Gem cutting - cabochon cutting and an introduction to faceting



Hello! My name is James Langdon and I will be giving this on-to-one tuition. I have been a self employed gemcutter since 2008 and have sold gems to gem dealers and jewellers in Hatton Garden as well as internationally through instagram. I cut cabochons, faceted gems and concave cut gems too. This short course covers the knowledge needed to cut cabochons with an introduction to faceting as a cabochon needs a single, mirror finish facet on the back to complete it. When you arrive we'll select the rough stone you will cut. A quartz (amethyst or citrine) will be provided but you will be given the opportunity to purchase a different type of stone to cut (currently peridot, pink tourmaline or oregon sunstone) if you so desire. Your rough will then be glued onto a cabochon dop. While the glue cures, there will be an approximately 30 minute demonstration of how to cut the crown (top) of a cabochon to a perfectly smooth mirror finish: there will be a few opportunities where you can have a little practice on my stone. Once my stone's crown is finished, using a transfer jig a faceting dop is glued to the crown. Then.... you cut your first cabochon crown under my supervision. Once we're both happy with the curves and mirror finish your stone gets a faceting dop glued onto it. While the glue on your stone cures there is a 30 minute demonstration on how to facet the single mirror finish facet on the back of the stone using an Imahashi faceting machine. Again, there will be a few opportunities where you can have a bit of practice on my stone. Then..... you facet the single facet under my supervision. That's very easy to type, but a bit tricky to do! After your gem is finished it needs to be soaked in a solution to dissolve the glue. This can take up to 24 hours so your gem will be ready to collect the next day, or, if that's not convenient it can be posted to you by Royal Mail special delivery at no extra charge. Please be aware that the stairs to the toilet are very steep and not suitable for anyone with any difficulty walking. This course is suitable for someone with no experience in gemcutting. I can teach most afternoons and evenings, please enquire for availability. My workshop is close to Lewes Road in Brighton and there are several bus routes available which use that road. The closest bus stop is St. Paul's street which is a 3 minute walk away. The tuition runs for approximately three hours but I'm quite happy to extend the time available until the cabochon has been properly finished. A few words on cutting equipment: I will only recommend what I use currently to do the job. I use an Imahashi base unit or grinder, and a Sterling Gem Land J type faceter for faceting: the base unit is used to cut the cabochon crowns using a handheld dop / holder. The J type faceter does the single facet on the back of the cabochon, and is used for all the faceting tuition I currently provide. Every student I've ever had who has started out on a mast style faceter has, after 30 minutes, been a convert to the handheld faceter style of cutting. The J type faceter has it's origins in the Renaissance in Europe, and it's design has not needed to change since that era. Sterling Gem Land are based in Sri Lanka, but very easy to talk to by email regarding equipment. I would recommend no other manufacturer, since Imahashi of Japan went bust 8 years ago, and Raytech Shaw went bust in the first lockdown in the USA.

What's included in the price?

One piece of facet grade amethyst or citrine. Water, tea or coffee, biscuits. Postage of your cabochon to you by Royal Mail special delivery (if needed).


3 hours

Cancellation policy

Easy - Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts




with Craft Courses since 2019

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Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Seniors
  • Teenagers
  • Public transport
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Intermediate level
  • Evenings
  • Advanced/pro level
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14a Edinburgh Road, , Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 3HY