Forums Article Discussion Size and competition

  • Size and competition

    Posted by scottwkelley on April 13, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I am at a spot where the stone size being asked for of 10 mm is going to hurt. I have no rough to meet this. My sizes are small and large. Why do we have a size restrictions when I see the IFC doesn’t care. It’s all about the cut. Clarity is important in our competition but doesn’t seem to be judged. So why is size. I cut to get the most out of my rough and it is killing me to sacrifice material to meet a requirement of size. The stone predicts so much to what can be done. I understand I can cut glass but that is not what I work with. Anyone else feel restricted by set sizes? If that is the case maybe we need a competition to creating two identical cuts and size for those ear pieces. I find that to be a challenge when dealing with natural rough.

    scottwkelley replied 6 years, 5 months ago 6 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • Alan Balmer

    April 13, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Scott, the ability to cut to a precise size is one of the skills being tested by the competition. As noted, there’s no requirement to use expensive material. This year’s competition does call for topaz, a relatively inexpensive material, for one stone, but the others are synthetics.

  • gemmakermz

    June 7, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Scott, Alan i can see the ruling for meeting size, this is a jeweler standardizing. but today we are talking amateur and pro faceting. i worked for pacific test specialties/ crystalite whom pioneered the plated diamond metal bonded lap, this was during the 70’s and the faceting took off like a bullet. it is kind of fading out now do to the high prices of the machines and availability of good material. i teach faceting for free and after teaching some one to cut a standard cut i then tell them to cut the stones to what the stone dictates from its structure. size doesn’t matter. you can go to any jewelry trades supply place and buy their standard poor cut sized stones cheap, I’ve done so. its the none standardized stones that are of value. a custom cut stone with an appropriate mounting is far more valuable. and the material is terrible out there. in 70’s i got material you cant get now unless you own a bank. i believe new adjustments to cutting rules may be warranted. being able to work with flaws and skillfully hiding them etc.. to me its the skill of getting out of a stone the most, impressive possible and cleanest possible, stone you can get and getting exotic cuts is included. ya Scott i cut for max size too. I’ve cut some outrageous stones too. i like sharing with other faceters trick that many don’t know and I’m not interested in trophies and titles. I’ve been cutting since 1965 and now, at soon to be 77, I’m still at it and teaching. i’m noted only in small private circles. i can only say if your not comfortable with the rules then DO YOUR OWN THING and ENJOY the art of faceting, that’s what its about.

  • Alan Balmer

    June 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Sorry, but we’re not talking about cutting for jewelry, we’re taking about a competition which tests the skills of the cutter. It’s for those who are interested in trophies and titles. Precision sizing, precise meetpoints on complex designs, and superb polish are the name of the game. Jewelers are satisfied with stones which wouldn’t do well in the Novice competition.

    In a figure skating competition, it’s not enough to get from one end of the rink to the other without falling down.

  • tucsonbear

    September 4, 2017 at 1:11 am

    I have to agree with Alan. I have cut both ways. Imagine a customer brings in a piece of jewelry with a broken or chipped stone, and wants a replacement stone. It’s an heirloom piece from great gramma, and they don’t want the setting changed.

    I also cut to max size, and make jewelry to fit the stone, but being able to cut to a calibrated size is still important.

  • tucsonbear

    September 4, 2017 at 1:19 am

    One place I might disagree with competition stone rules is in girdle thickness. I have chipped a few stones in the past while setting them, and consequently, my preference is for thicker girdles. That’s just me.

  • Joseph Jucha

    September 27, 2017 at 2:24 am

    I thought the girdle was a bit thin too, but I happened upon a jewler recently and he was tickled it was so thin, he was far more worried about weakening the prongs. So I happily stand corrected and make them the way he wants ’em.

  • michaelnoetzel

    January 21, 2018 at 11:28 am

    I don’t have a problem with the 10-12 mm size range myself. I agree it may be a waste of material which does in fact sting but for me the bigger picture is the importance of the competition. I will buy a piece that is appropriate for the competition and have always been glad to see that they most often let you use lab created material which will keep the cost of clean material down.

    I do have an issue with the choice of materials to a degree. Last year I had to find a spinel which I had never cut before. I was able to locate a single piece of it on Ebay and it was heavilly cracked. I was barely able to extract one piece from that boule which would fit the sizing requirements but I guess that that is part of the challenge itself: how to cut around bad rough.

    The issue of girdle thickness is something that would bother me if I were to use a competition stone in a setting but the .3mm thickness requirement is set to test a cutter’s abilities. These stones are not meant to be used for jewelry, they are meant to test you.

  • Alan Balmer

    January 21, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    “Last year I had to find a spinel which I had never cut before. I was able to locate a single piece of it on Ebay and it was heavilly cracked”

    The 2017 pre-master? It called for synthetic spinel, which is quite inexpensive and readily available.

  • michaelnoetzel

    January 22, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Alan:

    Yes, it called for synthetic spinel which I have never purchased before and initially had no source. I was able to use the one piece I found but made a connection through Alibaba and ordered several boules in case my 1st piece got messed up.

    I have a bunch of quarts, CZ, and corrundrum on hand and am just hoping they don’t choose topaz for the Master category. Trying to go with different colors in each entry. So I have orangr and blue ones done. Would like to do one in red, purple, or green this year.

  • scottwkelley

    January 22, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    First, so sorry for the delay in response and thank you all for your advice that I highly appreciate.
    I have been reading since this post but was not able to respond due to my lack of technological achievements with web browsers and cookies, but none the less I want to report to what I have learned since.
    You all are right and I find the competition to be that higher grade of achievement.
    I will be looking at spinel through the facetshoppe and get some extra rough. Some of the man made stuff looks like fun and the girls will love it, they like sparkle ya know!
    I have been cutting my gemstones to size these days that will fit a piece of jewelry I get from Rio Grand, of coarse I go for size always for the largest yield but at the same time deal with inclusions on the real stuff.
    I made novice this year and am happy and am looking forward to pre-master. I have been practicing a bit and feel confident for this next competition. As I saw with Dan Lynch success does not come easy going for master, and he is good. I got a lesson this year with Roger Deyer at our Mid-West Faceters Annual seminar, what a treat that was.
    Size to fit or size for a special setting, no matter what, size does matter, cut matters, clarity matters and one of a kind matters.
    This is a topaz rough that Marsh from Lightning Laps sent me, 9mm pear set for my daughter Izzy for her birthday.

Log in to reply.