Q&A

Q: Do you only cut stones for jewelers, or can anyone have a gem cut?

A: While I do work with a number of jewelry designers, investors, and collectors, many of my clients are retail consumers. Anyone, regardless of experience or gem knowledge, can have a gem cut. I will work with you to ensure you have a comfortable buying experience. Please contact me for more information on how we may help you.


Q: I know what I want, but I don't see it on your website. In fact, there aren't many gems on here at all! What should I do?

A: The main purpose of this site is to give our customers information on services offered, to provide general updates on our business, and to sell a small number of gems directly. By no means are the items listed here the only ones available. The vast majority of my output is through the "custom" or "commissioned" channel, and I have thousands of pieces of rough available for cutting. As it is impractical to provide a list of our inventory online, it is best to contact me by email or phone for availability. Subscribing to my mailing list will also ensure that you receive updates on pre-cut gems that are made available.


Q: I have some rough that I would like to have cut. Do you provide this service?

A: Unfortunately, I are no longer able to offer this service. Growth of our business has forced me to permanently eliminate the cutting of others' rough. By narrowing my focus and reducing project backlog, this change will help ensure that the excellent customer service our clients have come to expect will continue uninterrupted.


Q: I have a finished gem that I would like to have recut. Do you do this?

A: Unfortunately, I am no longer able to offer this service. For the reasons mentioned above, I have found it necessary to eliminate this service from my offerings.


Q: I'm looking for an exceptional colored stone for an engagement ring. Can you help me?

A: Absolutely. Picking the proper stone type for such an important ring involves much more than finding a gem with the right color. Like the bond it is meant to signify, it should be a durable gemstone since it will be worn almost every day for many years. I will work with you to find that perfect gem. Or, if you already know what you are looking for, I can suggest just the right faceting design to compliment your ring.


Q: Is there a way that I could be notified when you have new gems available? 

A: This is a common question and one that I answered some years ago through creation of the newsletter. It takes only seconds to sign up, it is free, and you will be given exclusive access to new "pre-cut" gems when they become available, before they're moved to the main site. Many rough materials that are cut never make it to the "Currently Available" area of the main site because they are snatched up first by my newsletter subscribers. Signing up also qualifies you for special discounts offered periodically on cut gems. You can "unsubscribe" from the list at any time.


Q: Do you provide certification for your gemstones?

A: Because of the significant time and cost involved, I do not routinely have our gems certified by a third-party lab. However, I do offer this service, should it be desired. For gem certifications, I use the American Gemological Laboratory, considered by many to be the most reputable colored gem lab in the world. I am happy to send gems to AGL at a customer's request, with the additional expense being added to the customer's balance.

Even for the vast majority of gems that are not certified in this manner, I stand behind each gemstone that we sell. Each one carries my personal guarantee of accurate representation. If you find that a stone you receive from myself  has been misrepresented, you are entitled to a full refund (no questions asked).


PURCHASES, RETURNS, ETC.

Q: What payment and shipping options do you offer?

A: I offer a number of convenient payment and shipping options to our customers. They are discussed in detail on our "Cutting Service" page. To view, please click here.


Q: What is the average turnaround time for a stone to be cut?

A: Cutting a gem, once work commences, can usually be completed over a two-day period. However, I typically have a backlog of work to be completed at any given time. Depending on his current workload, turnaround times (from placement of an order / payment of deposit to completion of work) can vary from approximately three weeks to eight weeks. Please contact me for current turnaround time estimates for custom work.


Q: What happens if I receive my gem and find that it just isn't for me? Do you accept returns?

A: My primary objective is to make sure that my customers are thrilled with their purchases! Buying gemstones online presents unique challenges, due to the sometimes unpredictable output of computer monitors, the difficulty in interpreting photos online, and the lack of performance "feedback" that one gets by holding a gem in-hand. For those reasons, I work to be as accommodating as possible and offer a return policy that ensures my customers have a reasonable amount of time to review and feel comfortable with their purchase. I offer a seven-day inspection/return period for all gem purchases. This applies to both pre-cut gems and gems that are custom-cut (or commissioned). For more information on my return policy, including details specific to custom work, please visit our "Gemstone Service" page. To view, please click here.


Q: Is it possible to have gems (rough and/or cut gems) memoed prior to purchase?

A: Sometimes, there is no substitute for viewing a piece in-hand to determine if it is the right fit for a particular need. I am more than happy to send out rough to clients prior to a commitment to purchase. This ensures that color, clarity, etc., can be more easily vetted vs. relying on photos alone. I do require payment up-front, however, so this is not a memo in the traditional sense. The payment is 100% refundable upon safe return of the gem(s), less shipping costs.


GEMSTONE TREATMENTS

Q: What is your stance on gemstone treatments?

A: I sell both "treated" and "untreated" gems and do not believe that there is anything inherently "wrong" with gem treatments. The question of "right" or "wrong," in my mind, centers around the type of treatment and whether treatments are adequately disclosed to buyers. Some gems, such as tanzanite and Paraiba tourmaline, usually only display the beauty for which they are so prized AFTER they are treated. 


With all of that said, I believe it should be up to the individual consumer to decide for himself what is acceptable and what is not. My pledge to you is that I will ALWAYS fully disclose treatments for the gems we sell, to the best of our knowledge.


There are some treatments that I do not condone, nor will I offer gems that have undergone those treatments. Among them are: chemically-treated gems (sapphires having undergone lattice diffusion, coated gems, etc.) and clarity enhancements that involve glass and/or resin filling.


Q: Do you offer untreated gems? How can I be sure?

A: Yes, I do offer gems that are untreated. In some cases, the treatments or lack thereof are fairly easy to determine. In other cases, an outside lab would be needed to determine an untreated state. In other cases, gemstone treatments are impossible to reliably detect, even by a lab. Heat treatment of some gems is one example. I am happy to send my gems off to the American Gemological Laboratory for testing at a customer's request, should that be desired.


TRADE VS. RETAIL

Q: What does it mean to be a "member of the Trade," when discussing gems and jewelry?

A: This is a general term that refers to individuals who work within the gem and jewelry industry. Gem cutters, loose gem dealers, jewelers, and jewelry designers all fall within this category.


Q: Are the prices on your website wholesale (Trade) or retail?

A: The prices shown on my website, as well as the prices shown on special offerings (such as mailings) are generally the same for both retail and trade customers. However, small discounts can be offered in certain circumstances to verifiable members of the trade. If you are a legitimate member of the gem and jewelry trade, please feel free to contact us regarding possibilities.


BENEFITS OF PRECISION CUTTING

Q: What do the terms "commercial cut" and "precision cut" mean?

A: Commercial cut (sometimes called "native cut") gems are those faceted in mass-production facilities (assembly line fashion) or by individuals who cut the entire stone but with an emphasis on speed and weight retention.

Precision cut gems, on the other hand, are cut by an individual placing primary emphasis on achieving maximum beauty and precision of execution, regardless of the time required.


Q: What are the benefits of precision cutting over standard commercial cuts?

A: The vast majority of colored gems on the market are commercial, or native cut. There is nothing inherently wrong with this style of cutting. In fact, I sometimes purchase cut gems for recut, only to find that the original cutting is so good that a recut would not provide significant improvement. In these cases, I will often resell the gem as-is. Indeed, the skill of many such cutters is extraordinary, particularly considering the basic equipment with which they often work.


That said, the vast majority of commercial cut stones leave much to be desired. Symmetry is often poor. Facet meet points (or the places where facets join one another) are normally disjointed. The flatness and polish quality is normally sub-par, which leads to decreased "sparkle" or scintillation. Finally, the angles with which these gems are cut often result in "windowing," a phenomenon where light passes right through the center of the stone, rather than being reflected back to the viewer. This is sometimes done out of lack of knowledge but is more often done to best fit the rough and maximize the weight retention.


In addition to compromising the beauty of the gem, the drive for maximum weight retention usually results in a stone that faces up relatively-small for its weight. That is, there is "useless weight" that a customer is paying for but can't appreciate.


Precision gem cutters, on the other hand, focus a tremendous amount of effort on the quality of the cut. The BEST precision cutters also understand that the color and general aesthetics of the gem must not suffer as a result of the cut selection. I have a reputation for being able to manage that balance very well. The time it takes to properly plan and execute cutting on this level is extreme when compared to commercially cut stones, but those who have seen both side by side almost universally agree that the results speak for themselves. 


I utilize advanced computer modeling techniques to design and optimize faceting patterns to best fit the characteristics of each gem he cuts. He has at his disposal the finest precision faceting equipment available for cutting and polishing colored gems, allowing him to execute his designs flawlessly.