Monday, August 07, 2006

Gem cutting musings

I've been conversing with Gene over at Precision Gem getting some help with my faceting issues. It all started with a smokey quarts that I spent hours and HOURS cutting and then recutting only to be disappointed at the end.

The middle part just comes out dark and lifeless. Turns out the cutting diagram I'm using is really old (1969) and as Gene puts it: Um, there have been some advances in diagrams over the years...
I think with each pass in conversation he's slowly getting more and more mortified of my faceting set up. Yes, I'm the 5th owner of a discontinued RayTech Shaw machine. Yes, I'm cutting stones out of an Ebay "Beginner's Goodie Bag." It's true that the motor is held together with duct tape and a hair band. INdeed, I'm preshaping the stones with a hammer and pick instead of a state of the art diamong saw. Oh, and my actual faceting table is a TV dinner tray...but hey, I only spent $700 for the entire set up, laps included versus thousand and thousand's of dollars.

Gene's only mildly mortified of my choice of faceting material, but hey, the Ebay goodie bag was a dollar. I've also been cutting crystal tips dug up out of dirt from Arkansas. Can you belive they call quarts "Arkansas Diamond?" Good grief!

He also directed me to software...yes software! To help me determine better cutting angles. I really feel like I'm in the dark ages now.

So, here's the conundrum---spend money on faceting rough to cut more gemstones or spend money on an upgraded torch to make prettier beads? As my dad (and various cousins) would be quick to point out, I could do neither and just save the money, but hell, what's the use of having money when you can't spend it. Eh? Aye?


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