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What is a gemstone cutting machine and how to choose one?

If you are interested in the art of gem cutting, you may be wondering what the best machine is and what tools you need to get started.

Well, in general, we can say that everything depends on the type of gemstone, the cut and your personal or commercial objectives.

For example, a faceting machine allows you to make faceted and cabochon cuts, but a cabbing machine is not appropriate for faceting gems.

With over 20 years of experience in this industry, we know that purchasing a gem cutting machine can be a significant investment.

Therefore, below we are going to tell you everything you need to know about:


Let's start by looking at the characteristics of each type of machine, its main advantages and disadvantages.  

Types of gem cutting machines

Tipos de máquinas

Currently, gemstone cutting machines are grouped into these 3 main categories:


  • Jamb Peg machines

  • Mast machines

  • Handpiece machines

Find out below what the main characteristics of each one are, so that you can learn to differentiate them and to compare their benefits.

1. Jamb Peg machine (Évention in France, Invención in Colombia)


  • It’s ideal for gem cutting companies 

  • You can make your own machine



  • It takes time to master

The Jamb Peg is quite popular in France (Évention) and is the most traditional gem cutting machine.

Its design has undergone significant changes over time and there is no standard. Therefore, if you want to get precise cuts, you should look for a high-quality Jamb Peg.

The Jamb Peg is known in Colombia under the name of "Invención" and is the most widely used machine for faceting emeralds.

We have been using this method for several years, and that’s why we can assure you that speed is the main advantage of this machine.

Therefore, if you combine a quality Jamb Peg with a speed-controlled motor, you can have a machine for cutting gems in quantity and with high levels of precision.

Máquina para tallar piedras preciosas

Before making any purchase, you have to know that some manufacturers sell the complete machine with the frame.

However, it is also common to find individual parts for sale, so that you can make your own machine.

The reasons are simple:

If you're building a solid, stable frame, simply attach the Jamb Peg firmly to the surface to start cutting.

This way, you can make a single machine, but you can also make a double one to keep the grinding and faceting area separated from the polishing area.

Look at this example of the Jamb Peg Machine that Oscar Bautista uses:

Máquina para tallar piedras preciosas Jamb Peg

We believe that the only disadvantage of this machine is related to the time it takes to master its method.

This happens because there are no manuals or standard diagrams for you to make the cuts, due to the different versions that the Jamb Peg has.

Therefore, you will probably need to take some gem cutting courses if you want to learn how to work with this machine.

2. Mast machine


  • It’s a high precision machine

  • It’s intuitive and easy to learn



  • It’s not as fast as other machines

Mast-type machines are the most popular on the market, and are represented by such well-known American brands as Ultra Tec, Facetron and Poly-Metric.

These machines are usually more expensive than the other types but are characterized by their high precision.

In addition, in modern Mast machines you find digitalization, new functionalities and improved accessories to make flat and concave facets, depending on the model.

For this reason, they are widely used by artists participating in gem cutting competitions.

On the other hand, you should know that these machines are not very fast.

So if you are planning to cut large quantities of gemstones or open a gem cutting company, the Mast machine is not the most recommended.

However, it’s a great option if you want it to cut for hobby, to participate in competitions, or if the time for cutting is not an issue for you.

Another big advantage is that learning on these machines is relatively easy, which makes them ideal if you are just starting out in this art.

In addition, on the internet you can find hundreds of diagrams that you can use as a basis to make from the simplest to the most complex cuts.

You will be surprised to see that these machines have evolved quite a bit over time.

For example, in the following image you can see a classic: the Sapphire gem faceting machine, which was manufactured by the Arrow Profile Company in the 1970s.

Despite being an old machine, it’s well preserved and that’s why we use it in some videos on our YouTube channel.

Máquina para tallar piedras preciosas tipo Mástil

3. Handpiece machine


  • It’s a fast machine

  • It’s characterized by its high precision 



  • It takes time to master

The Handpiece machine is represented worldwide by brands such as Raytechshaw from the United States and Sterling from Sri Lanka.

The main advantage is its speed, and this makes it ideal for gem cutting companies or for people who need to have results within a certain time.

As a disadvantage, you should know that it takes time to master the technique. However, once you learn the method, you can obtain cuts with high levels of precision.

“Each method has its own learning curve that not only depends on the type of machine, but also on the hours of practice and the skills of each person.”

Oscar Bautista

As you can see, all these types of gemstone cutting machines offer you great benefits.

However, regardless of your choice, keep in mind that you must practice if you want to get the most out of your faceting machine.

Cómo elegir una máquina

How to choose a gem faceting machine?

Reliability, durability, precision, repeatability and speed are some of the factors you should consider when choosing a faceting machine.

Below we are going to tell you what they mean and how to identify them.

1. Reliability

Reliability is related to the faceting machine but also to its manufacturers or suppliers.

You can say that a machine is reliable because it delivers what it promises, be it speed, precision, or a mix of both.

This reliability can be confirmed through user reviews, photos or demonstration videos, or by testing directly the machine if possible.

Remember that if you are in a learning stage, your level of experience can also influence the results.

Regarding manufacturers or suppliers, review their history, awards, distinctions, participation in fairs and other facts that support their good reputation.

Before purchasing, make sure that there are contact channels such as email, telephone or WhatsApp, and that their customer service is friendly and timely.

You can also see if they are present on social networks and if they have a genuine interaction with their community.

2. Durability

In general, faceting machines are made to last and this also justifies the investment you make when buying them.

However, you should not confuse the durability of the machine with the durability of the laps and other implements that wear naturally with use.

3. Precision

It is important to have a machine with high levels of precision, because the cut is one of the most relevant factors when determining the price of gemstones.

In addition, the cut can influence the intensity of the colour and its tone, making the gem more striking or valued on the market.

4. Repeatability

Repeatability means that you can follow the same steps to make a specific cut.

For example, imagine that you are faceting a pair of calibrated garnets. Of course your goal is to make those two gemstones similar at the end of the process.

Repetibilidad en la máquina para tallar piedras preciosas

But repeatability is also related to the transition from the faceting phase to the polishing phase.

In this case, the result in the polished facets must match the shapes, sizes and angles that you defined at the beginning of the process.

5. Speed

Speed is important because it impacts the duration of the process but also the precision of the cut.

Therefore, a good option for your faceting machine is to have a motor with speed control.

Máquina para tallar piedras preciosas con control de velocidad

Now that you know more about machines, learn about some of the most popular tools in gem cutting.

Donde comprar

Where to buy a gem cutting machine?

Among the most prestigious and reliable companies that manufacture or sell faceting machines are the following:

Jamb Peg Machines:

  • Fralap. Country: France. Price: from €2.830.

  • Kalpana Machine Tools. Counry: India. Price: from $2,800 USD.

Mast Machines:

  • Fac-Ette. Country: United States. Price: from $4,499 USD.

  • Kalpana Machine Tools. Country: India. Price: from $1,800 USD.

  • Poly-Metric. Country: United States. Price: from $4,795 USD.

  • Ultra Tec. Country: United States. Price: from $3,890 USD.

Handpiece Machines:

  • GemLapidary. Country: Sri Lanka. Price: from $1,715 USD.

  • Gemmarum Lapidator. Country: Italy. Price: from €3.500.

  • Raytechshaw. Country: United States. Price: from $2,395 USD.

If you are interested in any of them, contact the supplier company directly to confirm the price and learn more details (we only share a list with suggestions).

You also find faceting machines on platforms such as Amazon or eBay, which are very economical compared to the previous ones.

These machines can work if you want to cut gemstones as a hobby or if you don't need a high-quality result, as they are not the most precise on the market.

This is an example of the faceting machines that you can find on Amazon:

Otras máquinas

Other related machines: the trim saw machine, the tumbling machine and the cabbing machine

When a person thinks of gem cutting, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the faceting machine.

However, there are other machines that are related to this trade and it’s important that you know what the most popular ones are.

Therefore, below we are going to tell you what are the main characteristics and functions of the trim saw machine, the tumbling machine and the cabbing machine.

1. The trim saw machine

This machine is essential because it allows you to separate a gemstone into two or more pieces before you start cutting.

It works with a diamond saw blade, so you must be careful with its thickness to avoid wasting the material.

Máquina cortadora de piedras preciosas

2. The tumbling machine

The tumbling machine is also known as rock tumbler.

It’s characterized by having a barrel in which you can place raw stones of different sizes, with the aim of obtaining soft specimens with a smooth texture at the end of the process.

It’s especially useful for stones such as agate and jasper, although it is also quite common for tumbling amazonite, lapis lazuli, ametrine and onyx, among many others.

3. The cabbing machine

As its name indicates, the cabbing machine helps you to make a cabochon from a rough stone and we must say that the speed is its main advantage.

It’s characterized by having diamond wheels for grinding, cutting and polishing the cabochon, all in one.

In our opinion, it’s the ideal machine if you use cabochons in your daily life, both to sell them and to use them in your own designs.


As you can see, all of these machines are quite useful if you want to work in the gemstone cutting industry.

However, if you are just starting out in this art, you should keep in mind that they all represent a significant investment.

We consider that the trim saw machine is essential because it allows you to prepare the pieces you need before cutting, and thus avoid wasting material.

Before purchasing a tumbling or cabbing machine, think first about the type of stones and the cuts you are going to work with.

And remember that the faceting machine is useful for making cabochons as well as faceted cuts. You just have to choose it well, taking into account its benefits and your business objectives.

Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that reliability and durability are important factors to evaluate before making any purchase.

In all cases, you may also find second-hand machines. If you want to buy one, check that all its components are functional, and that they are calibrated or rectified as necessary.

Accesorios y herramientas

Accessories and tools for gem cutting

Complete guide: accessories and tools for cutting gemstones


In this article I share with you a list of the 15 tools and accessories that I use in my daily life as a gem cutter and I explain their function.



  • 1. Are gemstones cut with a machine?
    Yes, to cut gemstones you need a Jamb Peg machine, a Mast machine or a Handpiece machine. They are all represented by several trusted brands in the market that offer you benefits such as precision and speed.
  • 2. Can you cut gemstones by hand?
    Yes, it’s possible to cut gems by hand, using sandpaper and tools such as the Dremel. However, it’s a delayed and imprecise process, which doesn’t allow you to create cuts with the quality of gemcutting machines. Manual cutting can be used when the process is sporadic, especially in the case of cabochons. If it is faceted stones, it’s preferable to do it using a machine or to hire faceting services.
  • 3. What is a gem faceting machine?
    A gemstone faceting machine is a machine that allows you to rough, facet, and polish a gemstone. The most popular faceting machines are grouped into three categories based on their method and mechanism: the Mast machine, the Jamb Peg machine, and the Handpiece machine.
  • 4. What do I need to start cutting gemstones?
    To start cutting gemstones you need a machine that suits your needs, such as a faceting machine or a cabbing machine. It may also be useful to have a trim saw machine, and some accessories such as a 10X magnifying glass, dops, sealing wax or glue, callipers, among other tools.
  • 5. What is the best gem cutting machine?
    In our opinion, the best gem cutting machine is the one that suits your personal or commercial needs. The Mast machine and the Handpiece machine are represented by well-known brands such as Ultra Tec and Sterling, respectively. The Jamb Peg machine has excellent suppliers in France and Colombia. On this page we share more information so you can compare and make informed decisions.
  • 6. What is the best gem faceting machine for beginners?
    In our experience, the best faceting machine for beginners is the Mast machine, because it’s more intuitive and has various supporting diagrams. The Handpiece machine is in second place, although it requires more time to master. The most demanding is the Jamb Peg machine. But remember that in any case, the learning curve depends not only on the machine, but also on the hours of practice and the skills of each apprentice.
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