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Being a gemstone hobbyist has never been more fun. Whether collecting gemstones or shaping them, the lapidary arts are a fascinating field of study. However, what do you do if you want to start working with gemstones as a serious hobby or even as a business owner? What are the top lapidary arts for a beginning gem cutter? We’ll go more in-depth below.
Tumbling is the simplest artform and requires little equipment. You buy a rotary or vibrational tumbler and put the rough gem inside the chamber with abrasives designed to polish the gem. This reflects the process occurring on a minuscule level out in nature in a stream or beach and amplifies it. Tumbled gemstones can become jewelry, and you can get fitted ‘settings’ for it. This is a perfect lapidary art for the beginning gem cutter, so make sure you look at different tumblers to get started.
This is an exceedingly common lapidary artform. “Cabs” are gems cut with a flat bottom and a curved top. You’ve likely seen this type of cut on high-end jewelry. It can have quite a strong market resale value, so learning how to cut gems this way is a profitable endeavor. It’s more complex than tumbling, but like anything, you can get better at it with practice. Learn how to use and obtain a professional cabbing machine, and you’ll be well on your way to making freshly cut gems!
This form is even more profitable on average than cabochon cutting. You’re likely familiar with this type of cut if you’ve seen a diamond in an engagement ring. Gems in this form typically have high-end settings and are on the market at staggering prices. Faceting has quite the aesthetic appeal that brings out the gem’s brilliance. The bottom facets reflect the light entering the stone and reflect it to the viewer. In contrast, you don’t have to be an artist to pick up and excel at this art form. Engineers and machinists will also have a great time learning faceting.
In short, the gemstone arts are here to stay. If you’re a beginner, you have several options to get started. We recommend tumbling but feel free to approach whichever art piques your interest. If you’re a small business owner, it might be wise to check projected gemstone trends to determine what kind of stones you should sell and what artform you should specialize in. But if you’re a hobbyist, jump in and have fun!