Grading Facet Rough Materials
For our professional facet rough, every single piece of has passed through someones hands who examined it and graded the material according to multiple characteristics of the material.
The main factors in facet grade material are: Color, Clarity, Inclusions, Shape and Size. When you are looking at our facet material grading we take all five of these factors into account. This determines the grade we put on the material. There are 5 grades that we use with our facet grade rough:
Professional Facet Rough:
1) "AAA+" or "EX" Grade - This is top notch color, with amazing clarity, inclusion free, has a great shape for maximum yield, and a large size for the material type. This material is usually extremely expensive, but will cut the best stones possible.
2) "AAA" Grade - This is one step below the "EX" grade material. It is exceptional material, but may have a very small flaw in just one of the five characteristics we use when judging materials. In many cases a professional cutter will be able to work around the flaw and produce an "EX" quality finished stone with this material.
3) "AA" Grade - This is one step below the "AAA" grade material. It is excellent material, but may have two small flaws in the five characteristics we use when judging materials. It is also possible that instead of two small flaws there may be one more pronounced flaw within the material. This is still considered a professional grade material and will cut brilliant stones.
Hobbiest Facet Rough:
4) "A" Grade - This is one step below the "AA" grade material and the majority of our hobbiest facet materials are this grade. This material is very affordable and sold in bulk. It is usually an untrimmed rough so it may contain inclusions or veils. Unless you are cutting stones professionally this is likely the best mix of quality for the price for the average hobbiest lapidary.
5) "B" Grade - This is essentially the same as "A" grade material, and depending on the material it will likely have either less color depth or less clarity (i.e. citrine is less color depth, where emerald is less clarity.) This material will also contain more veils or inclusions than our "A" grade material.
In addition to the grade we may use one of four phrases below to describe the yield of our facet rough:
* Clean Sawn Facet Rough: This facet rough has been cut by a saw to remove the majority of the negative characteristics and waste from the stones. Pieces we offer that are clean sawn will cut eye clean gems and they offer the maximum recovery possible from any of our facet rough.
* Top Facet Rough: This facet rough has not been sawn but has very large areas of eye clean material in the rough. You may lose a little material "around the edges" but there will be a minimal number or no visible inclusions in your final stones. You should have a very good recovery and yield for facet rough with this material.
* Untrimmed Facet Rough: This facet rough is in its natural form and has not been sawn. This type of facet rough will cut either larger stones that contain one or more inclusions, or it will need to be cut into multiple pieces to extract the eye clean portions of the rough for producing VVS-IF stones. This is great material if you are willing to do your own trimming or don't mind some inclusions in your final stones. The price on this material is significantly lower than the Top and Clean Sawn Facet Rough.
* Semi-Facet Rough: This facet rough contains material where part of the stones you receive will be facet grade, and other portions are cabbing grade. If you wanted to facet stones from this material they would either be very heavily included or you would need to saw or trim away the cabbing portion of the stone and use only the facet portion of the original stone.
Some of our facet rough may also list a percentage of the material that is clean which you can also use as a guide to judge the quality of the material.
As with all facet grade stones the skill of the cutter makes a very large difference in the finished product. Someone experienced with the knowledge of how to maximize light while avoiding large dull windows in the stones will produce a much higher quality stone with the same rough than someone who is new and still learning this craft.