Asian Faceting Methods

All, Often I hear about how backwards techniques of faceting and
treatments of gemstones are in Asia. I would like to give you a few
of my observations over the last 25 or so years. First on faceting.
I am convinced that most Asian large commercial faceting companies
are no longer using jam peg machines. They are using modified
facetors based upon the Lee facetor design and Imahashi machines. I
base this upon talking with many stone dealers that travel to Asia
two or three times a year and visit directly with the companies. I
have recut thousands of stones cut in Asia and have found most are
cut on indexed machines. In my opinion you are much more liable to
find a jam pegged stone coming from Brazil or Africa than Asia. When
the CZ Cutting Industry crashed about five years ago I was offered
150 Imahashi machines from Korea that were used in the CZ Industry.
Someone in Sri Lanka ended up buying them.

As far as treatment of gemstones goes. The common perception is
that Asian Treaters are still using charcoal ovens and using
experience as their only guide for treatments. Nothing could be
further from the truth. Most of the major treaters are using state
of the art equipment and trained scientists to work on the stones.

Over the years billions of dollars has flowed into Asia gemcutting
businesses from the USA and Europe. To think that Asian gemcutting
businesses are backward is wrong. They are state of the art. Asian
gemcutting is focused differently from the gemcutting perception
European and US cutters are trying to foster. Meet point and exact
proportions are not always the goal with expensive and rare material.
Just my observations.

Gerry Galarneau
G+LW Gem Mall Booth 111, Feb 1-14, 2003

Dear Gerry, At long last I can agree with nearly everything you have
written in your latest epistle regarding foreign cutters. Anyone who
thinks that the Asian cutters should be characterized as being
backwards and sloppy is self deluded. They are the dominant players
in the industry and they are very professional and competent. As for
technology, I think it is important to recognize the fact that jamb
peg faceting is still an important player in some countries. A good
jamb peg cutter can cut circles around high tech cutters. The
problem is that there are not many really good jamb peg cutters
because it requires a great deal more skill and experience to be
really good. One of the reasons that high tech machines are
prevalent is that they are comparable to “paint by numbers"
techniques. If you can master the manipulation of the indexing head
and read a cutting diagram you can produce a perfectly cut gem. In
other words, just about anybody can be trained to facet a gem with a
modern machine, while very few people can truly master a jamb peg
device without having exceptional aptitudes and experience. Today’s
postings on Orchid included an offering of the new book titled
"Secrets of the Gem Trade” The author makes the contention that the
jewelry business is roiled in a sea of change that will result in
the demise of the conventional jewelry store. It is also apparently
his contention that the antidote to this trend is the marketing of
connoiseur I heartily disagree with this in that it is my
belief that custom jewelry is the way to go. By this I do not mean
that one should burrow in on high ticket artsy fartsy exclusive
creations. It is my belief that we should concentrate on product
that is geared to the “holistic” needs of the customer. By this I
mean that one should take into consideration the paramount need of
the client to create something personal while at the same time one
stears the product toward affordability. The connoiseur market is
limited to fat pocketbooks and everyone wants to get in on the easy
money high ticket trade. The industry is over supplied with mountains
of look alike, shoddy and gimmicky merchandise. Much of it is doomed
to self destruction after very little wear and some of it is made
from paper thin gold and abrasive grade diamonds. My wife and I have
noticed this same phenomenon in various department stores in their
clothing departments. There are literally miles of racks of same-o
same-o crap that is often falling apart before being worn and is
totally lacking in style. This years’ Christmas season was very
different compared to previous years. Our case of cash and carry
quality goods went unnoticed while our custom orders were rampant.
It was a good season, but it was altogether a departure from the
past. I am taking my cue from this experience and will now burrow in
on customizing. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA