LAPIDARY ARTS and FACETERS DIGEST
Issue No. 129 - Wednesday May 14, 2003
Moderated by: Thurmond Moore III
Committed to carrying on the fine works of
Hale Sweeny and Jerry Dewbre
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From the Moderator:
There will not be a Digest Friday of this week.
I will be involved in the setup of the LGMS Spring
Gem and Mineral Show so I will not be home to
produce the list until Monday.
Index to Today's Digest
01 NEW: Question about a class ring
02 RE: Latest cut stone and Interesting customer problem
03 RE: Interesting customer problem
Subject: Question about a class ring
Date: Wed, 14 May 2003 03:25:30 EDT
My neighbor has a class ring with a broken stone .... So why don't I cut him
a stone you say ..... HA!
I didn't know anyone did work like this. It's an Amethyst with a hole
drilled down the center and the crest of the school screwed down the middle
The moment you hit the crest on something hard BLAM
Does anyone here know anyone who does this work?
Is there a better way to do it so it won't happen again?
Thanks ........ Have a great day!
Jimmy :)~ Rocksinhed@aol.com
Subject: Latest cut stone.
Date: Wed, 14 May 2003 17:56:56 +0100
To: "LapidaryArtsDigest" <email@example.com>
From: "Gustavo Castelblanco" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am about a week away from leaving the UK and wanted to let you know
about the latest stone that I cut using my Di Bella Square design. I am
very happy with the results. I cut a 2.5 carat tourmaline using the
beryl angles it was designed for. The result was great. The dispersion
is the highest I have seen in a tourmaline and a little added bonus is
the fact the tourmaline ended up being a colour change from pink in day
light to golden/peach/yellow in indoor light. I am a happy man. To view
the stone please go to the "Latest Cut Stone" page in my web site
Regarding the problem Richard is having with his customer I would like
to make a few comments. First of all I don't really like to judge a
stone that I have not personally seen and therefore I can only give my
opinion based on the small information provided by Richard. I know for a
fact that Richard is an experience cutter and so the quality of the cut
of the emerald I have no doubt is good. Richard also points out that he
cut a very nice pear emerald, so it must be nice because we all know as
gemstone cutters and lovers when a stone is nice or is not. To have a
custom made ring in 24 K gold and set a custom cut emerald irrelevant of
the quality of the emerald must be worth more than $ 160 retail. Even as
a list member pointed out a half decent emerald cabochon commands a
higher price. It seems to me that the jeweller who valued the piece of
jewellery hasn't got a lot of experience in doing so, or perhaps his
intention was to put down Richard's work hoping to get the next job from
Richard's customer. Sometimes some jewellers act in such way when you
take items to them made or belonging to someone else. It always
surprises me how the value and quality of jewellery or gemstones is so
good when they belong to some jewellers and not so good when it doesn't.
It was very interesting to read the different opinions from different
members about the subject in the last digest. The price and value of
rough has always been an issue that attracts a lot of controversy. As
many of you know, I have been dealing with gemstones, specially emeralds
for over 10 years. I always have bough the rough and then had it cut. I
love the excitement and thrill of doing it that way. I have been in the
emerald deposits in Colombia and in Zambia and don't claim to the most
knowledgably person in the emerald market, but I am certainly not a baby
on the subject. Noel wrote "$75 a carat does seem a high
to me unless it was exceptionally fine colour & very clean rough."
Although I respect your opinion I disagree with you. A piece of emerald
rough with exceptionally fine colour and very clean will cost you a lot
more money. It will yield about a one carat finished stone depending on
the shape and you only need to look at the price this quality of emerald
commands in the wholesale market. No one can expect to pay $300 in the
USA for a piece of rough and then have a stone that once cut could be
sold for at least $1500 to $2000. You may get lucky if you buy a big
parcel and you find a piece of such quality that the miner didn't see.
It can happen but sadly not very often.
The reason why it is so difficult to find decent rough stones that are
amongst the top ones in the market is simply because people can make
more money by cutting the rough. Such rough is in big demand and miners
don't have a problem selling it straight away. it would be illogical to
think that a rough dealer is going to sell at a price that is not going
to give him a good enough return.
Finally it will be Richard the one who will decide if the rough stone
was sold to him at a high price. Without seeing the stone I could not
possibly dare to point fingers or pass judgment. Most dealers are very
decent people and Richard quoted that the dealer he bought the stone
from is a reputable one and that he is very happy with him. I am sure
that if the stone is so bad that even mounted on a hand made ring could
only be appraised for $160, the dealer will help to put things right and
do his best to make sure that Richard's and his own reputation are as
high as it has always been.
Good luck Richard and keep us informed.
Subject: Re: interesting customer problem
Date: Wed, 14 May 2003 10:47:00 -0700
From: "Jill St. Michael" <email@example.com>
To my knowledge, we are the only dealer having advertised Colombian Emerald
rough for sale in the Digest, so I doubt it's any secret that we are, in
fact, the dealer who sold the rough to Richard. I'd like to acknowledge and
thank Richard for his diplomatic articulation of this interesting problem -
he explained the situation without accusation or malice, maintaining a
wholly rational and objective perspective. I know from experience that not
all transactions gone awry are handled so respectably. I hold you in high
The material in reference was procured by our former partner, Gustavo
Castelblanco (a native of Colombia), who hand-selected each piece himself
while in Colombia. Gustavo has a decade of experience with this material and
we have complete faith in his knowledge of both the market, as well as the
material. As many of you are aware, Emerald has a wide range of qualities
based on color and clarity. It is not a rough material readily found here in
the States, and that which is (or has been) available, has either been of
obviously poor quality, or was unscrupulously treated (oiled) so as to hide
compromising flaws, that it often disintegrated on the lap. Recognizing the
material's reputation with American cutters and having analyzed the U.S.
market for this material, Gustavo's mission was to procure mid-range rough -
rough that would cut well and retain good after-market value, yet was not
prohibitive or intimidating in price. Specifically, its color ranged from
medium-light to medium-dark toned, all with strong saturation, with clarity
ranging from VS to I1. Our ultimate goal was to bring a prized rough gem
material to independent and hobbyist cutters, who might otherwise never
enjoy faceting it. For the record, the rough was not treated or enhanced in
For those who are curious about the quality of the finished stones, Richard
had purchased another Emerald from us prior to the pear, which he cut and
mounted in a beautiful setting of his own design as a Christmas gift for his
wife. The ring is on display at our web site at
http://www.rrgaetan.com/info/gp.asp?GID=11. You can also view some of the
rough pieces on display at
http://www.rrgaetan.com/info/incategory.asp?CID=24. The piece of rough from
which he cut the pear was very slightly bluish green with color throughout
the stone (on all axes), with medium tone, strong saturation, and SI1
The IGS (International Gem Society / Don Clark) compiles and publishes a gem
pricing guide, based on a variety of sources, for commonly traded goods. The
reported retail prices for a .75 to 1 carat, SI/I, cut Colombian Emerald are
listed as follows: Top Color - $1800-$3000/ct.; Very Good Color -
$1200-$1600/ct.; Good Color - $1000-$1200/ct.; Fair Color - $800-$1000/ct.
While gems are bought and sold outside of this range every day, these prices
are nevertheless, indicative of common market prices.
Whether or not you or I can command these prices for our gems, or whether an
appraisal correlates with these prices, could be attributed to a number of
factors, including our salesmanship abilities, the education/knowledge of
our intended buyer, the condition of the present economy, the integrity
and/or education of the appraiser, or yes, the quality of the gemstone.
Considering that Emeralds are an uncommonly transacted gem (compared to
other colored stones), it is more likely that lack of knowledge about this
rare gem is most often the cause, and most likely the cause for the absurdly
low appraisal offered by the "jeweler" in Richard's case.
It is testimony to your knowledge, experience and wisdom that the vast
majority of you responded with questions about this man's credible
qualifications. Your responses attest to the fact that our trade/industry is
not standardized nor regulated. Any "Joe" can issue an opinion of value -
and his opinion will carry as much weight as the receiver attaches to it.
But this truth applies to both extremes. Just as a half-baked, unqualified
statement of opinion may be hailed as "the word of God," so also could "the
word of God" be cast aside as worthless.
And herein lies Richard's ultimate dilemma...
When Richard initially wrote us about this "interesting customer problem,"
we also suggested a second, reputable appraisal. However, while it is
apparent that the customer esteems the opinion of the first appraiser, we
have no assurance that he will value the opinion of the second. The hope for
salvaging this relationship lies squarely on the character of the customer.
If he is a reasonable man and interested in educating himself, then there is
hope. But without this concession, the man will stubbornly believe whatever
he chooses, whether truth or not.
I believe, with conviction, that customer satisfaction is supreme - it is
the keystone of good business. Yet we can offer our customer nothing more
than the world. If he is determined to reject all benevolent remedies, what
more can be done?
Richard, if you feel there is hope of salvaging your relationship with this
customer and that he could be satisfied by a second appraisal, Ray and I
will gladly share the burden of appraisal cost with you.
Jill St. Michael
RRGaetan Gem Rough (http://www.rrgaetan.com)
RESOURCES FOR LAPIDARIES:
PERSONALS: (General Lapidary and Faceting)
Lurking is fine, but participation is better for learning !
Post something from your experiences in gemcutting today!
TODAY'S FUNNY ~
A new arrival, about to enter hospital, saw two
white coated doctors searching through the flower
"Excuse me," he said, "have you lost something?"
"No," replied one of the doctors. "We're doing a
heart transplant for an income-tax inspector and
want to find a suitable stone."
REFLECTIONS AND TIDBITS:
The ideals which have always shown before me
and filled me with the joy of living
are goodness, beauty and truth.
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