Dear Terry, Sorry to have touched upon a sore spot with you. My
comments certainly weren’t intended to demean anybody’s choice of
cutting materials. Nonetheless, the material in which you invest your
labor and skills automatically demeans your efforts if it has little
or no intrinsic value. C.Z.s can be purchased in well cut stones for
as little as a dollar a carat…less in quantity. It usually takes
many hours for a cutter to produce a quality cut using modern
equipment. Foreign cutters can often cut much faster and just as well
using the jamb peg method ( this method actually takes much more
skill than using conventional modern equipment, but it takes a lot of
talent to be able to reach that level of skill. ) Commercial cutting
in various foreign venues can be had for approximately eighty cents
per carat. Cutting here in America usually starts at about
Twenty-five dollars for the first carat and somewhat less thereafter.
Assuming that you are cutting a one carat C.Z. it follows that you
should get twenty-five dollars for the stone and possibly more for a
very fancy stone. The value of the material is inconsequential. At
this rate you are probably earning somewhere between five and ten
dollars per hour. Suppose, on the other hand, that you are cutting
some nice Amethyst. In this case you are going to be able to charge
significantly for the value of the material along with a fair stipend
for your cutting. Your chance of being generously compensated for
your efforts increases by virtue of the fact that a profit can be
realized by upgrading the value of the rough. If you buy your rough
at a good price, your profit potential is potentially astronomical.
Yes, I am afraid that I would have to continue to suggest that C.Z.
,as well as most lab created stones, are definitely “pretend” gems. I
would never dream of denying their individual beauty, but they
certainly can’t be construed to be rare or precious. History has
taught us that mass production inevitably results in lower prices.
Without belaboring the issue, I recently had an interesting
experience which points out what I am talking about. Two ladies came
to me wanting custom mountings for their loose stones. One of the
stones was a ho-hum Citrine and the other was a terrible Ametrine.
Both of the stones were stunningly cut…perfect in every detail. I
mounted the Citrine as a pendant, but I suggested to the other lady
that she might not want to spend money on a mounting using a stone
with little or no value. Not only did the stone have the worst
possible color ( or lack thereof ) , there was a feather running from
girdle to girdle through one third of the diameter. The poor lady had
spent one hundred fifty dollars for a stone that had no intrinsic
value ! The moral of the story: you can’t make a silk purse out of a
sow’s ear…corny, but ever so true ! Ron at Mills Gem,
Los Osos, CA.