active member of the New York Academy of Sciences (since 1994), a Member Gemstone Standard Commission of Gemcore (USA), and a Member of Gemological Association of Russia

Professional Activities:

  • Scientific Secretary of the Collaboration Program of Socialistic Countries in Metal Complex Catalysis.
  • Scientific Secretary of VI and VII All-Union Conferences on Charge Transfer Complexes and Ion-Radical Salts (Chernogolovka).
  • Scientific Secretary of All-Union Conference on Platinom Metal Chemistry (Chernogolovka).
  • Vice-Chairman, Chairman of International Seminar on Metal Complex Catalysis.
  • First International Winter School on Catalysis (Leningrad and, Alma-Ata).

Interests: Synthesis of new materials and their application, crystal growth of synthetic materials (moissanite, diamond, etc.) and enhancement of precious gems


  1. maryb

    I would like to go on the tour to learn how to buy rough. My husband doesn’t facet, but will be with me. Do I have to pay for him also?

  2. steveclay

    The show this year was amazing all because of the faceters frolic. A really big thank you to Tom Mitchell for putting it all together. The information given and made available by the speakers was amazing. I`ve been to several of the frolics in the past and this year by far exceeded my expectations. And the company was great. Allot of talent in the room. And everyone open and sharing their materials and knowledge . And a very special thank you to old pueblo lapidary club for hosting this incredible show.

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