Faceting is the process of taking a raw stone, such as sapphire, and turning it into what you and I think of when we think of gems.
Raw gem stones
Here is a couple samples of what large sapphire stones look like in the raw.
Faceted gem stones
Here is a sample of what sapphires look like once they have been cleaned, polished, and faceted. They are then ready to be put into a setting.
There has been some difficulty discerning quartz from sapphires – which is normal. But we use the scale, hardness test, or bounce test to distinguish the subtle differences. Some fractures can be ground away and a good stone still salvaged. Others are poor to begin with and not worth the time or effort.
A light table is helpful in sorting your sapphire gravel. Quartz and agate are very common. Sapphires can be sparse and easily overlooked. At times the sapphires can be coated with calcium carbonate or iron that makes them difficult to see. If you think there are no sapphires left, be sure and look again. Broad sunlight and water are still the best way to sort through the sapphire gravel. And, this is about the only way to spot gold nuggets.