A Chinese translation of this article was originally published in Jewelry World Vol. 92, November 2019

Over the past few years, the demand for well-cut gemstones has increased dramatically. Due to the large amount of commercial-quality material whose original cut was solely meant to retain weight as opposed to maximizing beauty and color, the international gem trade has seen a huge demand for recutting, not only in the American and European markets but in Asia as well. …

Originally publish in the GAA Journal V27 No3 January-June 2020

Once upon a time, buyers of colored stones were solely focused on color and size but in the 21st century, gemstone and jewelry customers are becoming more aware of the effect of the cut on colored stones. Gemstone grading laboratories started issuing cut grades on diamonds in the 1990’s which caused the entire diamond industry to become more conscious of the cutting quality but in colored stones this revolution has yet to come. …

Originall published in GAMMA The ICA | GemLab Journal — Volume 1 Issue 2

Do you remember a few years back, there was a viral phenomenon going around the internet that involved a dress with a color that no one could agree about? Some people said the dress was blue and black and some said it was white and gold. Over 10 million tweets were made about this photo and it even made its way to the evening TV news. The photo eventually sparked a peer reviewed scientific study about the science of human perception. …

How to make your professional dream a reality.

When I first discovered gemstones and the gem trade, the first thing that came into my mind was “how do they cut these tiny stones?” This question led me to discover the lapidary club system and caused me to spend two years riding my bike to the local club almost every day to learn to cut cabochons. Later, that same question led me to buy a series of used faceting machines so that I could hopefully one day master the art of faceting. I dreamt of not only being a gemcutter but a good gemcutter, even possibly maybe a professional…

Constructing an Octophonic Sound Environment

In August of 2016, I teamed up with Scottish artist Katie Anderson to build an immersive sound installation inside a ruined Victorian mansion in Southern Scotland. We got a few grants to help us fund the project and spent a few months getting permission from the owners, planning it, and building it. My main responsibility was building the amp and speakers that would create the sonic environment that we envisioned.

We intended that eight pure sine waves would play through eight fantastic looking speakers placed in different parts of the mansion and would put you into a dream-like state. Katie…

The Museum of Faceting Technology project began in February of 2018. At first it was devised as a personal collection but the scope quickly changed as more machines were acquired and donated. As the collection grew, it began to become a tangible representation of the worldwide culture of gemcutting.

In three years, the museum has acquired 52 machines, faceting heads, and handpieces from 21 different countries. The end goal will be to have at least one style of machine from each country that has a history of faceting. In some cases, such as the United States and Australia, there are…

Initiation. It’s February 2005. I’ve been reading the Tao Te Ching. I’m in a van driving to New England. I’ve sold everything I owned with the intention of starting a new life.

Initiation. It’s August 2015. I’ve been reading the Welsh Merlin Poems. I’m next to a cave on a sacred hill in Scotland. I’ve embarked on a holy pilgrimage in an attempt to interweave the fibers of my heart with the fibers of the Earth.

Initiation. It’s November 2008. I’ve been reading The Invisibles. My perception is outside of space-time while my body lays in a bed next to…

The Pinnacle Photo by Justin K Prim

I spent a lot of time avoiding responsibility because I didn’t want worldly pressures sitting upon my shoulders.

I sought greatness in small things and worked towards personal goals.

When the Tao Te Ching said
“The saint inspires the vitality of all lives, without holding back.
He nurtures all beings with no wish to take possession of.
He devotes all his energy but has no intention to hold on to the merit.
When success is achieved, he seeks no recognition.
Because he does not claim for the credit, hence shall not lose it.”

I listened.

As I grew older, I…

Transforming Red Cambodian Zircon with the Element of Fire

Blue Ratanakiri Zircon Photo Courtesy of Alexey Spirit Yakhlakov

Before the advent of modern science, Renaissance-era proto-scientists known as alchemists thought that they could change the fundamental chemistry of lead through an elaborate and semi-mystical process and purify it into gold. These ancient seekers were doing all sorts of experiments with chemicals and rigorously keeping track of their results in order to be able to share their findings with other alchemists. …

Justin K Prim

Gemcutter / Travel Adventurer / Lapidary Historian/ Author of The Heart of Merlin / www.justinkprim.com

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