Please read the Proposal and Survey
Concave Faceting for Competitions
By David Radke, Paul Sabolta and Barry Chapman
This article is a follow on from quite a robust and profitable Panel Discussion session, by the same name, at the AFG Muster in Casino on 2 September 2017.
It was decided that, as those who attended the Panel Discussion were only a small fraction of the AFG membership, information being presented at that session would be reproduced again in this Facet Talk, allowing everyone a chance to read and comment.
To bring everyone up to speed, Dave provided the following as a bit of background information. At this year’s Gemboree at Lithgow, a faceted stone (with concave pavilion mains) was entered into Section N 8B.2: Standard Brilliant - Faceted Girdle. The entry was accompanied by a letter advising the Competition Committee of this fact, and, should it be disqualified, this letter was to be an appeal against that decision.
This stone was entered solely to challenge the definition of Standard Brilliants on page 44 of the current AFLACA Competitor and Judging Manual - nothing else. In the definition on page 41 of the J&R Manual, a Facet is described as a deliberate flat or curved surface, usually polished. The judging feature, Facet Surfaces True, on page 42, refers to the complete flatness of Facets OR evenness of Curved Facets. Now we all know, including the entrant, that Standard Brilliants, or Standard Round Brilliants, are supposed to have flat facets; traditionally they have been cut with flat facets. But NOWHERE in the Manual definitions for Standard Brilliants does it state that all facets must be flat. Thus any entrant is quite at liberty to choose either flat, or curved facets within reason.
The entry caused quite a stir within the Competition Committee. After the Competition Committee sought advice from outside of the Committee, the entry was eventually accepted, judged, and received a third placing.
AFLACA has a reputation for being very slow when it comes to making changes to competition rules. But at the annual J&R Meeting held at the 2017 Gemboree, an amendment to these rules was passed, effective immediately, to avoid a repetition of the above situation.
A positive outcome from all of this was when Paul was advised that, if the AFG want to have concave faceting introduced into competitions, then the AFG needs to put a proposition to AFLACA to have concave faceting included, and that AFLACA would have a look at it … BUT leave the standard cuts alone, as this affects eligibility for trophies and competitor progression through the Divisions and Levels. That part of the Manual would become messy and push other groups onto different pages within the Manual.
As a result, Paul came to the conclusion that we should leave Groups 8, 9, 10 and 11 alone, and set up an entirely new Group.
The plan was then to introduce the topic at the AFG Muster, in a Panel Discussion format to gauge interest, get some feedback and gain comment from those who could attend. In the meantime, Paul put in a good deal of time and thought on how the AFG might include concave faceting and other types of cuts into a competition. He drew up a DRAFT proposal to create a new Group (Group 39), to include four new sections: Concave, Freeform, Fantasy and Novelty Cuts. This introduces the opportunity to allow artistic components into competitions. Only Concave and Fantasy cutting require concave attachments to faceting machines. The Freeform and Novelty sections can be done on an ordinary faceting machine and partly on cabbing equipment if required.
Never before has the AFG had such an opportunity to have our say on how we want rules on faceting to be developed.
We ask that all AFG members read this draft proposal. We need your comment and feedback. Tell the AFG J&R representatives what you want to add, or what you want to delete. Add your comments to the AFG Forum posts (https://afgl.wildapricot.org/forum/4617441), or contact the authors of this article - as long as you HAVE YOUR SAY.
Advise us on how you envisage future competitions might be held. Someone suggested that we have no rules - just let your artistic juices flow. If you do this, there still has to be some guidelines on how that would operate; in other words you still need to have some sort of rules. In the near future though, if we agree to this proposal, we need to test the definitions by trialing these new sections and adding them into AFG competitions.
It was agreed at the Muster that the draft proposal would be presented to all AFG members via Facet Talk or uploaded to the AFG website for you to read and make comment. Read the proposal through in its entirety before making your comment. This draft is not, as one member thought, set in concrete for passing at the Muster. This is just the starting point: it has to evolve, but it needs a starting point and that is where we are at right now.
This does not mean that we have lots or time on our hands. The next J&R Manual with updates is due out in 2020 or even further on. It would be nice to think that we could have everything sorted in Group 39 for inclusion into that Manual. As you know, the current Manual was compiled many years ago, long before concave became a part of faceting (somewhere in the 1980s), with the latest edition being updated in April 2015. Over the years, the amendments to faceting rules have been piecemeal, with bits added to or taken off. The Manual has become difficult for the average competitor to follow; maybe the current Manual needs a complete overhaul, redefining what is required, so that it is easier for any competitor to know exactly what is required.
We would like to make it quite clear, here and now, that a lot of careful thought and planning needs to happen, before any proposal is put to AFLACA. It may take several years to iron out the bugs, before we get it right. During that time, we can trial designs and definitions by adding these new sections into AFG competitions. Whatever the outcome of this proposal, we need to ensure that the guidelines, rules and definitions state precisely what is required, so that they cannot be interpreted any other way.
The whole purpose of a Competition Schedule and competition rules are that it is fair and equitable for every competitor. All members need to have their say on this subject before it becomes a reality.
The ball is now in your court; don’t miss your chance to turn it into a winner. After it is all done and dusted, it is too late to say: ‘you should have done this or you should have done that.’ You might just find someone politely telling you: ‘sod off, you had your chance to speak up and you muffed it.’
We want to share with you a few comments that came off the floor during the discussion segment, when everyone was given a chance to have their say:
· People are afraid of change.
· There is resistance to change, but by bringing in these new sections, ‘it can allow the new to thrive alongside the traditional. Change has to come.’
· These changes will help to open up Competitions; ‘make it fun and exciting again’.
· ‘We can create change’; bring out all the possibilities and allow it to progress.
· We can be ‘innovative’, help to advance the changes and incorporate everyone’s ideas.
· For the Guild, this is a time where we see the ‘seeds of change’ – ‘throw these seeds further – to all the association’. I suggest that in a year or two from now, with the uptake of Concave Faceting that we could see a greater membership. These proposed changes will increase our membership; ‘will help to make competitions more interesting and vibrant’.
Because of the obvious audience interest and participation, the Panel Discussion session was allowed to continue on into (and replaced) the last session of the day. This made it possible for everyone to have their say, make comments and observations, ask questions and provide suggestions on how to present this idea to the rest of the Guild membership. By the end of the session, there was a keen interest in taking the next step and gathering comments from as many AFG members as possible.
We also want to thank Barry for deciding not to include his concave faceting demonstration during the session in order to allow the audience more time to have their say. Barry did offer to make himself available several times on the Sunday, to demonstrate concave faceting for those interested, and to share his experience with those who were keen to know more. Barry has some great tips for those getting starting in concaving.
Note from the authors: We need to get across the point that ‘flat faceting’ is here to stay, as it has always been, and won’t change apart from the odd tweaking of the rules. This new Group 39 is an ‘add-on’ to what already exists. No one has to take it up, if they don’t want to. For many, there was quite an amount of enthusiasm, and it is only the cost of the equipment that is stopping them from having a go. We are trying to do some capacity building for the future: not only for the AFG membership, but to help revitalise faceting within the Guild, Lapidary Clubs, Club competitions, and those who don’t even belong to any faceting organisation.
Acknowledgement: In contacting Dalan Hargrave for permission to reproduce his photos in the draft Group 39 proposal, he made the following comment:
Paul … Perhaps it would help to know my perspective on competitions. Competitions are what compel me to push my own envelope of gemstone design abilities. With the modern day fantasy cut gemstone movement there are unlimited possibilities for innovative optics in gemstone design. That doesn't discount the value of traditional gemstone cutting, but rather enhances it. After winning over 80 awards, no humble way to say that, I've had so many doors open to me that I simply could not have opened without the recognition. In fact, it was that notoriety that lead to two trips to Lightning Ridge to judge their jewellery competition and teach carving classes. Those have been the trip of our life and we have many cherished memories and friends as a result. I sincerely believe fantasy and concave cutting are the new horizon in gemstone art. By competing and open sharing of knowledge the art form advances and we all benefit. It has been the single biggest boost to my career. I wish you well with your proposal. Kind regards, Dalan.
A Survey entitled Concave Faceting for Competitions is now available. The authors of this article ask that you please complete this Survey and return it (as indicated) so that we can accurately gauge what interest there is in the draft Group 39 proposal. Your comments are important to us, and we need your feedback.
Concave Faceting for Competitions
Your feedback and comments are requested please.
1. Do you know what concave faceting is? Yes / No
2. Do you know what Freeform, Fantasy and Novelty cuts are? Yes / No
3. Have you read the proposal for a new Faceting Group 39 on the AFG website? Yes / No
4. Have you read the article in Facet Talk FT215 on Concave Faceting? Yes / No
5. What are your first impressions?
6. Do you agree with, and support this proposal? Yes / No
7. What changes, additions or deletions would you recommend?
8. Have you read the AFG website Forum postings? Yes / No
9. Are you already experimenting with these different styles of Concave,
Freeform, Fantasy and Novelty cuts? Yes / No
10. Would you enter a competition if these types of sections were available? Yes / No
11. Do you have equipment or attachments which allow you to do
Yes / No
12. What other rules or definitions for Faceting do you think need changing or
refinement in the current Judging & Rules Manual?
13. Any other comments you’d like to make?
Please send your completed Survey to:
Paul Sabolta, President, Australian Facetors’ Guild Limited
PO Box 462 Wentworthville NSW 2145
for the Introduction of
Concave, Freeform, Fantasy and Novelty Faceting for Competition
Prepared by Mr Paul Sabolta, AFG Judging & Rules Committee
Editing & proofing by David & Beverley Radke
Introduction of Concave Faceting into Faceting Competitions
This draft paper is being presented for review and consideration for the Introduction of Concave Faceting and 3 other styles of faceting; ‘Freeform’, ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Novelty’ into Faceting Competitions as a stand-alone Group.
As you are aware most designs use flat facets and the judging is usually related to examining these flat facets against a set of features determined many decades ago by our founding fathers.
No new Competition Sections for Faceting have been made available for the last 50 years or so.
Most faceting designs chosen for Competition are stagnating in the same 4 Groups year after year, with some designs being repeated over and over again. Lapidary and Faceting in particular, is supposed to be for fun and the challenge of designing and cutting something unique. So why not open it up a bit to encourage Facetors to try new techniques and make it exciting.
At the 2017 Gemboree an experienced facetor challenged the rules laid down by the governing body for lapidary competitions. This challenge highlighted certain deficiencies in the rules albeit the competitor was within his rights to enter a concave cut stone. A ruling at the 2017 J&R Meeting has closed a certain loophole in the wording but since then, some debate amongst members of the Guild and from other fraternities shows there needs to be some changes to the Rules and Definitions in Faceting Competitions, to encourage members to enter competitions.
So what do we want to change or add? The current debate is emphasising Concave Facets, but what about Freeform, Fantasy and Novelty Faceting? Why not include these at the same time to align faceting competitions with modern concepts?
The debate is highlighting a call from facetors that competitions need to have more choices available hence this proposal.
Firstly we have to understand the current definitions for competition faceting and then see how the existing judging criteria can be utilised to judge these new Sections.
Current Definitions of Faceting Groups
The AFLACA Competitor & Judging Manual, Issue No. 8 April 2015, specifies the below definitions for Faceted Stones. These definitions state the criteria to be applied for the selection of designs and in the actual judging throughout Australia.
There are presently only 4 Faceting Groups (6 Sections); Group 8 which includes 8A for Standard Round Brilliant with Continuous Girdle, 8B for Standard Brilliant with Faceted Girdle. Group 9 which includes 9A for Standard Oblong Step Cut with Cut Corners and 9B Standard Square Step Cut with cut Corners.
Group 10 for Modified Standard Cuts and Group 11 for Fancy Cuts.
The word ‘Standard’ is by convention over the last few decades loosely used to only signify which designs are the basic shapes used for Faceting Competitions.
If one researches the term ‘Standard’ in its association with gem cuts you will find its origins refer to diamond cuts and their transformation over several centuries. But that is another subject that can be debated elsewhere.
In today’s use, the term ‘Standard’ relates to the 4 basic design shapes, Standard Brilliant with Continuous Girdle, Standard Brilliant with Faceted Girdle, Oblong Step Cut with Cut Corners and the Square Cut with Cut Corners. These shapes may have various angles applied for different material refractive index and size but the basic number and shape of the facets remains the same. For example the SRB Round girdle will always have 16 Lower Break facets and 8 Main facets on the Pavilion, a Round Girdle, 16 Upper Break facets, 8 Kite Main facets, 8 Star facets and a Table for the Crown. The below chart illustrates several ‘Standards’ for the Standard Brilliant.
Most Competition Schedules specify angles to use and that they can be changed to achieve best performance and meetpoints but the basic design shape must not be altered.
Pages 44 & 47; Sections 8 & 9
DEFINITIONS OF STONES IN THESE SECTIONS: A stone cut from a single piece of Natural or Man-Made transparent lapidary material as defined in D2 on page 19 and D11.1r on page 42, not laminated in any form, on which a number of usually* small flat surfaces have been cut and polished.
*(This was amended at the 2017 Gemboree J&R Meeting to delete the word ‘usually’ to make it clear that the Standard Cuts must have flat facets only.)
MODIFIED STANDARD CUTS
Page 50; Section 10
DEFINITIONS OF MODIFIED STANDARD CUTS: Stones cut from a single piece of Natural or Man-Made transparent lapidary material as defined in D2 on page 19 and D11.1r on page 42, not laminated in any form, on which a number of usually small flat surfaces have been cut and polished.
Stones in this Section must have a Table, Girdle, Crown and Pavilion. They are cuts other than the Standard Cuts in Groups 8 and 9. Stones may include curved surfaces, providing no less than 50% of the total surface consists of flat Facets. Stones may have one or more matt finished Facets where called for in the design.
It is recommended that Competition Committees specify the desired cut under this heading and provide accurate cutting diagrams and instructions with the Schedule, and to the Judge. Also the number of Meets and Facets should be included on the diagram and judging sheet.
Page 53; Section 11
DEFINITIONS OF FANCY CUTS: Stones cut from a single piece of Natural or Man-Made transparent lapidary material as defined in D2 on page 19 and D11.1r on page 42, not laminated in any form, on which a number of usually small flat surfaces have been cut and polished.
A Fancy Cut is any cut lacking one or more of the features: Table, Crown, Girdle or Pavilion.
Fancy Cuts may include curved surfaces, providing no less than 50% of the total surface consists of flat Facets. Stones may have one or more matt finished Facets where called for in the design.
It is recommended that Competition Committees specify the desired cut for this Section, and provide accurate cutting diagrams with the Schedule, and to the Judge. Also, the number of Meets and Facets should be included on the diagram and judging sheet.
We can see at first glance from the above definitions that Sections 10 and 11 may already fit some of the requirements for the proposed new Sections. However further careful reading of this paper will show that a new Group is required to not upset the present criteria and placement of the various Groups within the Manual as there are some subtle and intended differences of the definitions for the new Sections.
The following pages outline the proposed new Group.
Concave, Freeform, Fantasy and Novelty Faceting
Concave faceting freely allows the cutter to use his/her imagination to modify and cut stones using existing ‘Standard’ designs. For example, using an SRB with concave Main Facets on either the Pavilion or Crown or on both. This is the simplest form of concave faceting.
Freeform faceting freely allows the cutter to use his/her imagination to design and cut any shape faceted stone from an irregular shape piece of rough. For Freeform cuts the design may take the form of a combination of irregular sides and irregular shapes of facets, as illustrated below. All facets will be flat.
(Diagram views courtesy John Broadfoot, AFG, Australia)
Fantasy cuts may include a combination of Freeform shapes, Concave facets, Flat facets, Fantasy facets – grooves, half spheres, anything that a cutter has at their disposal to cut his/her special stone.
The Judging features could include ‘Aesthetic Appeal’ being – Visual Affect, Interest, Design. All the normal judging features such as meetpoints, polish, scratches, chips etc. would remain for Craftmanship aspects.
(Photographs: Reproduced with permission: Dalan Hargrave, USA, 9 September 2017)
Novelty faceting may take the form of a combination of normal flat face faceting with frosted novelty facets, maybe even cutting the Crown as a convex Cabbed shape, i.e. no flat facets on the crown only a smooth domed top – the convex crown used to magnify or enhance the facets in the pavilion.
Designs such as the Widow Spider, Maple Leaf, Horse, and several others could be included here. Laminated materials may be used to give some type of spectacular effect.
(Photographs: Reproduced with permission: Paul Sabolta, Australia)
(Photograph: Reproduced with permission:
(Photograph: Creative Commons Attribution 2.5:
Referring to the present Sections in the Judging Manual such as 8A & 8B, 9A & 9B, 10 & 11, there are parts of these definitions we can utilise in Concave, Freeform, Fantasy and Novelty faceted stones.
As there would be a lot of manoeuvring and reshuffling of Groups and Sections and Definitions in the Manual, I propose a whole new Group be added to include the 4 new Sections. This Group would continue on from the last Group in the Manual to be named Group 39.
This Group would include 4 Sections; Section 39A for just Concave faceted stones; 39B for Freeform cut stones; 39C for just Fantasy cut stones, and 39D for Novelty cut stones, each with its own definition with a common set of features on a single Judging Sheet. (See Appendix 1, Draft examples of two Judging Sheets.)
The proposed new Group is as follows:
PART I: FACETING - GROUP 39
There are 4 individual Sections covered in this part of the Manual:
SECTION 39A – CONCAVE CUTS
SECTION 39B – FREEFORM CUTS
SECTION 39C – FANTASY CUTS
SECTION 39D – NOVELTY CUTS
I1.1 DESCRIPTION OF FACETING TERMS (in alphabetical order):
a. Axis of Stone: The line passing through the centre of the Outline Shape when viewed from above the stone and perpendicular to the Girdle Plane and Table.
b. Crown: Where a Girdle Plane exists, the Crown is that part of the stone above the Girdle Plane.
c . Culet: The point or line at which the Pavilion Facets with the lowest angle or angles meet. Sometimes called the Pavilion Tip.
d. Culet Facet: A small facet parallel to the Girdle Plane which cuts off the Culet Main Facets and thus eliminates the Culet. A Culet facet is not allowed in Sections 39A & 39B.
e. Culet Main Facets: Those Pavilion Facets which share the lowest angle or angles to the Girdle Plane.
f. Curved Surface: A Facet which has been deliberately curved in one or more directions. A continuous Curved Girdle is judged as one flat Facet. Concave & Convex facets are curved facets.
g. Facet: A deliberate flat or curved surface, usually polished.
h. Facet Edge: The junction between two Facets.
i. Girdle: The narrow band consisting of either a series of Facets or a continuous scalloped, curved, concave or convex surface which outlines the Girdle Plane and is at right angles to it. Polishing the Girdle is optional b preferred. j. Girdle Plane: The largest plane cutting the Axis of the stone at right angles.
k. Man-made Faceting Material: Transparent material which is regarded as Faceting material and owes its existence to the operations of man. This includes such materials as YAG, CZ, GGG, Victoria Stone, Mt St Helen Ash, MM Corundum, MM Spinel, Hydrothermal Quartz, Glass, Cristinite, etc.
l. Meetpoint: The point at which two or more facet corners come together. A judged meetpoint is where 4 or more facets meet at a point.
m. Natural Faceting Material: Transparent material which owes its existence to the operation of the forces of nature. It includes natural material which has been treated to enhance colour, transparency or other features. It does NOT include materials which would not have been facetable in their natural state before treatment, e.g. Mt St Helen Ash, which is regarded as Man- Mad
n. Pavilion: Where a Girdle Plane exists, the Pavilion is that part of the stone below the Girdle Plane.
o. Plan Outline: The outline shape of a stone when viewed from above or below. May include concave girdle Facets
p. Stone: Means a Faceted Stone as defined in this Manual.
q. Table: The Facet at the top of the Crown parallel to the Girdle cross section.
r. Transparent: The term used to describe the amount of light transmitted through a substance. There are varying degrees of transparency, classified according to the amount of light which penetrates the substance. However for Faceting, a material is Transparent if an object viewed through the material shows clear and distinct outlines.
s. Translucent material is only allowed in Section 39D.
t. Clear means colourless.
(Items in italic are additional or new from the existing rulings)
I1.2 JUDGING FEATURES:
a. Aesthetic Appeal: This is judged first so as to avoid any influence which the standard of faceting craftsmanship may have on the Judge.
Aesthetic Appeal relates to the appeal the article has for the viewer. It is purely a subjective view by the Judge of each individual stone. The following aspects are taken into account as appropriate when assessing this feature: Area of the stone which is reflecting light back to the eye. If the whole of the stone is reflecting, then it should be given full points for this feature. If the stone s shows a distinct dark area, a hole or ‘fisheye’ or ‘windowing’ then the entry will lose points according to that portion of the area of stone which is dark or windows. Frosted facets and or laminated material will be allowed for, if noted on the design and Schedule, and they will be specifically looked for by the Judge to match the design.
b. Interest, Design: Is the article interesting? Is there thought put into the Design and its practicality for use in a piece of Jewellery or display?
c. Outline of Girdle: The accuracy which has been achieved in cutting required Outline Shape. A tolerance up to ±0.1mm is allowed before deducting points. Usually relates to symmetrical shapes. L/W Ratio is calculated and judged in this feature with points being deducted with a tolerance of ± 5% of the Diagram recommendation, usually relates to rectangular, oval, teardrop and navette shapes.
d. Table Parallel to Girdle Plane: This feature is judged by eye. Points are awarded/deducted depending on variation from parallel, up to maximum available. If a design has a zig zag girdle, the top points of the girdle are used to gauge the parallel plane.
e. Meets Pointing Up: A meet fails to point up when one or more of the Facets terminate in a line instead of a point. If there are 54 Meets to be judged and 27 of them do not meet, then 50% of the points for this feature are lost. There is no degree of ‘outness’ when judging Meets. Either they meet accurately, or they do not.
(See also Meetpoint in Description of Faceting Terms in I1.1, L)
f. Facets Uniform: This feature refers to the consistency in shape and size of Facets in the same series.
g. Facet Edges Sharp: The junction between Facets should be knife-edged. Facet Edges which are chipped are penalised under Chips and not under this feature. Points are awarded based on the number of sharp edges in relation to total edges.
h. Facet Surfaces True: This refers to the complete flatness of Facets or evenness of Curved facets. Unintentional Facets, e.g.
‘Ghost Facets’ will be penalised under this feature.
i. Scratches: The scoring of polished or matt surfaces. There is no standard deduction per scratch. Placement and severity of scratches will determine penalty up to maximum available for this feature.
j. Polish (Lustre): The degree and evenness of lustre over the whole surface being judged. This means that an apparently highly polished surface with some, even slightly, duller areas at 10X magnification, will not receive full points. However, where the design calls for certain facets to be left unpolished, then these will be judged on the evenness of the matt surface. (See also item a. above)
NOTE: Scratches, Chips and Flaws are not penalised when assessing Polish - these are judged elsewhere in their own feature.
k. Chips: Chips are the areas where pieces of material have been chipped off unintentionally. They usually occur along Facet Edges, at corners or at the Culet. 0.5 point deduction for each chip up to maximum available for this feature. Frosted facet edges may also have minute chips.
l. Flaws: Flaws are fractures, Fracture Veils, cleavages or partings. A Flaw may be external where it reaches the surface of the stone, or internal where it is wholly within the stone.
m. Girdle Uniform: A continuous Girdle should be equally dimensioned at its widest and narrowest points to receive full points. Facets in the same series around a Faceted Girdle should be the same shape and dimensions to receive full points. Points awarded must reflect the percentage of correct facets, thus if there are 16 Girdle Facets and 1 Facets is found to be incorrect, then 1/16 of the points for this feature are lost.
n. Girdle Too Wide: A Girdle which, at its narrowest point, is more than 5% of the total height of the stone from the Culet to the Table as measured by the Judge, will lose all points for this feature. A Girdle which is too narrow (0.1mm) to be assessed at 10X magnification is ineligible for Concave, Fantasy, Freeform and Novelty Cut Sections. This is the only all-or-nothing Facet judging feature.
o. Foreign Surface Material: Refers to traces of dopping medium, polish, glue etc. remaining the stone. The Judge may remove this material to see if it covers a defect, e.g. wax over a chip. IT DOES NOT include fingermarks, dust and lint which can occur between the time of entry and judging. 0.2 point loss for each piece of foreign material.
p. Orientation of Crown and Pavilion Facets: (Applies only to Cuts with Continuous Girdle)
All other Orientations:
i. All Group 39 Cuts: The Meets and/or Facet junctions on the Crown and Pavilion either line up at the Girdle or they don’t. Regardless of how far ‘out’ these are, if there are 16 Meets and/or Facet junctions which should line up, and 8 of these are ‘out’, then 50% of points for this feature are lost.
ii. All Group 39 Cuts: If it is apparent that the Crown and Pavilion Meets and/or Facet junctions are intended to line up at the Girdle, then the above ruling applies. However, if the Crown and Pavilion Meets and/or Facet junctions are apparently intended to be offset from each other by (say) 50%, then any that vary from this will be penalised for being ‘out’.
iii. Degree of Orientation of Crown and Pavilion Facets: As per i. and ii. above, they are either oriented or they are not. The question of degree of ‘outness’ is not considered.
iv. Limited Application: In the case of cuts with a Faceted Girdle the points for this feature are-allocated to other judging features. The point allocation tables reflect this.
q. Specified Size: For every 0.1mm or part thereof away from Specified Size, 1 point will be deducted from the maximum for this feature. However, a tolerance of up to and including 0.1mm above or below Specified Size, as measured by the Judge, will be allowed before any points deduction. Usually relates to symmetrical shapes.
NOTE: This allowed tolerance applies to Minimum or Maximum Size, in addition to Specified Size.
I1.3 GENERAL NOTES:
a. Magnification: Except where stated in the judging features, magnification for judging is with a 10X Aplanatic Magnifier.
b. Lighting for Judging: All faceting competitions to be judged using a single 40W maximum incandescent lamp, or a 28W Halogen Energy Saving Globe. No fluorescent lighting should be allowed in the judging room. Windows should be covered to reduce, as far as possible, the effect of daylight and particularly sunlight.
c. Minimum Size: Minimum size for all stones in this Group is 8mm measured on shortest axis of outline shape. However, Competition Committees may specify a smaller or larger minimum size. Note: Entries are eligible if they are up to and including 0.1mm below minimum size.
d. Display Boxes: stones must be submitted in a suitably labelled box for display, otherwise the entry will be ruled ineligible.
e. Identification of Material: The name of the material MUST be clearly shown on the box, including the words MAN-MADE (or abbreviation MM) if not Natural Material. otherwise the entry will be ruled ineligible. The Section number must also be shown.
f. Inclusions: Inclusions such as rutile needles are not flaws. If they happen to affect other judging features they will be penalised under that feature.
g. Scheduling Facet Cuts: Competition Committees must not combine any of the Facet Competition Sections in their Schedules. Each Section in Group 39 must be scheduled as a separate Section. Additional designs in the same section must be sequenced I, 2, 3…
e.g. N.39A.1; N.39A.2; N.39A.3 …………
h. Judging of Concave/Freeform/Fantasy and Novelty Cuts: With the judging of these Cuts, not all of the judging features listed on the judging sheet may be applicable. When this occurs, the points for inapplicable features are deducted from the Total Possible 100.A percentage total is then calculated by dividing the total of the points allocated by the Judge by the reduced total points possible and multiplying by 100. The features not to be judged shall be noted in ‘Special Conditions’.
Concave Cuts: 39A
DEFINITIONS OF CONCAVE CUTS: A stone cut from a single piece of Natural or Man-Made transparent lapidary material as defined in D2 on page 19 and D11.1r on page 42, not laminated in any form, on which a combination of flat and concave surfaces have been cut and polished. Stones must be cut utilising some type of dedicated faceting machine. Carvings are not allowed. Intaglio is not allowed. Stones in this Section must be symmetrical, have a Crown, Girdle and Pavilion but a Table is optional. They are cuts other than the Cuts in Groups 8, 9, 10, 11, and Sections 39B, 39C, 39D. Stones must include concave curved surfaces. It is recommended that Competition Committees specify the desired cut under this heading and provide accurate cutting diagrams and instructions with the Schedule, and to the Judge. The Mandrel Size, number of Meets and Facets shall be written on the diagram.
Freeform Cuts: 39B
DEFINITIONS OF FREEFORM: A stone cut from a single piece of Natural or Man-Made transparent lapidary material as defined in D2 on page 19 and D11.1r on page 42, not laminated in any form, on which a number of flat surfaces have been cut and polished. Stones must be cut utilising some type of dedicated faceting machine. Carvings are not allowed. Intaglio is not allowed. Concave or Convex surfaces are not allowed.
Stones in this Section must be non-symmetrical, have a Crown, Girdle and Pavilion but a Table is optional. They are cuts other than the Cuts in Groups 8, 9, 10, 11, and Sections 39A, 39C, 39D.
It is recommended that Competition Committees specify the desired cut under this heading and provide accurate cutting diagrams and instructions with the Schedule, and to the Judge. The number of Meets and Facets to be judged shall be written on the diagram.
Fantasy Cuts: 39C
DEFINITIONS OF FANTASY CUTS: A stone cut from a single piece of Natural or Man-Made transparent lapidary material as defined in D2 on page 19 and D11.1r on page 42, on which a combination of flat and concave surfaces have been cut and polished. Convex facets are optional. Concave facets may be curved, grooved or hemispherical. Stones must be cut utilising some type of dedicated faceting machine. Carvings are not allowed. Intaglio is not allowed.
Stones in this Section may be symmetrical or non-symmetrical. A Crown, Girdle, Pavilion and Table is optional. They are cuts other than the Cuts in Groups 8, 9, 10, 11, and Sections 39A, 39B, 39D.
It is recommended that Competition Committees specify the desired cut under this heading and provide accurate cutting diagrams and instructions with the Schedule, and to the Judge. The Mandrel Size, the number of Meets and Facets to be judged shall be written on the diagram.
Novelty Cuts: 39D
DEFINITIONS OF NOVELTY CUTS: A stone cut from Natural or Man-Made transparent lapidary material as defined in D2 on page 19 and D11.1r on page 42, on which a combination of flat, concave or convex surfaces have been cut and polished. Material may be laminated or translucent. Convex facets are optional. Concave facets may be curved, grooved or hemispherical. Designs may have frosted motifs. Stones must be cut utilising some type of dedicated faceting machine and/or Cabbing equipment as required for Convex Crowns. Carvings are not allowed. Intaglio is not allowed.
Stones in this Section may be symmetrical or non-symmetrical. A Crown, Girdle, Pavilion and Flat Table is optional. A non-faceted or convex Crown is optional. Crowns may be circularly stepped. They are cuts other than the Cuts in Groups 8, 9, 10, 11, and Sections 39A, 39B, 39C.
It is recommended that Competition Committees specify the desired cut under this heading and provide accurate cutting diagrams and instructions with the Schedule, and to the Judge. Frosted designs must specify which facets are to be frosted with a 5th view illustrating the frosted facets included on the diagram. The Mandrel Size, the number of Meets and Facets to be judged shall be written on the diagram.
We have now been introduced to the 4 new Sections. We have chosen a suitable design, and drawn up the Schedule with the applicable Section numbers. Do we have Judges that have the training and experience to judge these new styles?
Most of the Faceting Judges in Australia have never come across a Concave, Freeform or Fantasy stone in a competition, but if they have been trained correctly they will be able to adapt to any given situation or new innovation.
They should have been trained to closely observe facets for shape and all other judging features. It’s just a matter of looking at a curved facet instead of a flat facet. All the other features will be the same - trueness, uniformity, scratches, visual effect, polish, chips, meets etc. The Judge may have to study the given diagram more closely to visualise what the stone should look like but that would be about all.
Please don’t dismiss this proposal outright without first taking the time to carefully read this proposal several times, talk to cutters in your Clubs, Groups and Regions to see if there is enough interest from your members and if they would enter such Sections in a Competition, if they were available.
Thank you for listening.
References & Photographs
AFLACA Competitor and Judging Manual, No. 8 April 2015.
Photographs: Reproduced with permission from Dalan Hargrave, USQ, 7 September 2017.
Reproduced with permission from Paul Sabolta, Australia.
Creative Commons 2.5. The Gemology Project, retrieved in July 2017,
All care has been taken to ensure accuracy of information but the authors takes no responsibility for liability arising from errors, omissions or mistakes. You are advised to proceed cautiously before using or taking advice from these contents without study and research. The contents of this proposal are purely to gauge interest from you as facetors before proceeding further.
Judging Sheet: Example 1
Judging Sheet: Example 2