Forums General Discussion Oldest Gem Design Challenge

29 replies, 11 voices Last updated by peter 3 years, 9 months ago
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    • #3963

      JTheesfeld
      Participant
      @JTheesfeld

      Fellow USFG Members,

      As the newly appointed USFG Historian, I would like to introduce a history related challenge.

      I am challenging all members to identify the “Oldest Documented Gem Design” they can find in any historical record. The goal of this challenge is to develop a story for the newsletter, which will result in the re-design of several of the oldest gem designs into GemCad format, such that he “winners” can be shared with the entire USFG faceting community. I will start off with an example, then I challenge anyone to beat the latest design. Any earlier design should contain as much info as can be found; Name of design, the designer, source location, known age of design, facet angles, etc. (Not just a picture/line drawing)

      Lets start by saying that until the end of March, for the next 5 weeks, you can’t beat the latest entry by any more than 100 years, then, in April, we can go as early as possible. Let’s try and complete this challenge by the end of April, OK? The winning 3 entries will get their names included in the next newsletter.

      Share this challenge with all your friends and fellow faceters, please. Let’s get some fun in the history of gem cutting!

      I will include my beginning entry, which should be easy to beat, at first.

      Jeff Theesfeld

    • #3964

      JTheesfeld
      Participant
      @JTheesfeld

      Design 29-2, October 1967
      Long and Steel?
      Seattle Facetor Design Newsletters, 1967
      USFG Link from Library…look up top of this page.

      https://usfacetersguild.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/October-1967-Design-29-2.pdf

      Jeff Theesfeld:
      Come On….You guys and gals can beat this easily!!!!!

    • #3974

      bruceargall
      Participant
      @bruceargall

      You may find the recent aticle from the International Gem Society site. The artical is the History of Lapidary and was written by Dr. Gerald Wykoff.

      He shows a progression from
      point cut
      table cut
      Old Single cut
      Sancy Cut
      Apex Cut
      Rose Cut
      Mazarin cut.
      Old European cut

      I don’t know what you expect, but the oldest designs seem very simple. and probably evolved from the crystal shape of a diamond. The crude methods available for cutting and shaping were so labor intensive that cutters wanted to remove a minimum material.

      Also, there doesn’t seem to be much documentation until the 1400’s. When a Louis de Berquen developed technology and the “Sancy design”. This seems to have been a critical design where break facets and the design of the pavillion became important.

      This history is really the story of diamond cutting. Not much attention is paid to colored stones. I don’t know if there is a separate evolution for colored gems or not.

      I’m cutting replicas (from clear quartz) which has already lead to some unexpected results due to the large difference in diffraction.

      There is a story here, and a lot to be learned, but, I am not sure of what you expect to see.

    • #3980

      Prior to the 1400s, the designs were highly proprietary and undocumented to avoid competition. You are going to have a problem going further back than the “Sancy design”. If some of the Jewish gem cutters created notebooks that were passed down and now published, you might go back into Spain a bit older. Does anyone know of these types or records?

      Dennis Anderson in sunny Southern California

    • #4017

      JTheesfeld
      Participant
      @JTheesfeld

      There are many available books and articles about the history of faceting. Very few of these resources give actual, cuttable gem designs. That is, they lack detail like index settings, degrees, and a history of who designed the actual gem. That is the sort of history I am challenging people to find.
      For example, I would like people to research and find where the original design for the Sancy exists, not just that the Sancy design does exist. Where is the source for how to cut the Sancy? How old is it, who designed it, etc. That is the challenge.
      A few more hints; http://www.facetdiagrams.org What is the oldest design in that collection? What is the oldest design in Robert Long’s notebooks? What is the oldest documented Marcel Tolkowsky design and when was the SRB design available? Is the design for the Florentine available? Are any of the designs from Jean-Baptist Tavernier’s Travels in India available, like the Great Mogul, or the Tavernier Blue?
      Actual cuttable gem designs are what I am looking for in this challenge. What is the oldest? Good luck!

    • #4028

      QuailRiver
      Participant
      @QuailRiver

      When republishing any old faceting diagrams which have previously been published within the last 120 years, IMO we (the USFG) should be mindful of copyrights.

      Larry Cashatt

    • #4032

      michaelnoetzel
      Participant
      @michaelnoetzel

      Great idea! I don’t have any historic designs to offer but am recently intrigued by faceting history and will be following this post as well as looking forward to the newsletter article.

    • #4245

      mike-otoole
      Participant
      @mike.otoole

      Not sure if this is what you are looking for but there is an article in the November 1961 Lapidary Journal called “How to Cut the Sancy Replica” There was a series from April 1960 through November 1963 on how to cut replicas of many famous diamonds.

      This is the listing that I have compiled to date. 🙂

      Number Article Name Date Page
      1 How to Cut the Cullinan I Replica 1960 – April 38
      2
      3
      4
      5
      6
      7 How to Cut the Florentine Replica 1961- Apr
      8
      9 How to Cut the Sancy Replica 1961 – Nov 452
      10 How to Cut the Cullinan II Replica 1961 – Dec 566
      11 How to Cut the Nassak Replica 1962 – Feb 610
      12 How to Cut the Dresden Green Replica 1962 – Apr
      13 How to Cut the Cullinan VI Replica 1962 – May 260
      14 How to Cut the Star of the South Replica 1962 – Jun 359
      15 How to Cut the Orloff Replica 1962 – July 442
      16 How to Cut the Empress Eugenie Replica 1962 – Aug 492
      17 How to Cut the “English Dresden” Replica 1962 – Sep 582
      18 How to Cut the “Cullinan III” Replica 1962 – Oct 678
      19 How to Cut the “Stewart” Replica 1962 – Nov 780
      20 How to Cut the “Pasha of Egypt” Replica 1962 – Dec 880
      21 How to Cut the “Jonker” Replica 1963 – Jan 946
      22 How to Cut the “Piggot” Replica 1963 – Feb 1032
      23 How to Cut the “Tiffany” Replica 1963 – March 1130
      24 How to Cut the “Victoria” Replica 1963 – April 14
      25 How to Cut the “Cullinan V” Replica 1963 – May 302
      26 How to Cut the “Polar Star” Replica 1963 – Jun 378
      27 How to Cut the “Shah” Replica 1963 – July 471
      28 How to cut the “Cullinan IV” Replica 1963 – August 539
      29 How to cut the “Cullinan VII” Replica 1963 – September 651
      30 How to cut the “Cullinan VIII” Replica 1963 – October 716
      31 How to cut the “Cullinan IX” Replica 1963 – October 717
      32 How to Cut the “Dudley” Replica 1963 – November 824

    • #4248

      JTheesfeld
      Participant
      @JTheesfeld

      Do you have a link, or a copy of this Sancy replica design from 1961? Even older would be the Cullinan I from April 1960, right? If so, could you share this?

      Is there anywhere online where these old Lapidary Journals can be found?

      The effort in exploring and locating old designs is the treasure of this challenge.

    • #4251

      mike-otoole
      Participant
      @mike.otoole

      Unfortunately I have not been able to find them online, likely due to copyright concerns. I have been collecting old issues of lapidary magazines for some time and recently have been scanning them into PDF format for my personal and educational use. This also has the added benefit of reducing the fire hazard from all the old paper. 🙂

      I will extract the pages of the article and attach for you to use for educational purposes.

      Thanks,

      Mike

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    • #4302

      JTheesfeld
      Participant
      @JTheesfeld

      This is the oldest design identified so far.

      Cullinan I Replica, from Lapidary Journal, April 1960
      See above attachment

    • #4450

      JTheesfeld
      Participant
      @JTheesfeld

      So here is a fun one. If you look into http://www.facetdiagrams.org, and you narrow your search by year, I think you will see that the oldest design found, is a design listed from 1944. It is 01.229, Goldstein Round. The design itself states that it was from “Goldstein, Edward; Off P Gazette, 1 Feb 44, p160” The Off P Gazette is short for Official Gazette for Patents, and if you follow the link provided and go to page 160, you will see this design.
      https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89047003603;view=1up;seq=172
      So if this counts for 01, Feb 1944, that would be the oldest yet. It is actually fun to search for older faceting designs on this Off P Gazette website. I’ll bet there were some very interesting historical events surrounding early facet designs, and their patents. I’ll count this design because I know of several older designs, and I still challenge USFG members to search for older designs.

    • #4689

      Justin Prim
      Participant
      @justinprim

      Hi JTheesfeld. I just saw this thread and it perked my interest because I have been going through old faceting designs from the Renaissance times and making gem cad diagrams of them. Some of them are really really interesting and complex. I’m not ready to share any yet because I plan to publish them in a book I’m working on about the history of colored stone faceting. I recommend checking out this book if you can find it in a library. It has lots of drawings of renaissance stones:

      I recently purchased the first 10 years of lapidary journal and I scanned the first issue and uploaded it for all to see. I have a website going called http://www.facetinghistory.com and you can find it in the Resources section.

      Unfortunately they don’t post any diagrams until 1949 but I have uploaded that one here for you. Eventually I would like to digitize my whole collection to PDF to share online but that will take a long time !

      Also let me know if you find any interesting stuff as historian or if you need and help or suggestion. I am full of them and happy to meet another historian!

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    • #4692

      Justin Prim
      Participant
      @justinprim

      whoops, forgot page 1

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    • #4708

      Justin Prim
      Participant
      @justinprim

      I found another source for you. Also 1949, in a soft cover book I have that I didn’t realize was so old.

      The Book of Gems Vol 1 from MDR.

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    • #4720

      JTheesfeld
      Participant
      @JTheesfeld

      Justin,

      I am amazed at the efforts you are putting into documenting excellent faceting history! Your series of web pages are most valuable…please keep up the great work!

      A link on your own website to the following publication, might produce the oldest documented gem design I have found to date. It is:

      http://www.folds.net/diamond_design/index.html

      Diamond Design
      A Study of the Reflection and Refraction of Light in a Diamond
      by Marcel Tolkowsky, B.Sc., A.C.G.I.
      with 37 illustrations

      E. & F. N. Spon logo
      London: E. & F. N. Spon, Ltd., 57 Haymarket, S.W. 1
      New York: Spon & Chamberlain, 120 Liberty Street
      1919

      Contained in this document, by Marcel Tolkowski, are diagrams of an SRB with very specific, although somewhat complicated, angles for faceting. I would consider this a complete, documented design, dated 1919. This entire Diamond Design Study is completely fascinating to anyone interested in seeing the details of how Marcel Tolkowski worked out the proper design for an SRB.

    • #4834

      Justin Prim
      Participant
      @justinprim

      Jeff, I didn’t know if Tolkowsky counted since it’s not necessarily laid out like a faceting diagram. You are correct though he does give images and angles. Speaking of diamond design, have you read American Cut: The first 100 years? I just read it and its a fun and historical read about the creation of the modern SRB and all the steps it went through before Tolkowsky and after.

      Glad you enjoyed my website. It’s a great way for me to stay organized in my research while also being able to share my findings with others. I have been in deep research mode for a bit over a year and it’s pretty incredible what’s out there to be found if you can figure out where to look.

    • #4896

      gailbumala
      Participant
      @gailbumala

      Has anyone checked in with Scott Sucher? While he has re-created the famous old diamonds-he may have run across what you’re looking for.

    • #4899

      JTheesfeld
      Participant
      @JTheesfeld

      Gail,

      Yes, Scott and I have discussed this many times. Scott’s replica research comes from many sources, mostly old images, one line diagrams, and whenever possible, actual inspection of the gems. Rarely are full designs available, and his replica techniques are amazingly complex, in order to get exact facet layouts. There are many old gems, but old designs are very rare. We still have not found an actual design with diagram, index settings and angles over 100 years old. This is mostly because complete designs evolved along with technology, and faceting technology is relatively recent. Have you, or anyone else, found anything earlier. If so, I would love to know about it.

      I do encourage everyone to visit Scott’s websites at
      http://www.museumdiamonds.com
      and his new site at
      http://www.scottthestonecutter.com

      There is so much to learn from Scott’s efforts!

    • #6743

      peter
      Participant
      @Peter

      Hello,
      I`m new here.
      I`m a hobby gemstone cutter from the Netherlands.
      I`m looking for the 9 faceting designs of the Cullinan, I wan to cut then out of glass for myself.
      Maybe somebody can help me to find them.
      Greetings Peter.

    • #6744

      JTheesfeld
      Participant
      @JTheesfeld

      Available via an open internet search.
      All 9 Cullinan designs are available in this document, and much more. Historical Texas Faceters Guild project.

      http://texas-topaz.com/files/diamonds/Diamond_Replica_Project_final.pdf

    • #6745

      peter
      Participant
      @Peter

      wow, thank you, now I can hobby, thank again.

    • #6789

      mr-john
      Participant
      @Mr.John

      Can someone help me understand how it’s now okay to reproduce (by taking pictures) copyrighted material and publish it online for all to have?

    • #6790

      Justin Prim
      Participant
      @justinprim

      Anything before 1923 if outside of copyright and free for public use. Same goes for anything 70 years after the authors death.

      For rare and out of print books I personally think that sharing a page or even a useful chapter online is no problem as access to information overrules Whatever other issues you might have. Of course if the author is alive and trying to sell books that’s a different story but since this thread is referencing very old things I don’t think we have to worry about that.

    • #6791

      mr-john
      Participant
      @Mr.John

      Lapidary Journal is still in publication. Can I take a photo of an article in last month’s issue and post it without infringing on their copyright? Last year’s articles? Something from 1960?

      Are there laws, or are we allowed to draw lines by rationalizing that our good intent makes it okay?

      I’m not picking a fight, you can see by some of my past posts that I’m genuinely curious about how and where we draw the line. For example, facetdiagrams.org contains thousands of designs, most of which aren’t available even though the designers are long gone, or at the very least aren’t looking to make money from the design. That seems a bit ridiculous.

      Fred W. Van Sant published several design volumes, Star Cuts. My understanding is that Jeff Graham purchased the copyright to Van Sant’s material. Graham’s estate still sells his books via SilverSupplies.com, but they don’t sell Van Sant’s books. With Fred and Jeff no longer living and Fred’s books no longer being sold (I can’t find them), are we free to now share his designs?

    • #6792

      Justin Prim
      Participant
      @justinprim

      Both of the examples you gave are people that died in the last 30 or so years. Their (published) work is still legally under copyright. 70 years after they die, by US law as far as I know it, it goes into public domain. That doesn’t mean people can’t still sell it but that’s why you see tons of old pre 1940s books badly reprinted and sold on amazon as cheap, in-demand paperbacks.

      I’m not sure that faceting diagrams that haven’t been formally published in a book or magazine fall into protection at all. I doubt it, as there is no way to prove the date of authorship.

      Lapidary journal is a different story. The company that put out the first 50 years of issues no longer exists and the magazine was purchased by a new company. I’m currently talking to them about sharing early issues that I have. Since they don’t have them and don’t seem to care about them I hope they will allow it.

      That’s the law. Moral issue is a different thing and it’s obvious you and I don’t agree on it so there’s no point in discussing it. For me, as a historian and academic researcher, it’s essential that I am able to have unrestricted access to prior written works. I appreciate libraries and archive.org for making this so much easier but in the case where there are very limited copies of certain books or they only exist in inaccessible collections, what else is one supposed to do?

      As a side note, considering all the other atrocities going on in the world, isn’t there a more constructive battle we should be putting our energies into?

    • #6793

      Justin Prim
      Participant
      @justinprim

      Actually after rereading your post, yes, I totally agree with you. I think we should definitely have open access to all the old diagramS of Faceters who are long dead. Why not? Would those authors want them to be inaccessible after all the work? No one is taking care of them and they’re getting passed around in private circles anyway. Unleash the flood gates and let us learn from our elders triumphs and past mistakes !

    • #6794

      Alan Balmer
      Keymaster
      @alanbalmer

      I’m not sure that faceting diagrams that haven’t been formally published in a book or magazine fall into protection at all. I doubt it, as there is no way to prove the date of authorship.

      Not true. Copyright exists from the moment a work is put in tangible form. If you think a work is past copyright and are challenged, it’s up to you to prove the age, not the copyright holder.

      it’s essential that I am able to have unrestricted access to prior written works.

      Are you confusing distribution and access? Nothing prevents you from having access to any work you can find, and even publishing bits of it under the fair use rules.

      I think we should definitely have open access to all the old diagramS of Faceters who are long dead. Why not?

      The authors may be dead, but their estates still exist. Do you think your home should become public domain after you die?

    • #6815

      Justin Prim
      Participant
      @justinprim

      A while back, Jeff Theefield posed a challenge to find the oldest faceting design and today I think I have discovered it. In 1850, Charles Holzapffel published the book Turning and Mechanical Manipulation in London. While dissecting his chapter on cutting facets, I discovered that not only did he have a powerful impact on the faceting technology that would later be developed in America but also that he left precise faceting instructions with angles and indices for a 96 index handpiece. I have taken his drawings and written instructions and turned them into a modern diagram that I would like to share with everyone today.
      Before 1820, no one was cutting with specific angle numbers and for sure no one was cutting with an index gear. It’s possible there could be an older record of precise index-based instructions from the 1820s in Geneva but I feel pretty confident that these instructions from London are the oldest. Enjoy and if you cut it, let me know. I’d love to see what it looks like.

      Also, fun historical fact… The instructions that he wrote in the 1850 book were meant to be cut on this Goniostat “handpiece”, a tool that was made for making precision lathe tools, but that he adapted to facet cutting. You can see what it looks like here:
      Exquisite EVANS Goniostat – 69252

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    • #6819

      peter
      Participant
      @Peter

      Nice, the older the better.
      Hello JTheefeld for some reason I can not open my message.

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