Lots of who facet learned to make cabs first. Done properly it’s an
easy and quick process, if you are using the correct machinery and
have learned the skills properly.
Regarding faceting machines, I’ve been working with them since 1966
and I make a living faceting and repairing colored Rare is
the day I don’t turn out 2-3 stones, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Along the way I’ve owned eleven different faceting machines from six
Some of these had some serious problems, some manufacturers (or
vendors) are helpful, others less so. Conversations centered around
the “best machine” on the USFG group generally turn into “machine
wars”, but, IMO, most professionals seem to gravitate towards one or
two machines. Please keep in mind that years of familiarity with a
certain machine can sometimes allow one to really excel with that
machine, even though it may have what others deem “drawbacks”.
Then there is the money, but for those of us who do this as a
business, it all gets written off anyway, and the pleasure and speed
derived from a fine tool is without equal. Remember also, that an
accomplished artisan can do wonders with lesser tools, while a
beginner’s lack of acquired skills is not helped by a fine
instrument. (Leonid Surpin’s excellent remarks come to mind here.)
In the end, most professionals have experienced a few different
machines and we develop our own preferences. For the past six or
seven years, I have been using a Gem Master II from Fac-ette
Manufacturing. One of its unique features is that if you let go of
the quill, the quill, with stone attached, is balanced in such a way
that it the stone rises away from the lap. The lack of this feature
on my previous machine cost me in excess of $1800 when the quill
slipped from my hand allowing a beautiful piece of Afghan tourmaline
to strike the spinning lap and become three pieces. Never more!
This machine has a few other features unique to it that separate it
from other machines as well, including top-tier repeatability matched
by few, but it’s my choice and I won’t go back to ANY other machine.
For the hobbyist, there are quite a variety of excellent machines
available and it is my understanding that Fac-ette now has a less
expensive machine available that can be sequentially upgraded to be a
full Gem Master. This, IMO, would be an ideal situation.
I have had nothing but excellent support from Fac-ette, even while
the company went through some trying personnel changes and would not
hesitate to purchase this machine again.
The Gemcutter… "Bending Light Since 1975"