A well cut stone will have the edge chamfered, as someone has
already pointed out, to prevent chips. I don't know how jewelers who
aren't lapidaries deal with the problem of poorly cut stones. Most
cutters don't have a clue about setting stones. Well cut stones are
difficult to sell since most consider the price as the most
important factor. So it's a more limited market.
Kevin, As someone who grew up loving minerals and pretty rocks and
has grown into a fairly decent (and still learning) silversmith, I
have no trouble finding more than enough cabs that are properly cut.
(Of course, there is no such thing as too many stones.) We simply
don't buy poorly cut stones.
My dear friends Judy and Anne tutored me well. When we find a
lapidarist who has beautiful material but whose cutting is too domed,
straight-sided or not chamfered we let them know why we won't buy
from them. We draw a cross-section of what we consider the proper
cutting, explain why we need these parameters, how we use stones in
our jewelry (we always have some on for demonstration) and ask if
they are interested in enlarging their customer base.
We have between 20 and 40 lapidary artists we purchase our stones
from - and that's not counting the high-end, Idar-Oberstein types.
those of you looking, Michael Hendrix of Minarex does beautiful work,
as do Dikra, Vern of V&E Gems, Donald Olsen, Sunwest, Clam Shell,
Tony & Dolores Worth, and more. Their stones are beautifully cut,
polished flawlessly and ready to be incorporated into jewelry.
And, in the end, I pay between $5 and $40 per stone. On average it
works out to about $13 per stone and I can afford to set beautiful
stones into sterling designs and make money doing it.
Denver - there's still snow in my front yard...