Forums General Discussion Just the basics…

4 replies, 3 voices Last updated by Allan Beck 2 years ago
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    Allan Beck

    Hey, Guys and Gals!

    This past weekend I demo’d faceting at a local gem show. Actually got 3 pieces done start to finish, lots of kids and others watching, had GemCad and GemRay up on a monitor showing the design I was working on, even rendered in the right color… Gave out business cards with USFG purposes and site info on it, even met Carl Unruh’s nephew who is a faceter…

    The most often asked questions, from folks interested:

    1) “What new machines are currently available?” – I know Facetron and Ultratec – any others? Current prices?

    2) for folks who already have a new machine collecting dust (mostly Facetron here) – “What are the bare minimum in laps I need to get started?” – money conscious folks – I was thinking a 260 topper, 600 and/or 1200 (topper adhered to a base?), then Batt/50K, lucite/CeOx. No flame wars here please, but what do you think? I have been doing this so long I have LOTS OF LAPS, so I am a little out of touch with basic beginning!!! These folks don’t need to be playing with multiple loose diamond grits yet…

    I have another gig next week – could do a third show if I was a glutton, but a two show tour is fine for now… I just want to be able to put info on convenient business cards…

    You must be logged in to view attached files.


    I am new and started polishing cabs a year ago and picked up a lap machine from Inland, 8″ 180,360,600,1200,cut saw blade and polish felt pads and master acrylic lap for around $500. The quality of the laps are good and I was able to use them on my new Facetron from that I purchased from Jarvis Machine for just under $3000 delivered. I have also purchased sets of polishing films. I have found that Inland, Facetron and the Rock Peddler to be great places for the adventurist to get started. All I can say is I am having a great time learning and creating things of beauty from the earths rough and trade my work or give it away. It is my choice and the joy of it that I get from it is mind blowing. Right now I am working on the novice single stone, perfection is not as easy as one two three either.


    Allan Beck

    Just got done with the second week of faceting at local rock and gem shows. I think I survived!

    Was able to cut around one gem per day (5 over 4 days) between questions from faceters, hoping to be faceters, and general public, along with lessons to two beginners that I helped with.

    Finished up with a cut 13+ mm lemon quartz in Marco Voltolini’s Soccer Dome.

    I made up several business card sized information cards to give out. I will see if there is a place for posting the files for you all to use if helpful.

    You must be logged in to view attached files.

    Tom Mitchell


    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).

    Tom Mitchell
    Mitchell Jewelry Studio


    Allan Beck

    Time warp – 4 1/2 years later…

    Tom, thank you for your reply – I lost my a computer just after the 2016 post and finally came back around…

    I will check in to the D’Lite laps!


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