Rock & Gem

Andrew Stuart



Going from an underwater videograph­er to working with steel and as a gem cutter, Andrew Stuart muses, “A wise man once said that life happens while you are busily making plans.” With curiosity and willingnes­s to learn, Andrew utilized his talents to merge his creativity into a new career.


Andrew was always fascinated by the natural world. After finishing school, he earned his divemaster certificat­ion and taught diving. In Australia, he picked up a video camera for the first time.

“Video bought the underwater world to life,” he says, which inspired him to attend film school when he returned to Ireland and “dive” into a career as a filmmaker. But a growing family called for less travel and a career change.


“I found myself back working in a steel workshop grinding and polishing stainless steel after 20 years of adventures on the high seas,” Andrew says. “It’s safe to say I was not best pleased with my new career. But I did find it oddly satisfying to get a perfect polish on a 10-foot-long, 250-kg slab of stainless steel. I remember having the thought, ‘I don’t mind the polishing bit. It’s all the grinding and lifting that sucks.’ Well, as luck would have it, adventure was not far away.”

While living in his wife’s native Japan, YouTube was a distractio­n between teaching English classes. “Down the YouTube rabbit hole I went and stumbled across some gem cutting channels,” he says.


“That was it. I had to try it. So I ordered the ULTRA TEC V5 and some cheap rough stones, started studying gemology online through Gem-A, and began to teach myself to facet through books, YouTube videos and some good old-fashioned trial and error,” he said.

He decided on the ULTRA TEC machine after lots of research. “I wanted the best, most reliable, most reputable and, above all, a good after-sales service. There have been many good faceting machine manufactur­ers that went out of business leaving gem cutters struggling to find parts or having to make a hefty investment in a new machine. I wanted to avoid that, too.”

“My favorite feature of the V5 is the DAD. You know exactly what angle you are on, and when you need to return to a facet, you don’t mess up your meet points by being off a fraction,” Andrew says. “I hope in the future to buy ULTRA TEC’s Fantasy Machine to explore the wonders of concave faceting.”

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