Custom Gem Cutting Process

 
Rough Aquamarine

In this case the rough material is a piece of Mozambique aquamarine. First a flat spot is ground into the rough stone to provide a surface to attach the dop (brass stick in the photo). The stone is attached with either wax or glue.

Rough Aquamarine

The dop with the attached stone is then inserted and locked into the quill on the faceting head. A series of facets or cuts are then rough cut into the gem surface. This gives the pavillion its basic shape. The same factes are then re-cut using a fine lap (the wheel in the photo).

Rough Aquamarine

In this photo the pavillion has been fine cut and is ready for polishing.

Rough Aquamarine

This photo shows the polishing lap which is smooth and a softer metal, usually tin, zinc or copper. In this case the lap is charged with cerium oxide polish, harder stones are polished with diamond

Rough Aquamarine

The polished pavillion and girdle. In the next step, the girdle will mostly be cut away to form the crown or top of the stone. You can now see throught the stone (the bubbles are glue).

Rough Aquamarine

The dopped stone is placed into a transfer jig with a new cone dop facing the pavillion of the stone. The cone of the new dop is filled with epoxy. The two dops are precisely aligned and then pushed together. When dry, the old dop is removed using gentle heat leaving the exposed crown ready for cutting.

Rough Aquamarine

The crown in this photo has been rough cut, fine cut, and is ready for polish. A table is then cut on the top of the crown.

Rough Aquamarine

The final result! A custom cut gem of the highest quality.

This has been a simplified explanation of custom gemstone cutting and is not intended as a tutorial.