The process of cutting and polishing gems is called gem cutting or lapidary, while a person who cuts and polishes gems is called a gem cutter or a lapidary (sometimes lapidarist). Lapidary is the art of working in stone. It is required both art and science to understand the gemology.
Gemstone material that has not been extensively cut and polished is referred to generally as rough.
Below are high level steps to do gem cutting.
1. Starting from analysis of the gem before pre-shaping it into the shape needed. This is very important step as we need to understand the nature of each gemstone and ensure shaping to maximize the natural light of gem taking into account its color, clarity, and hardness. It is the step that have to determine where the table will sit and where the pavilion will be. In the meantime, we need to ensure minimize the lost of the rough stone to maximize our stone value.
2. Stick the gem on the dip stick using shellac to enable cutting process. Attach the wax to the end of your dop stick, and place the gem on to the top of the wax to attach it to the stick. Make sure your gem is oriented properly. The base of the gem, or what will become the mounted end, should be in the wax and the faceted surface should be exposed. Allow the wax to cool around the gem prior to grinding so it will stay on the stick.
3. This is where the real magic is performed. It is the process to facet the gem with proper degree of surface to ensure gemstones' appearance to best reflect the way of light from the surface. The grinding lap is removed from the machine and a faceting lap is now used which is a much finer lap primed with very fine diamond powder. The facets are placed on the stone at extremely precise angles. The timing and skill involved here are incredible. Angle, Index triangle to place each individual facet separately on the crown and pavilion. Height will control the depth to which each facet is cut, angle controls the plane on which the facets are cut and the index controls the placement of facets around the shape.
4. Polishing it to be shinned and maximize the gem luster. The material for polishing wheel could be lead, bronze, copper, tin or else. Also, the type of polishing powder could be carborundum, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, boron carbide, diamond), and the speed of the wheel all vary depending on the stone. This will buff your new gemstone until it sparkles and will help remove any grit or imperfections leftover by the faceting process.
5. The last process is polishing to remove the final traces of scratches on the surface to gain pure luster.
6. Measuring to ensure the proper size and ensure quality of the product.
7. Finishing with beautiful gem to be put on your ring !!
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