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Attention in a cut gem?


I have a question for the group. What do you find gets the most
attention in a cut gem, ie what shape, color, size, etc?


Craig wrote:

    I have a question for the group.  What do you find gets the
most attention in a cut gem, ie what shape, color, size, etc? 

At the risk of being ludicrous…and I’m not a cutter, and I
consider cutters among the highest of the artisan…

Shape, color and size…yeah…all are important… Some people
like color, some are fixated on size and/or shape…


Some stones “sing” to you…

It’s personal at times…

Remember getting a packet of small what was commercial EC
rhodolite…putting them under the light, and…two…(out of

Hello, little brothers……!”

Was the cut, of course…

Seen big ones, and little ones…

Don’t know if that makes any sense, but that’s how I explain it…

Gary W. Bourbonais
A.J.P. (GIA)


I take all “facets” into consideration before faceting a stone. If
one item is wrong for the cut, then it may not have a good end
result. I haven’t been doing faceting that long, just a few years,
but I know that you can turn a good rough stone in a poor quality gem
with out pay the right attention.


Unusuall cut and color, size? carat and above

Continue from:


i find american buyers usually demand fine proportions in colored
stones—stones with windows are difficult to sell, no matter how
good the color and clarity. sometimes it borders on obsession.

i can understand the importance of excellent proportions when it
comes to diamonds because reflection and refraction of light are the
only things a non-fancy color diamond can offer.

but colored stones can be very attractive even with no sparkle at
all. for example, cabochons have no facets yet they often display
beautiful color.

canadian buyers are either: (a) less knowledgeable or (b) less
obsessive about how well a faceted stone is made.

there are some buyers, regardless of locale, for whom the weight of
the stone is of primary importance. these clients usually have an
esoteric use for the gem and are concerned first with weight, second
with clarity and third with color. for these buyers, proportions
aren’t even a consideration.

i think there’s a buyer for any and every possible combination of
color, clarity, make and size----the trick is to match up your
inventory with the right buyers, otherwise you’ll always be told you
have the “wrong” stone but it’s really just the wrong match of stone
and buyer.

so i think your question as to which factor in a gem receives the
most attention may first require an answer to the question of: “who
is looking at it?”

best wishes,

Dear Craig

My two cents. From the customers (end user) point of view it is
always the BRILLIANCE, followed with the COLOR, then CLARITY and then
the CUT. But it is all preceded by the PRICE or the budget.

Anil Gupta

Bill, the points you make regarding the cut quality of colored
stones are correct. There is a market for almost every
stone…somewhere. But, like a diamond, when a colored stone is cut
properly, it will look look far better than a windowed stone, thus
substantially increasing its value!. The gem cutters of Idar
Oberstein have long emphasized the importance of cut proportions in
colored stones. For decades (perhaps centuries), they have used the
optical properties of individual gem minerals to determine proper
depth percentages, table percentages, crown angles, etc. And,
simply, that’s why stones cut in Idar-Oberstein are sold at well
deserved premiums. The stones that are cut the best will look the
best and command the highest prices.

Hi Craig,

Not sure whether you mean faceted stones or cabs, or both, but in
either case, beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Turn
my also-a-jeweler friend and me loose in a gem show, and she will
head straight for sparkly faceted stones while I go for subtly
colored cabs. Like Gary Bourbonais said, some stones sing to you (and
to your customers, if you’re lucky!) and it’s nearly impossible to
say why.

Personally, the big sellers for me are color and pattern. I love
stones that exhibit interesting matrix or have intrinsic patterns
(like fossil coral or palm wood and amazonite, with its white
stripes), but I also like unpatterned stones that are an interesting
color, like iolite or chrysoprase (an all-time favorite that is not
frequently seen, alas). I also like stones that “do” something, like
labradorite that reveals a hidden flash of color in the right light,
or even banded agate that seems to change depending on the viewing
angle because of the layers of transparent and opaque material in it.
Similarly, I only find myself attracted to faceted stones if the cut
is innovative and “does” something that isn’t usually seen. Rarity is
also a factor with some folks - I’m likely to buy a stone just
because I’ve never seen it before.

Keen to see other responses!

Jessee Smith
Cincinnati, Ohio

True comment per colored stones and Idar Oberstein. I have visited
the cutters in Idar and have purchased many stones over the past 20
or so years. I have always been willing to pay that premium as the
pieces I make are much easier to sell with a fine center stone. If
any one needs the names of some of the cutters in Idar, drop me a
note and I will send them to you.