An Overview Of The Basic Gemstone Cutting Tools

Gem cutting is a novel blend of art and precision. With technology coming into picture, carving a gemstone beautifully as become fairly easy. Merely using a sophisticated tool to cut gemstone does not ensure exclusivity of design. In fact, the machines that are used today owe their origin to the gem cutting tools of the 14th century. In the last five decades, the designs of the machines have hardly changed. Most of them have witnessed introduction of LASER and automation operations though, but the cutting principles remain more or less same as it was in 1970s.

If you look closely at a gem cutting machine from 1960s and a contemporary cutter today, you will find uncanny resemblance between the two units. The setting up of the machine is still the same. Installation of the parts is almost similar. The only difference you would find is the way stone is placed or fed to the system. It could be on an automated holder or a brocket.

Every gem cutting machine will consist of:

  • Lapping plate, also called as a grinder
  • Angle scale to set the cutting tip at an angle
  • Faceting adjustment knob to control the speed and depth of cutting
  • Polishing pads
  • Setting pin to hold the stone at a place
  • Dop to adjust the gem at a particular angle
  • Single needle tip, made of diamond or silicon carbide compound.

The use of multiple needles is restricted to fully automated gem cutters. The trend of Single-needle inclusion technology got prominence with the introduction of laser guided cutting. The most important factors that a lapidartist seeks in a gem cutting machine are:

  • Sturdy construction so that the unit is stable when precision cuts are made
  • Proper ground clearance to maintain balance of cut
  • Proper illumination at the time of cut
  • Guide channels to collect scraped mineral
  • Easy to clean and maintain

If you are looking for a gem cutting machine, these are the qualities and features you just can’t miss. Here is your checklist:

  • Look for a precision dial indicator and stopper system
  • Enquire if the gem cutting machine supports hard-stop and soft-stop cutting technologies
  • If you are planning to use it for batch production of gemstone, look for a 2-Quart drip tank and a coolant carrier
  • Always invest in a heavy duty deck plate body to support mast-type gemstone cutting machine
  • Magnet motors are recommended as they deliver massive torque at all speeds in forward and reversed directions. Moreover, they are easier to control and remain stable at all speeds.
  • Check out the splash bowl. It is important that your machine comes attached with a urethane bowl to ensure cleanliness at work site.
  • Digital micrometer for depth-of-cut adjustment is preferred for professional cutters
  • Make quick angle changes using digital protractor and DOP adjustment indicator.
  • Collect the entire DOP set consisting of 4mm, 5mm, ¼”, 3/8” & ½” flat, cone, and Vee
  • Enquire if it has 96 Indexed gears
  • Life time guarantee is a must!