Subject: Faceting Academy: Sourcing Rough + Free Stuff


The newest addition to the Official Facetron Video series is "How to Calibrate Your Protractor using a digital inclinometer".

This is a supplement to the previous video about how to calibrate the protractor using only the machine itself. This is faster and easier, and requires less machine-handling skills. I recommend all faceters learn how to do the other one first, and then check this one out for speed and ease.

Chapter 8b: Calibrating the Protractor
(using a digital inclinometer)

More videos will be arriving throughout the Summer and into Fall - along with ... some interesting other surprises. Stay tuned!


There are just a few seats open in the September Basic Training event. Students need lead time to make sure their kit is ready for the high-intensity training, so take action now to get your seat.

If you're serious about faceting,
this is your time to take action.

Check the details and videos on the page here:

Click the button to reserve your spot!


This time, I'm going to share an article (rant?) about rough dealers and sourcing rough.

I consistently receive e-mails and FaceBook messages from people wanting to know the "secrets of finding quality rough" - or "who is a good rough dealer".

Some people think having "the connection" is all that's necessary to get "high quality" rough - which seems to mean high yields of high value - therefore "success".

The first problem with this is the rough dealer has no idea what your creative vision is. He doesn't know your skills (or lack of skills). He doesn't know your sales venue - or how good you are at selling your art.

It's nice if they know those things, and care, and bring you stuff that fits your art. But, that's part of a relationship you build - not really the dealer's responsibility.

Yes, there are "bad" rough dealers - those who will try to defraud you - sell you synthetics as natural stones, or green-dyed Heliodor as Emerald. There are dealers who will try to short-change you, or short-weight your parcels. There are guys who do none of those things, but are just unpleasant personalities. I consider them "bad dealers", too - and I don't work with them.

The hardware store sells 2x4s of various kinds. It's their responsibility to label them honestly - not to tell the carpenter which kind to use for which application. The carpenter should have the skills to know which to use for what - and to reject the ones that are warped and that have bad grain or knots.

So, the main issue with sourcing isn't so much finding a "good dealer" as the evaluation skills of the artist.

An artist's results are based on their selection of raw materials and their execution of their techniques using their tools to realize their creative vision. Then, their financial outcome is based on their marketing of that outcome.

I don't really want it any other way, because I want the freedom to see something unusual and use it to express something.

The dealer can't have the creative vision for me; can't direct me through it. If that's the case - or the desire - that's not artistic work, but production line work. I don't want to work on a production line - I want to make art.

Some people look only for a "facet rough" sign - and miss the guy across the aisle with crystal specimens. They miss out on a chance to express something with unusual material - maybe something they can get cheap.

Others don't realize "facet grade" is subjective. It often just means *someone* noticed "facet rough" gets a higher price than "rocks", and as far as they know, maybe it is "facet grade". They're pricing it hopefully...

Over time, I've learned that these dealers often aren't trying to sting anyone. They may not have a clue. How do we call them responsible for the artist being unprepared to select their own raw materials? Do we blame the store for selling the wrong 2x4 to the carpenter?


It's the artist's responsibility to find the parts of his creation. The artist has to know enough about his work, and the materials of his medium, to pick what he can do stuff with. The artist has to have vision.

I *never* buy a rough that I don't have a specific plan for how to cut and present it.

My ideas don't always come to fruition, but in over a decade of faceting professionally, I haven't blamed any dealers for anything other than trying to sell me synthetics or otherwise deliberately defrauding me.

If the stone doesn't work out, that's part of my *tuition* for learning my art. That's true whether I've bought too-dark Garnet (did that), or internally-flawed Peridot ($400 loss), or cracked Emerald (another loss), or closed-C Tourmaline (bought lots of that).

The lessons I've learned from those things have produced some of my best designs and tricks for making the semi-viable gemstone into a marketable finished piece. By working at it hard, I've pulled out every bit of value in the tuition I've paid - and continue to pay.

And, every person pursuing any art pays tuition - at least partly in the form of poorly-selected or scrapped materials. It's just that in our art, the materials are very costly, so the tuition can be quite high.

This is part of why I teach - to reduce the tuition cost in both time and capital and to shorten the time required for others to progress in the craft.

And, I share very important fundamentals through the site free of charge. You may want to explore the body of material there and read into it, especially this page - a FREE primer on rough.

The better I've gotten at rough evaluation, the more "good" dealers I seem to find. I think that's more about my skills of knowing what I want, and being able to confidently and clearly communicating that than anything else.

So, my #1 recommendation for "finding good dealers" is to become good at evaluating what you're looking at.

That requires an investment of time - and of money. You can do that on your own - or through a structured class. And, in any case, you won't REALLY know rough without cutting a fair amount of it.

Remember to check out our FREE primer on rough. Drop us a line and let me know what you got from it - and what else you'd like to know more about.

Stay tuned for more free designs, training videos, and other news!

John Bailey,
Founder, Faceting Academy

John Bailey, 1010 Main St, Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601, United States
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