February 2004 Edition
Professional Faceting in the UK
I always like a story.
Graham Gillette is someone I met last year (via email from England). He described having two Ultra Tecs. Now, that’s something I encourage everyone to do, but I wondered why he did--and he told me his story about becoming a professional cutter.
Graham Gillette today
He described a time of various jobs in the Jewelry trade, but “not any hands-on stuff”. Then he thought it would be a good idea to try cutting. He writes, “I was introduced to a cutter in Brighton and watched him cut a small sapphire on his Ultra Tec. I bought an Ultra Tec from Hirsch Jacobson in London and taught myself to cut over the next 6 months. Using the contacts gained in the trade, I launched myself as a Lapidary cutting the full spectrum of stones in all styles in 1986. I think back now and laugh at how much I struggled… The workload was fairly light in the first few years but I gained a good reputation… After about 5 years I was working day and night, literally -- 80 - 90 hours a week! I took on an assistant about 7 years ago, and have worked normal hours since.” (Hence the two machines)
Speed and Accuracy give a competitive edge
Much of the work done by Graham and his assistant consists of “reshaping, repolishing, taking out chips and flaws”. Graham goes on, “I always tell people that cutting a stone with a modern machine is easy. The real skill isgetting out of trouble. You need the total versatility that the Ultra Tec offers to do that.”
Graham in 1986 - soon after starting his business
He’s proud of how rapidly he cuts, and he writes’ “I can do the top of a 6mm zircon in about 11 minutes. The main reason for the Ultra Tec speed, is the fact that the index is on the front, you're looking at it. I can "see" where the facets have to go because I’m looking at the whole index and not a portion of it. Angle change is done instantly”.
Thank you Graham for the good words. And congratulations on your success as a cutter.
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