Gem cutting - cabochon cutting and an introduction to faceting

Peridot oval cabochon


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.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

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).


James Langdon at Treasureworks

Message the tutor More from this maker All reviews


14a Edinburgh Road
East Sussex

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Advanced/pro level
  • Intermediate level
  • Public transport
  • Seniors
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers


3 hours (3:00pm to 6:00pm)

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Iman Dupree - - #38091

Thank you for sharing your knowledge James and explaining everything in a way that was easy for me to follow.
A brilliant UK gemcutting tuition is rare to find and I’m grateful for locating your services.

Response from Treasureworks:

Thank you Iman!
I had a lot of fun during your tuition, thanks for coming along!
You're welcome back anytime.
James :)

Juliette - - #36762

I had fun and learnt a great deal from James in my one-on-one lapidary course. I recommend it for anyone interested in cutting stones for themselves who is unsure where to start, or how to progress their skills. James is a patient, friendly and knowledgeable tutor.

Response from Treasureworks:

Thank you very much! It was an absolute pleasure meeting you. If you ever want to learn faceting, do get in touch!
James :)

Steve - - #36092

The course was very good. I had the choice of 3 different gems to polish, I decided on a Garnet because of the colour. James explained and demonstrated each step with a lot of skill and patience. I was more than pleased with the end result. My advice to anyone looking to learn or get an insight into gem cutting/polishing is you would be hard pushed to find a better intro anywhere. I will be going back for more.

Response from Treasureworks:

Thank you very much Steve! I really enjoyed our lesson, it was great to meet you.
I'm looking forward to showing you how to facet a gemstone at some point in the future, you're definitely welcome back!
James :)

Josie - - #35317

I thoroughly enjoyed this course recently making a cabochon, James is a lovely teacher who is patient, has a good sense of humour and happy to answer the questions I had about the process, the machinery and the tools. I really enjoyed learning a new skill and will be booking on the next course and can’t wait to learn more in this field.
I recommend this course for someone wanting to learn new skills with a knowledgable teacher and perfect for anyone beginning their journey into gem cutting. Thanks James!

Response from Treasureworks:

Hello Josie! Thank you for your awesome review! I really enjoyed instructing you, I had a great time. I'm glad you had a good time too! Looking forward to seeing you again.
James :)

Samantha - - #34028

Being a complete beginner to gem cutting I wasn't sure what to expect. James makes you feel very welcome and explains things in an easy to understand way. I was very surprised and pleased with how my Opal turned out and I am really looking forward to getting my own equipment to practice with. However I will definitely be seeking James expert advice to progress my skills. To anyone in two minds about booking, my advice, don't hesitate, you won't regret it. If I can do it, anyone can

Response from Treasureworks:

Hello Samantha! Thank you for your review, it was wonderful to read.
Best of luck with your journey into gem cutting! You were an amazing student, a pleasure to instruct. Thank you. : D

David Dockrell - - #33734

I was really impressed by the result of my first gem cutting experience. James was a very encouraging and knowledgeable about his craft and a pleasure to be taught by. He also makes a great cuppa!

Response from Treasureworks:

Thank you David!
That review is heartwarming to read. I thought you were an excellent student, you caught on very quickly!
I'm also pleased the catering passed muster!
James :)

Dana - - #33079

This is such a good course - I did the cabochon class in the morning and then managed to squeeze in the emerald cut lesson in the afternoon. James is a great teacher who explained everything very clearly, and there was plenty of opportunity throughout the day for me to get hands on with the faceting machine. I was blown away by how my stones turned out - I honestly didn't expect such great results on my very first go, but under James' instruction I was able to come away with some genuinely lovely gems.

Response from Treasureworks:

Thank you Dana! It was lovely to meet you and you were a pleasure to instruct.👍

Sue Flynn - - #28255

James is a very patient teacher, who demonstrates and explains each step. I enjoyed learning how to cut and polish a cabuchon amethyst. I am thinking about faceting lessons with James now.... Watch this space!

Stephanie Goffin - - #26171

I was a complete novice and I am not really technically minded at all (for example, I did not know what a Dremel was!), but James was very patient and he explained everything very thoroughly. I came away with a good understanding of what equipment I would need and how I would go about producing a cabuchon. I was also pleased to learn that the cabuchon which I had produced would be posted to me.

Mo Chudleigh - - #26003

Had a really great time with James, he is a fantastic teacher and very knowledgeable about the craft. As someone with no lapidary experience whatsoever I learned a lot from my first session in a very chilled out environment. This course gives you the opportunity to get hands on in such a niche field, and at the end of the process you get a lovely cabochon to take home! Can't recommend enough.

David Lilly - - #23091

What an amazing experience. James is such a laid back and generous teacher. I learnt an incredible amount in the afternoon I spent with him and he then made himself available the following day so that the gem could be soaked off and I could return and collect it at leisure.

I would totally recommend this workshop for anyone with zero skills or more as there is just so much to learn and it's a really chilled experience.

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