Justin K Prim
Published in

Justin K Prim


that I have authored

The Secret of Gemcutting

Published October 2021. Purchase here.

The Secret Teachings of Gemcutting is a collection of classic gemstone cutting designs spanning 500 years. 50 gemstone designs are presented here with full color photos, design information, cutting advice, and historical background. This collection consists of the time tested, industry-standard gemstone designs that can been found in the jewelry from high-end brands as well as independent bespoke jewelry designers. The book also includes 30 pages of essential gemology for cutters which contains invaluable information about gemstone design, optics, crystal systems, hand preforming, gemstone physics, modifying diagrams, pairing rough gems with appropriate designs, and more. This information is critical for cutters who want to understand how these elements influence the appearance of the final stone.

Pioneering the American Gemcutting Movement

Coming in 2023

Most gemcutting centers in the world today can trace their techniques, traditions, and technologies back to the European Renaissance of the 15th–17th centuries. However, America holds the unique position of developing its own gemstone cutting industry in isolation. Disconnected from the apprenticeship traditions of Europe, the early pioneering roots of the American gemstone cutting started around 1870 but the main movement that birthed the gemcutting communities we find in America today began in the 1920s and 1930s, in between two World Wars and on the back of the Great Depression. In this book, I will trace the story of American gemstone cutting back to its origins while exploring the challenges that it faced during the development of this new cultural movement. The story is very much one of art intermingled with technology, driven by the pioneering spirit of America. I will be comparing the technological innovations that make American gemcutting unique in the world against the traditional European techniques for cutting gemstones, as well as examining the artistic and cultural influences that have helped define the distinctive design and cutting aesthetic that American lapidaries (gemcutters) have come to adopt.

A Brief History of Faceting

Coming 2023/2024

European and Asian Machines Through History. Photos by Justin K Prim
The Author hard at Work!

This is an ongoing project of mine that involves travelling around the world and collecting stories and photos of the gem cutting trade. It’s a long term project because it involves traveling around Europe, Asia, India, and the US and there is a LOT of research to do!. It’s off to a good start though.

Stay tuned for more information.

American Machines Through History. Photos by Justin K Prim




The collected written works of Justin K Prim : Travel Adventurer / Gemologist / Musician / Author of The Secret Teachings of Gemcutting

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Justin K Prim

Justin K Prim

Gentleman Lapidary / Faceting Historian / Author of The Secret Teachings of Gemcutting / www.justinkprim.com

More from Medium

Book Review: The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

Max Planck Quotes — German Physicist | Quote Homes

I’ve Read Hundreds of Fantasy Books: Here Are Four Of My Favorites.

“A Guide to Getting rid of almost everything,”

Bookshelf picture in black and white.