Tom  Mitchell

I have been an amateur geologist since college and have been fascinated by rocks and crystals all my life. Since retiring from a career in fire safety, I have pursued these interests vigorously and over the past several years I have acquired a modest collection of gem rough. I had a few of these pieces faceted by someone else, which turned out to be exorbitantly expensive. So I took up faceting at William Holland with Bill Compliment (Faceting 1) and David Corn (Faceting 2). I purchased my first faceting machine, an Ultra Tec V2 Digital, in 2009 after completing Faceting 1 and upgraded it to the V5 Digital in 2012, and I have never stopped or slowed down with my faceting interests. I am currently the President of the Tomoka Faceters Guild in Central Florida, and Vice President of the United States Faceters Guild. I also teach basic geology, gem and mineral identification and faceting at The Villages Gem and Mineral Society in The Villages, Florida. My wife and I have a jewelry business and I have been evaluating, cutting and setting stones for customers since early 2010. I love taking a rock and turning it into a thing of beauty, a treasure.

Class List

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Faceting I - Tom Mitchell
We will be working with any of a number of faceting machines owned by the school. If you have your own machine, bring it with you and I will show you how to get the most out of it. If you use the equipment provided by William Holland, you are prohibited from cutting anything harder than Quartz, 7.0 on the Mohs Scale. To cut anything harder you will have to provide your own laps. No math is needed to do basic faceting. All you need is the ability to read, follow directions and perhaps have a little patience. I will take the mystery out of learning this art by getting you acquainted with your machine, how it works and how to care for it. Plus you will learn how to read and follow a faceting design. We will also learn a bit about gems, how they were formed, what gives them color, and how to get the most out of them. We will be doing very delicate work which requires magnification to see properly. So, you will need to have an Optivisor (minimum +4 optics), which you can purchase through me, through the school, or on line. Your lab fee will cover my book, Faceting 1, Learn The Fine Art of Gem Faceting, Its Easy, plus your first stone, several easy faceting diagrams, one Spectra Ultra Lap for polishing, two paper protectors, one to store your Ultra Lap and one to store your diagrams, a microfiber towel and more.

Lab Fee: $50.00
Estimated Materials Cost: $0
Prerequisites: None

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Faceting II - Tom Mitchell
To fit comfortably in this class you should have taken a Faceting 1 class or you should have cut approximately 10 stones on your own. This class will focus on some of the tricks and tips of the faceting field, including different ways of dopping a stone, how to re-dop a stone that has come off the dop, different polishing media and their uses, a brief introduction to gem design using Gem Cad and Gem Ray, how to evaluate and pick top quality rough, how to get the most out of your rough, including volume, light return and color, intermediate and advanced cutting designs and much more. You will be cutting one natural or one synthetic stone and more if you have time. William Holland has the following machines available for use, Graves, Raytec Shaw, Facetron, Jersey Instruments Patriot and Ultra Tec. The School prohibits cutting anything harder than Quartz (7.0 on the Mohs Scale). If you want to cut anything harder than Quartz you will need to bring your own laps. If you do not have your own laps you will be cutting with Lightning Lap toppers, provided by the United States Faceters Guild. If you have your own machine, bring it. If you have a PC lap top computer, bring it, because we can get you set up with a trial copy of Gem Cad, which will give you access to over 4,000 faceting designs. The lab fee will cover my book "Faceting 1, Learn the Fine Art of Gem Faceting, It's Easy", your first stone, about a dozen designs, a Spectrum Ultra Lap, a micro fiber towel and more. I will have a limited supply of Lightning Lap products, including D-Lite toppers (325, 600, and 1200) and CeOx cerium toppers.

Lab Fee: $50.00
Estimated Materials Cost: $0
Prerequisites: Faceting I or comparable experience

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Faceting III - Tom Mitchell
This is not an extension of Faceting I or II. This class is for faceters who are comfortable with their faceting machines and have cut at least 3 dozen stones. This class is intended to enhance and focus your skills to the point that you are ready to participate in cutting competitions. You will cut designs from previous competitions to the specifications stated in the competitions. We will start by analyzing the design on Gem Cad. So you may want to bring your lap top with Gem Cad on it. You will be improving your meets and polishing techniques and getting your girdle facets down to 0.3 mm. You will not be using ultra laps for polish. You may be cutting materials harder than quartz, such as CZ, topaz, spinel and corundum. Which will be available for purchase. You will be learning about the different polishing media and when to use them. Your stones will be judged and critiqued to help you improve your skills. We will not be cutting any designs from an ongoing or upcoming competition.

Lab Fee: $50.00
Estimated Materials Cost: Unknown
Prerequisites: Bring your own machine and laps, with polishing laps, NO ultra laps. You should have cut atleast 3 dozen stones and be confident in your faceting abilities. Will need digital calipers, a 10X or higher loup, wire spark plug feeler gauges, and a variety of diamond and oxide polishing media and you may also want to bring a laptop computer with Gem Cad on it.

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