Daily Wire Tip July 21: What to Consider When Shopping for a Faceting Machine

By on July 20, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
July 21, 2011

Question:

Hi Dale, I love rough stones and their look, but I also like them with facets, and polished. In regards to faceting machines, what seems to be well worth the investment? Before I got into wire jewelry making I was exploring this and soldering to make jewelry, I like working with wire better. Thanks for all the wonderful tips.

-Brenna in West Sacramento, California

Answer:

Hey Brenna! Oh yes, the choice of faceting machines available today is large, as well as expensive. I think that faceting is a very soothing as well as an extremely satisfying experience. My first machine was a used one, so I could get a "feel" for the art. When I chose my new machine, I spent hours at the February Tucson Gem Shows, where people have the opportunity to try all different brands and styles of many lapidary machines. You could also do an internet search (to get started, explore this article: Faceting Machine) and really research the benefits of the different brands, as well as look for customers’ opinions before spending a few thousand dollars!

Your decision should be based on: how is the ease of the chosen machine’s use; does it come with all of the necessary laps and index wheels; how many dop sticks are included and in what shapes and sizes; is there a good transfer fixture; will you have to purchase a dop pot and dop wax separately? You will also need a small trim saw, or you could purchase what the industry calls "preforms" of certain stones at good prices. Then there are the "books," my favorite is "Facet Cutters Handbook" by Edward J. Soukop.

Is the investment worth it? Well, to me and many other folks it is. You say that you love wire work – cold connections are not as messy or time-intensive as many other styles of jewelry making. Would you like to use more cut stones in your designs? Do you have a market for this style of jewelry? A very good feature of purchasing a faceting machine and all of the necessary accessories is that used machines are always in demand, so if you decide you don’t want to do it, you will always be able to find a buyer!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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One Comment

  1. avatar

    Mary

    July 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Investing in any piece of lapidary equipment requires exactly what Dale has stated…doing the research. Before buying our Genie, I took the opportunity of talking with members of our local rock club and then used a variety of different machines available in our club classroom. I got a lot of feedback from different members on what brand they liked, etc. And, I could even get a price break by buying thru the club.

    A faceting machine is an expensive piece of equipment to purchase. If you have a rock club in your area and are not a member I highly recommend you check them out first for questions and answers and do the research as Dale has stated.

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