that I have authored

Justin K Prim
Justin K Prim
Published in
3 min readJul 25, 2017


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 2025

This book will explore the early origins of European faceting starting in the late 14th century. I follow the trail of gemcutting technology as it evolves and moves from Venice to France to England to Bohemia to Germany. I look at the trends, techniques, and technology to be able to tell the story of gemstone faceting and its evolution from the Renaissance to the modern day.

The Author hard at Work!



Justin K Prim
Justin K Prim

Gentleman Lapidary | Author | Faceting Instructor | Chronicler of Gemcutting History

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