2024 Franklin Faceting Symposium

 The Franklin Faceting Symposium

Hosted by the United States Faceters Guild

July 25 – July 27, 2024

Hosted by the United States Faceters Guild, the 2024 Franklin Faceting Symposium will be July 25-27, 2024 at The Factory, located at 1024 Georgia Rd. in Franklin, NC.

We come together in Franklin in order to learn, to improve our skills, to spend money, or simply to mingle with those that share this love of faceting gemstones. Whatever your reason is, it is quite exciting to anticipate this year’s event, which marks our 17th annual gathering. Although there were some earlier get-togethers of a few faceters in a local area motel to chat about faceting or even set up machines and cut all day, the records definitely confirm that 2008 was our very first official gathering as a larger group in Franklin, and it was known at the time as the “Franklin Faceters Frolic.” We expect this year to be our best ever, and that is saying a lot, considering last year’s “best ever” turnout. The details, although not 100% complete, are taking shape and I am happy to announce the following vendors and attendees that will be on site for this year’s event. We do love our vendors and we thank them for their support.  Without them our event would not be possible, so llease do your part to thank them while you are in Franklin.

 Confirmed Vendors at this time are:

We have plans for some great hands-on opportunities throughout the show regarding dopping techniques, polishing techniques, the charging of metal laps, the use of copper laps, identifying what a competition finish is and how to see it, and there’s more. How would you like to take a tour through a very successful faceter’s workshop and see their complete set-up, with all of the bells and whistles? This in itself promises to stimulate your thinking and stretch your skills. Or how would you like to learn more about how light plays a very critical factor into the design of a successful faceted gemstone? Well, these are just two of the several planned activities and key learnings that will be available during the event. And attendance is absolutely FREE and parking is absolutley FREE. It just doesn’t get better than that.

In addition, and just as in years past, there will be an opportunity for you to buy tickets for a chance or chances to win some very nice prizes that any faceter would love to have in their toolbox.  I hear everything from transfer fixtures, to dops. to laps, to books, could be in that selection; so you won’t want to miss out on that opportunity. Below are two of our previous winners from years past.

Joining us again this year will be Gerry Boykin and Larry Mattos.  Both of these gentlemen have a wealth of knowledge regarding concave faceting and fantasy cutting techniques. They will have their UltraTec machines on hand as they demonstrate and answer your questions. Larry will also be sharing a presentation on Concave / Fantasy Faceting.

I am excited to welcome back both Robert Rubin and Robert Mendoza from UltraTec, as they will be in the house again. UltraTec Faceting equipment now has 59 years of excellence, offering assured accuracy and assured repeatability with their Made in the USA products. Both look forward to meeting you and answering your questions about their line-up. Welcome back to Franklin Robert & Robert!

I am also excited and happy to welcome Wyatt Yeager to Franklin. Wyatt will be representing Facetron and Gem Master faceting equipment, and I know he will be happy to answer your questions regarding his line-up. I am also told that there will be some Facetron parts available. In any case, welcome to Franklin, Wyatt.

Returning to Franklin this year after a number years is Peter Torraca, a western NY based colored gemstone faceter and gemologist. Peter, who is enamored with classic gemstones designs, focuses on precision cutting and repair of colored gemstone varieties generally used in the jewelry trade. “Precision cutting” means faceting stones to a significantly higher symmetry, polish and optical performance standard than is commonly seen in the jewelry trade. Peter has been cutting gemstones professionally since 2007 and has been involved in the jewelry trade since the late 1980’s. Peter is a GIA Gradute Gemologist with wide experience from basic gemstone identification in the home office to identifying rough gemstones on location in East Africa. And his skills go further than simple identification: Peter’s experience as an accomplished gem cutter helps him “read” the stone for internal issues that may change with the stress of cutting and/or mounting a stone. This combination of gemological knowledge and practical cutting experience is used to help safeguard his clients from misidentified gems and/or risky stones that may be compromised in mounting or use. You won’t want to miss seeing and hearing from Peter!

Also joining us this year via Zoom will be Mark Oros.  Mark is quite a success story when it comes to turning a hobby into a thriving business, and he will be sharing a great deal of information. Mark is also an accomplished writer, with numerous articles published in Rock and Gem Magazine. You won’t want to miss Mark.

Joining us again this year will be Tom Mitchell, as he will be teaching a faceting class the first two days of the event on Thursday and Friday. Last year’s class was  successful, and there have been numerous requests to repeat it again. There will  be room for 6 participants to take this class, and they will need to provide their own machine, light, and equipment.  If you are interested in taking the class, here is what you need to know now. The registration fee for the class is  $125 for USFG Members, and $150 for non-members. If you aren’t a member, it just makes sense to join. At $18 per year for membership, there is a plethora of information on the website, and that in itself is a deal.  Again, participation in the class is limited. There will be a separate posting made on the USFG Facebook page announcing the class. So, please be on the lookout for that announcement later this month. Once that announcement goes out, the first 6 to respond will be our participants.  Each will have a week to send in their fee for the class, and if for some reason they don’t, the slot will go to the next person that responded. In addition, if you don’t get in, don’t be totally disappointed as there could be an opportunity to audit the class. More information will be forthcoming.

As in years past, there will be a Pizza Party/Prettiest Stone contest on Friday evening. You will be able to enter a stone in each of the three categories:  Natural, Synthetic/Man-made, and Fantasy/Concave.  Winners in each category will receive a gift certificate for their use only at the show at the vendor of their choice. And yes, there will be free door prizes given away during the event. Below are two of our previous winners from years past, as well as several of our participants choosing the stone that they were going to vote for.

I would share that we are still quite busy tweaking our schedule of presentations and events. We still have numerous opportunities for those who have an interest in participating, and/or supporting this event, so please reach out to me, Doug Augspurger via email Daugspur@bellsouth.net and I will do my best to connect with you directly. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in Franklin.