Tom Herbst is an amateur faceter and all-round rock enthusiast. Born in eastern Ontario, Canada, he received his formal education in Montreal, Quebec, Waterloo, Ontario, and Ithaca, New York. A research astrophysicist in his "day" job, Tom specializes in the design, construction, and scientific exploitation of novel astronomical instrumentation. Although he began collecting pretty rocks as a kid, it was not until his mid-thirties that Tom realized that creating gemstones is within everyone's grasp. A few faceting lessons and a homebuilt machine later, he was deep into the hobby and has never looked back. Tom currently lives in Germany, along with his wife and their two teenage sons.