When we moved back to Alaska in 1984, it was the middle of summer and I didn’t know anybody. I found myself sitting in the Eielson A.F.B. library a good deal of the time. The science section always caught my attention, in particular books on geology and mineralogy. I loved pouring over the descriptions of rocks and minerals and pretty pictures of cut stones.

Eventually, school started up and I began the process of meeting new people and making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. While I set aside the books for more social things, the love of rocks and minerals stuck around. This summer I decided to start teaching myself how to facet gemstones and get back into rock-hounding.

I scoured eBay hoping to find a decent price on a gemstone faceter. While there were a few good ones, in general they were pretty beat up or outside my price range. Instead, for a pretty good price I found the Graves Mark IV Faceting Machine.

Graves Mk IV Faceting Machine

This is pretty much a “no frills” faceting machine, but fell nicely in my price range. It comes with a number of laps and dops, so you are ready to go right out of the (heavy!) box.

It’s been in pretty much daily use since I got it as I try to get better at cutting facets. It’s a lot of fun and oddly relaxing, despite the fact that I’m still not very good. Below are some pictures of stones I’ve cut so far.


Citrine – Double French Star

cubic zirconia

Cubic Zirconia – Emerald Cut


Amethyst – Emerald Cut


Topaz – Standard Brilliant