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.
|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
|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.
|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.
|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.
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.
|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