Software for lapidary design

To the tech-savvy Orchidians out there:

I’ve been using basic Rhino for a few years, but haven’t used any
plug-ins, not even rendering programs. I know that many of you are
much more knowledgeable than I about software, so I’m hoping you’ll
have some advice for me.

What specific program (or Rhino plug-in) would you recommend for
gemstones and custom lapidary designs. I would especially like to see
realistic colors and realistic reflections if there’s anything out
there that has that facility.

Thanks in advance.

What specific program (or Rhino plug-in) would you recommend for
gemstones and custom lapidary designs. 

Have you been on the GemologyOnline forum? The lapidary section
there has an on-going topic titled “Virtual Lapidarists”. You’ll find
a lot of expertise there. Join the forum or just read the topic at

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY

I don’t know about plug-ins for Rhino but, faceters often use
GemRay. I’m about ready to start using it as part of a faceting class
so, I don’t have experience yet. It is a companion to GemCad and will
show the light traces, loss, and reflection of most varieties of
stones, colors, and cuts. It will show the stone moving/tilting back
and forth in light.


GemCad is a good way to go.


Several plug-ins are available for Rhino. For example, Rhino Gold
contains plug-ins that would include stone building. Jewel Tools,
another plug-in also has some capabilities. Of course, Matrix, which
"rides on" Rhino has many capabilities for creating stones and
modeling jewelry. It also comes with V-Ray rendering, which is a very
good rendering program that may also be purchased separately as a
Rhino plug-in.

Another excellent jewelry CAD program is 3Design. It comes with a
custom stone builder that will allow for both cabochon and faceted
stone modeling. Additionally, it has superb tools for creating
settings for pave’, channels, prongs, bezels, etc. 3Design also has a
rendering program that includes templates for backgrounds, lighting
effects and environments. Not only that but, your model, including
stones, is displayed in real time in the materials of your choice
while you model! It is a pleasure to work with.

I hope this helps!