These are pictures of  Jam Peg Faceting in Brasil.  The faceter is Zico, who has been faceting Emeralds for over 50 years.  I met Zico while in Brasil.  He and his wife were some of the nicest people I met in the country, along with Geraldo, and his wife and family.


Setup.jpg (40323 bytes)

The polishing wheel and 'jamb-peg' board. The gray material is

polishing powder, which may be an accumulation of chromium oxide,

Tripoli Powder and maybe (in Zico's case) Sapphire powder,

Aluminum oxide and Silicon Carbide powders. Usually the

Sapphire powder, and/or diamond powders are used only on Corundum

stones or on Alexandrite and Chrysoberyl. Probably 95% of Brazilian

faceting is done using only Chrome Oxide, Tripoli powder and

Silicon Carbide powders. The tin can contains a water and polishing

powder mixture and is used to wet the polishing wheel in intervals

by the use of the piece of wood that is beside it. The wood is dipped

into the liquid and rubbed on the spinning wheel. Once in awhile it

the wet piece of wood will be dipped into the dry polishing powder.

The plastic containers at the top of the picture contain different

polishing powders.


Grinders.jpg (42948 bytes)

This is a typical set up for preparing rough for faceting. It is an

old grinder motor. On the right hand side is a thin sintered diamond

saw blade for sawing the rough into a pre-preform shape - eliminating

inclusions and roughly approximating the shape. The vertical sintered

diamond wheel on the left will be used to pre-form the piece of rough

into the shape for cutting on the 'jamb-peg' faceter. The tubes running

to both sides bring in copious amounts of water for both the sawing

and grinding operations. No other coolant or lubricant are used.

In both operations the rough is held between the fingers and thumb

of both hands - for sawing and for grinding/shaping. The motor runs

at 3500 rpm. That unusual looking thing hanging in the middle is an

incandescent light fixture that doesn't look too safe.


Tools.jpg (40326 bytes)

Different dop sticks. Each stone is dopped by hand on various

sized wooden dops that would remind you of anything from a chopstick

to a drumstick, depending upon the size of the stone. The dopping

process is very rapid and accurate using an alcohol lamp and fingers.

They use only wax mixed with shellac. No transfer jigs are used to

reverse stones, just a little heat from the alcohol lamp and a sharp

knife blade. The stone is leveled up with the fingers and eye-balled

into place. (one of the first times I tried this process, I promptly

ended up with large blisters on the ends of my finger tips). The side

of the brass sliding gauge or the side of the knife blade may be used

to smooth out the hot dop wax below the stone to made it look neater.

The dop wax gets reused several times before it is cleaned off of the

dop stick and replaced. Maybe 20 - 30 stones will be dopped up at a


The light colored dop sticks on the right all have tiny aquamarine

stones preformed and ready for cutting. On the left is a hard felt

wheel used for polishing cabochons. The brass sliding gauge is used to

check the size in the case of calibrated stones. Beside the cigarette

lighter (used to light the alcohol lamp) is a piece of the red wax

used for dopping.


Faceting2.jpg (54784 bytes)

Zico cutting facets on a very small aquamarine. Notice that the

cutting bench is made of stainless steel. The motor is under the

bench and a belt and pulley system runs two wheels at the same time.

One for cutting facets and one for polishing. The lighting is a 40

watt fluorescent fixture that you would usually see on the ceiling.

The tray where the transformer goes doubles as a storage area for

materials - hope that there are no bare wires in there.


Faceting.jpg (40707 bytes)

Zico cutting facets on a very small aquamarine. Note that the dop

stick is of wood and is probably a 'chop stick' getting a new lease

on life. He uses red wax to dop the stones. The 'jamb-peg' block is by

his left hand and he is adjusting the water drip with his right hand.

The cutting lap is a sintered diamond wheel. You can see more dopped

stones in the upper left hand corner and in the lower right hand


Watching a person turn a well cut stone out by hand on a

'jamb-peg' machine, all by eye, is a real experience in artistry.

It amazes me how they can successfully and repeatedly hit the right

holes on the 'jamb-peg' board which will determine where the facet

ends up on the stone, and then again to polish the facet.


SmallStone.jpg (29311 bytes)

This is a tiny aquamarine stone being faceted by Zico. It looks pink

due to the dopping wax. You can see the sintered diamond cutting wheel

in the lower left corner. These are made in Brasil and are about

$150.00+ each.