To my knowledge there are 6 companies currently producing faceting machines in the USA. They range in price from around $1200 to just under $5000.
They are as follows:
Graves Mark IV for around $1200
Graves Mark V their digital model for around $1700
Raytec Shaw for around $2000
Jersey Instruments Tom Thumb for around $1800
Jersey Instruments Patriot for around $2400
Facetron for around $2700
Polymetric for around $2000
Ultra Tec V5 which comes in analog for around $4800 and the digital for around $4950.
Regarding laps for beginners, I teach faceting and my recommended laps for beginners are either a lucite master lap ($13.00), or an aluminum master lap ($23.00) from Graves Lapidary, a 260 plated topper ($25.00) from Kingsley North, 325, 600, 1200 and 3000 grit D’Lite toppers laps ($55.00 each). Fro the beginner I recommend that they start to learn polishing with Ultra Laps. An assorted pack contains Cerium, Aluminum Oxide, Chromium, Tim Oxide Ultralaps ($16.00) or you can purchase packages of 5 each of these polishing media (between $9.00 and 18.00 per package) from Graves.
The reason that I recommend a 325 D’Lite lap in addition to your 260 plated lap is that the D’Lite lap will quickly remove the subsurface damage done by the 260 and leaves a very smooth surface, similar to a worn 600 plated lap. In fact all of the D’Lite laps produce surfaces that are nearly as fine as the next higher grit. For example the 600 D’Lite lap produces a surface comparable to a 1200 plated lap and the 1200 D’Lite lap produces a surface comparable to a 3000 plate lap. A lot of people start polish at this stage.
The reason I recommend the 3000 D’Lite lap is that I like to use it as a prepolish.
If the student funds that they enjoy this craft they might want to look into eventually replacing their Ultralaps with the following: a CeOx topper ($30.00), an A1 aluminum oxide topper ($30.00) and a natural topper ($25.00) from Lightning Lap. Lightning lap also has the D’Lite laps in 8000, 14000 and 50000 ($55.00 each).
Mitchell Jewelry Studio