FINISHING OF GEMSTONES
Precious metals and gems - usually massive,
microcrystalline stones and organics - can be worked by polishing, carving,
or engraving. Polishing is the oldest form of fashioning. Carving produces
three-dimensional objects by cutting them from a larger mass of material.
Engraved images are made by scratching out lines or holes, or by cutting
away to leave a raised image. Carving and engraving require tools harder
than the material being worked.
The most usual method of fashioning a gem is to cut the
surface into a number of flat faces, known as facets. This gives the stone
its final shape, or "cut". The craftsman, or lapidary, who cuts the stone
aims to show its best features, taking into account its colour, clarity, and
weight. He may, however, have to compromise to retain weight and therefore
A magnificently hand carved topaz crystal.