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Blurring of Lines Etc

All, My experience in the USA dealing, cutting, and repairing
gemstones has led me to the conclusion that I nor anyone else can any
longer describe what is a gemstone. Definitions, promotions, and
legal opinions have done nothing to clarify the issue. I find that
most of the people I speak to within the business now talk about “Gem
Grade” material more than about This shift has occurred to
clarify the communication as gemstone can mean anything, but “Gem
Grade” qualifies the communication. Gem Grade allows us to eliminate
all but the top 10% of any material that can be integrated into
jewelry. How a maker of jewelry integrates the material into a
design does not effect the “gem Grade” status of the material. If a
jeweler wants to take a gem grade pearl, tourmaline, topaz, diamond,
etc; and fashion it into a piece of plastic with twine and feathers
the material will still be “Gem Grade”. I use this term when talking
with others knowledgeable about gem materials to describe
tourmalines, sphalerites, spodumene, agate, jaspers, pearls, amber,

My own stock has over 5,000 custom cut cabachons and 1,000 custom
facetted stones. Out of all these I have 2 gem grade facetted stones
and 25 gem grade cabachons. All the rest are jewelry grade stones of
different qualities. All the rest of my stones do not command the
price, scrutiny, or passion of the “Gem Grade” materials. What is
the difference in price you might ask. I have many very nice agates
and jaspers. Most of them sell for $10 -$100. I have one that I
will only sell for $2500 and a few others that I have for between
$500 and $1,500. The first stones to sell at Tucson each year are my
"Gem Grade" stones. A fellow dealer sells only “Gem Grade” agates.
Last year at Tucson he sold out of gem grade agate slabs, polished on
both sides in matched pairs of 6"X6" Laguna’s at $2,000 a slab.
Gerry Galarneau