Gem Cutter

Gem cutters who are sometimes called lapidaries or lapidarists cut shape and polish both precious and synthetic gemstones. First they place a stone in the correct position in a holder that secures the stone against the edge of a revolving saw or lapidary slitter that is filled with diamond dust. Then they remove the cut stone and put it in a lapidary stick. They make sure the lapidary stick is held against the revolving shaping wheel that they have selected which will be used to shape the stone and grind the facets. Then they check using a magnifying glass to make sure the stone has been cut accurately. Finally they polish the stone using felt or a polishing wheel and polishing compounds. After it is finished a gem is valued partially on its cut which is why the expertise of a gem cutter is so important. In order to become a professional gem cutter an educational program must be completed which teaches the basics about the properties of all types of gems including diamonds so that the best possible outcome of the cut can be achieved. After completion of an in-classroom program most aspiring gem cutters enter an apprenticeship so they can learn from those who have years of experience. Because mistakes in gem cutting can be extremely expensive a new gem cutter normally will not work on the most valuable stones until sufficient experience has been gained. According to the website www.salaryexpert.com gem cutters earn annual salaries between approximately $31000 and $57000.

Education Required: Associate's Degree
Avg Salary: $44000
High Salary: $57000
Low Salary: $31000
Tasks: Cuts gemstones.
Shapes gemstones.
Polishes gemstones.
Examines gemstones for accuracy of cut.
Also Called: Jeweler
Gem Expert
Lapidarist
Diamond Specialist
Additional Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemcutter
http://www.salaryexpert.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Browse.Gem-and-Diamond-Cutter-salary-data-details&PositionId=2222&CityId=300
http://www.tradeshop.com/gems/howcut.html