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January - February 2016

In this issue...



Welcome to ULTRA TEC's SomeTimes Newsletter!
Happy New Year!........... We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the comments, Likes and submissions to our Facebook and related social pages. 

If you haven't visited yet, please do... there are wonderful gems and cutting tips.... cut by a thriving community of many wonderful people!
Please feel free to email all your pictures to or post to our Facebook 


COMING SOON - Feb. 4-5-6 - the 2nd edition of the TUCSON FACETERS FROLIC.  Three days of lectures, discussions, classes and demonstrations. 

UT-Tucson ballon
WHERE IT IS - located at at the OPLC facility: 3118 N. Dale Avenue, Tucson AZ 85712.  

See more details below...


Among the lecture session will be two on using the Ultra Tec Fantasy/Concave machine.

RON SNELLING will lecture and demonstrate - the subject:  An Introduction to Fantasy/Concave Cutting.  If you are thinking about it, or have recently started out - or just want to confirm the methods of setting positions, or polishing, name it...Ron can answer your questions.

LARRY MATTOS of Ashton Gems, will be lecturing and demonstrating ADVANCED FANTASY CUTTING.  LARRY  says:  "Fantasy cutting is an art form - you bring to it your imagination - and you create.  The result is an object of beauty".

Yes. Larry Mattos "wrote the Book", and it will be available at the Frolic.Incidentally, Larry's website,, now offers you 30 designs - ready for you.

After the lectures, Larry and Ron will be at the Ultra Tec Table, where you can ask more questions, and "play" with the Fantasy machine... a real-world, real-time chance to learn.

Every year, when the AGTA Awards Cutting Edge are announced, they represent the "opening salvo" of the approaching TUCSON SHOW.  Yes, 2016 is upon us.
For us at Ultra Tec, it is gratifying when Ultra Tec gem cutters win awards in the AGTA competition - and we offer our CONGRATULATIONS - to Dalan Hargrave and to John Dyer, both of them frequent award winners, and award winners again in 2016.  Dalan placed first and also second in the Innovative category, and John Dyer placed third.  And, John Dyer placed first in the faceted Stone category.
Dalan Hargrave won a First Place Award and a Second Place Award in Dalan at FFF3 the category of Innovative Faceting.


First Place. Dalan Hargrave 
63.63 ct. "Celestial City" Sunstone

Second Place. Dalan Hargrave
22.45 ct. herringbone cut Tourmaline.

AND...John Dyer took the third Place award... John Dyer 2012

Third Place.  John Dyer
120.98 ct. "New Era" Tanzanite

And, that's not all... in the Faceted Stones category: First Place Award went to the often-winning John Dyer. 

First Place.  John Dyer 
21.96 ct. multifaceted cushion-cut imperial topaz. 



ARYA AKHAVAN s one of the most enthusiastic (and most knowledgeable) people in the World of faceting.

You've probably been on YouTube and seen his series of videos "Faceting 101".
Well, Arya has added to "the course" - videos that discuss and explain the material you will come across in your faceting;

Faceting 451 - exotic synthetic gem materials -  Bismuth germinate

Check it out on YouTube - if you ask for Faceting 101, you will probably get the whole lineup from which to choose. 

Arya promises that there are more on the way!

Arya Akhavan is a prolific gem designer.  Here's one of his designs for you to try - "Temple Ruins".  Arya writes:  "...I wrote this design is because I wanted a simple round pattern with an obviously square table.  Well this accomplishes that very well, and has good light return as well!  I like it in red-Orange zircon, but it works in materials from Feldspar to Rutile (RI =1.52-1.62) with no changes. Suggested size = 5-10 mm."


The Ultra Tec Fantasy Machine makes the difference in my gemstone designs. 
By Mark Oros


The Ultra Tec Fantasy Machine makes the difference in my gemstone designs.
When I first started cutting stones, a friend several decades my junior said to me, "Design something different. We do not want to wear our grandmother's gemstones."  I took this comment to heart but never the less, found myself cutting classic designs.  Although I could provide precision cutting, superior polishes, and higher grade material, I still found myself competing on price with the majority of jewelers and collectors that bought gemstones in my area. It became clear to me that I had to innovate my designs in order to turn my hobby faceting into a viable business.  After several false starts, it occurred to me that the only way to create something original was to create a process that was original.  If I did something differently, then my results would be more likely to be different. This worked for a while, and I started catch the interest of custom bench jewelers and customers that needed to express their individuality.  However, I wanted to to take it a step further.  

It was then that I started to realize that there was a gemstone renaissance occurring in the industry.  Gemstone carvers were using non-intended tools, new tools, and a combination of tools to create completely unique gemstone designs. This new use of tools created a combination of techniques that allowed the gemstone artist to be no longer limited to traditional methods and freed the boundaries of their imagination.  I studied their work and began to unravel the way they were accomplishing their sophisticated techniques and avant garde designs.  It was from this realm of gemstone pioneers that I realized that I needed to forge my own style and unique designs.  I felt a pull to the past and the classic gemstone design, but at the same time my imagination wondered about trying new tools and techniques.  

This was when I purchased the Ultra Tec Fantasy Machine and started to add embellishments and variations on classic designs.  Although the Fantasy Machine has far more capability then I use today, it has changed my process of cutting gemstones and has enabled me to create designs and products that are very desirable to my clients.  I marvel at today's gemstone artists and the extreme treatment and technique that they apply to their gemstone creations all the while I continue to innovate my designs with the wonderfully versatile Ultra Tec Fantasy Machine.  

For me, it is not how much time I use on the Fantasy Machine to create gemstone, but how I use it - where I put a series of small concave cuts, a single slice, a dimple or a rounded edge.   These simple embellishments go a long way in taking a gemstone several generations forward.

By Mark Oros
(607) 379-2751
Chief Editor United States Faceting Guild

More on Fantasy Faceting
So I am starting to get used to the Ultra Tec Fantasy machine, all is running well and I have to thank Larry Mattos of Ashton Gems in the US for his designs, anyone thinking of fantasy cutting, will find his web site of interest, he cuts and sells fantasy cut stones but in addition he has a large number of fantasy faceting diagrams with full instructions and advice on how to cut these stones.

They are not Gem Cad files but .pdf and are downloadable F O C. this cut that I have just completed is one of his and I thank him for it.
So to begin, first mistake I made was not to set up the mast to the centre of the cutter, not a disaster but not to be recommended, the stone is an oval I had, from an Estate sale, a 20 x 15 oval well faceted very pale natural Citrine which I cut to a round first of all.

All of the pavilion facets were well cut so it was just a case of transferring the V5 mast to the fantasy machine and forgetting to align the mast and motor.
For those who did not read my last article here is a pic of the machine.

M =V5 mast 
A=motor to reciprocate cutting table     
B=cutter motor     C= reciprocating table      d=copper cutting tool        e=to adjust forward and back of A,B,C &d    and f=dial gauge to be able to return to a previous point when adjusting e.

Whilst it is important to centre the dop and cutter, failing to do so gave me a few problems later and I needed to adjust the cutting angles to overcome this and learn by my mistakes. I locked the quill to the mast, allowing me to inspect the cut as it progressed.

The table was offset by 40deg and for the pavilion there were 2 rows of concave cuts.

I now do not use any of the cutter shields (or use a sponge to rub against the cutter) as supplied with the machine but cut using 1200 diamond powder, mixed with H1 food safe grease from New Tec lubes in the UK. So here is the 8mm copper mandrel as supplied by Ultra Tec, the cutter is rotating clockwise to cut into the stone and the cutter is reciprocating which is clearly shown on the pic by the trace it leaves on the cutter. ( to take the picture both motors were turned off )

This gives an overall view of the machine and the position of the table.
Now the second row of concave cuts, if the cutter dries I apply a little olive oil which seems to lubricate the cutter nicely.


This shows all the concave facets un-polished --  with the original polished facets over-cut with the concave facets. I polished all of the concave cuts with cerium oxide and water on an 8mm Matrix mandrel. transferred the stone and cut the crown concave facets, using the original table. As you can see the concave facets are deeply cut and the culet is very sharp.

Here is the pavilion and crown, fully faceted and polished. and below is the stone showing the pale yellow colour

There are other fantasy cut stones (for sale) on my website 

If any one wishes to ask any questions, my email address is

My next attempt at a fantasy cut will be using not only the concave mandrels but the slicing cutter and a ball cutter to give a new dimension to the stones.


Jeff Warrington in Bognor Regis

 A NEW Social Opportunity -- LINKED IN

ULTRA TEC Faceting has a new presence on LINKED IN. Take a look at our page for interesting links and updates. If you are more of a TWITTER'er, we are right there too ( #@ultratec_facet ) ...

We welcome all our ULTRA TEC cousins as FANS -- your, pictures, videos, experiences, comments and suggestions are always welcome!


Don't Forget to Click on the FOLLOW button to be added to the community.


Follow Us on Linked IN!!

 The 2016 USFG-Tucson Faceters Frolic
The 2016 USFG-Tucson Faceters Frolic will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday - February 4, 5, and 6 at the OPLC Clubhouse. The OPLC HobNob will follow Saturday evening.


THURSDAY - Schedule

Ron Snelling - Introduction to Concave Cutting
Larry Mattos - Advanced Fantasy Cutting using the Ultra-Tec Fantasy Machine

OPLC KITCHEN - Classes - limit 20 students
Diane Eames - Designing Gemstones for Jewelry - Limit 20 - $20.00
OPLC SHOP - Two Days - Thursday and Friday Faceting Class 9:00 - 4:00 * Ernie Hawes & Billy Bob Riley - Limit 8 with $50.00 Fee
GUIDED TOURS - Rough Dealers in Tucson * Ayra Akahavan - Limit 8 with $40 fee

FRIDAY - Schedule

Diane Eames - Gem Identification
Tom Herbst -"Faceting on Your Computer with 3D Rendering"

OPLC KITCHEN - Student Classes - Limited to 20
Tuary 4, 5, and 6 at the OPLC Clubhouse.

Robert Strickland - Beginner GemCad - Limited to 20 with a $25.00 Fee
Robert Strickland - Intermediate GemCad - Limited to 20 with a $25.00 Fee Robert Strickland - Advanced GemCad - Limited to 20 with a $25.00 Fee

OPLC SHOP - Faceting Class Two Days - Thursday and Friday 

Ernie Hawes & Billy Bob Riley - Limit 8 with $50.00 Fee

GUIDED TOURS - Rough Dealers at different shows in Tucson - Limit 8 with $40.00 Fee

SATURDAY - Schedule


Round Table Q&A - Guest Panel Discussion TFF1 Closing - Tom & Will

OPLC Annual HobNob

More details from:

Tom Maxwell
Carolina Custom Gems


Stephen K

Last Fall, our good friend Stephen Kotlowski passed away.  Stephen was known to us as an extraordinary faceter - someone who loved the field and who was always willing to share his knowledge to the betterment of all.  

His relationship with us at Ultra Tec dates back over 40 years.  He was a good person, and a great friend.

facebook link inage  Join Our Facebook Community -- Over 5000 'LIKES' & growing everyday! 
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ULTRA TEC Faceting has a thriving community on FACEBOOK. Take a look at our page for interesting links and updates. If you are more of a TWITTER'er, we are right there too ( #@ultratec_facet ) ...

We welcome all our ULTRA TEC cousins as FANS -- your, pictures, videos, experiences, comments and suggestions are always welcome!


Don't Forget to Click on the LIKE button to be added to the community.


V5 Faceting Machine
V5 Faceting Machine Ad


Once again, thank you as always for your interest in ULTRA TEC and our products. We'll be in touch again soon with the next Sometimes Newsletter. 


The Ultra Tec Lapidary Team


Contact Information

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tel: +1 714 542 0608
fax: +1 714 542 0627

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