How do I Cut & Polish Stone With a Gem Machine?

Written by kenneth w. michael wills
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How do I Cut & Polish Stone With a Gem Machine?
Cutting and polishing a stone with a gem machine requires precision. (pink gem like stone image by Sean Arenas from

Cutting and polishing stones is a precise process, involving a honed skill on the part of the artisan. The purpose of cutting the stone precisely is to bring out the unique qualities of that particular stone. To accomplish precision cuts with a gem machine usually involves a range of techniques to include grinding, sanding, tumbling, polishing, and sawing. Typically, a gem-cutter will use a diamond in the gem machine to make cuts and progressively finer abrasions, while a gem-cutter will use such compounds as tin oxide to polish the stone.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Practice stones, such as marbles, for cutting
  • Gem machine or stone cutter
  • Lap
  • Loupe
  • Faceting saw
  • Tweezers

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  1. 1

    Study the precise methods of cutting and polishing gemstones, to learn more about the techniques required to bring out the qualities of your stone. The best place to find a well-grounded education is with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), providing a list of GIA accredited schools. Cutting and polishing stones involves an acquired skill, honed with guidance from experts, coupled with practice. Taking classes will teach you the proper methods, while helping you discern the best techniques for individual stones.

  2. 2

    Decide what kind of cut you need to make in the stone. Depending on the type of machines you utilise, you may need to cut, saw, grind, or sand the stone or use a combination of cuts and machines to achieve the targeted clarity of the stone. Set up your gem machines to make the type of cuts you need to make by referring to your users' manual for the exact instruction pertaining to your model.

  3. 3

    Discern the shape or style of the stone your want to produce. Popular cuts include princess, brilliant, and emerald to name a few. Each style will provide a particular quality, such as brilliant provides for a glimmering appearance from all angles when the stone is viewed.

  4. 4

    Cut your stone into the style you chose by using the predetermined cuts, adhering to the instructions provided in the user's manual for your machine. For example,for a transparent stone, you may want to use a faceting machine with a rotating lap, while a solid stone may call for the use of a machine that incorporates a sawing method.

  5. 5

    Polish your stone by employing a metal oxide, such as tin oxide, to remove all marks and scratches caused during cutting and to help rid the stone of any small imperfections. Once polished, you stone is ready for a jeweller to mount in a setting.

Tips and warnings

  • A cut gemstone usually disposes of about half the original stone. You should refrain from attempting cuts on precious stones until you have honed your skill.

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