Gem Dealers, Gem Cutters and Jewelers

In response to the statement about gem cutters and gem dealers:

Gem Cutters can have stones cut overseas, represent other cutters,
and cut their own materials professionally on a full time basis. I
represent many cutters (lapidaries and facetor), however three of
them, who I have a great amount of respect for, do have gemstones
cut overseas as well as cut their own materials. Gem cutting is a
full time position for them and they are extremely professional. In
addition, I know of gem cutters in Tucson who represent other
cutter’s works, as well as their own. I have also seen professional
gem cutters sell their own work to the jewelers, as well as having a
nice jewelry line of their own. There are many gifted cutters that
can create beautiful jewelry, as well as gifted jewelers who can cut
their own stones. I don’t consider them having stepped across any
professional boundary. This industry is only enriched by these
multi-task individuals. I have never heard of problems arising form

Diane Sadel

Diane, I assume you are responding to a post that is the opinion of
one Orchid member that has his own ideas of what constitues proper
business “ethics”. The realistic perspective is that there is no
logical or ethical reason that anyone cannot be a gem cutter and a
metalsmith. The concept of doing both and crossing over any
professional boundary is a choice of persective that assumes that
the person posting is correct in their concept. There is no boundary
that I can recognize if a person sells stones they cut and sells
imported stones, and discloses this. There is no logic or rational
to me, just a stubborn streak to not be supportive about another
persons way to do business that does not hurt anyone. It is just a
purist perspective, and a personal choice of how to do business. If
it is a choice to sell imported stones to help finance your passion,
I support anyone who does this.

I believe that the poster has a right to his opinion and his
feelings. I know a man who is an attorney and a real estate agent.
Does that cross any professional boundaries? Do what you love, you
will know where you are by the response of your business community,
customers and wholesale dealers. There is a reason the poster sees
things the way he does, and I believe it is apparent to a lot of
the Orchid community. I personally see it as the glass is half empty
for someone, no matter how successful they claim to be. The
discussion about the general public buying from wholesalers, at
shows, on line, or any other way is valid and of concern as there is
a reality that we will be in competition, and supporting, the vary
people that take business away from us by selling at a price we
cannot match. “To be able to give generously and receive graciously
is a blessing to all.” Maya Angeleou (sp?) Richard in Denver

Hi, all I think the primary direction of Gerry’s original post was to
differentiate between gem cutters and gem dealers. I describe myself
as a lapidary and metalsmith. I cut the vast majority of the stones
which I use in my jewelry, and I do all of the metalsmithing. I
provide complete written on each piece to the buyer, and
if the stone was not cut by me, I state this, and indicate who the
cutter was (if known.) If the time comes when I use primarily
purchased stones, I will cease listing myself as a lapidary on my
business correspondence, not because I will cease being a lapidary,
but because that will not be the business in which I am primarily
engaged. There is nothing inherently illegal, immoral or unethical
about selling stones cut by others as well as stones which one cuts
oneself. If, however, you are selling loose stones and the majority
of the stones which you sell are not cut by you, your primary
business is that of a gem dealer rather than a lapidary or “gem
cutter,” and it would be (IMHO) misleading to represent your
business as that of a lapidary or gem cutter under those

The distinction is an important one. Being the artist who cut the
stone and/or crafted the jewelry has a certain marketing value.
There are individuals out there who represent themselves as artisans
when their hands-on involvement in creating the jewelry they sell is
somewhere between minimal and nil. Such misrepresentation devalues
the work of independent artisans who actually do sell what they make
with their own hands.

Lee Einer

All, Yes. I do have my own ideas about what constitutes ethics and
professionalism. Ethics is all about telling the truth -
disclosure. From that I mean it is not ethical for a gemstone dealer
to say he is cutting his stones when he is not. I have been
contacted by many gemstone dealers asking me to cut stones for them.
I have asked them all if I will get credit as the “cutter”. They all
laughed and said quite seriously - You are only a cutter and are
expected to stay buried in the background. I take the credit because
I am the dealer. Many dealers I know that profess to be cutters have
not cut a gemstone themselves in many years. Yet they still want to
be called the cutter because it gathers them fame and
accomplishment. I no longer give away to them credit that belongs
to me. It is not truthful to represent oneself as a cutter when you
do not cut the stones and it is not ethical. It is telling your
customers that you are something you are not only to increase your
own personal self esteem. When I sell items that are produced by
other crafts people I identify each item as being produced by that
person. When I do not know who made the item I sell it as produced
by an unknown crafts person. This line of reasoning applies only to
the market of selling custom items and not in the market of selling
mass produced items. In the custom market the name means as much as
the product.

To all you crafts persons out there doing business with out a
business license. You are operating an illegal business and are not
by any means Professionals. You are also taking very real chances of
being held accountable by the businesses and customers for which you
provide services. Most professional gemcutters will not accept repair
work from anyone except our most reliable customers. Insurance,
liability, and lawsuits are the reason. Anyone who has tried to
accept this kind of business has been threatened with a lawsuit at
one time or another. That is why professionals in business of
gemcutting do not accept repairs or accept them only after signing of
legal papers exempting the cutter from any liability in the cutting
or shipping of the item. It must be understood up front that the
damaged gemstone has only the value of rough when it is shipped to
be repaired and anything can go wrong during the repair. The
liability of the repair person is limited to expertise in cutting and
storage of the item.

As far as being a professional, I will not accept or practice
anything that I knowing do that violates a law or crosses the
boundary to the gray areas. I have turned down lots of business
opportunities that were in these areas. I am a gemcutter. Whether I
am cutting an amethyst, sapphire, ruby, or agate - I cut the rocks.
Cutting is my trade and I am very proud of my profession. As proud
as any jeweler or gemstone dealer.

Gerry Galarneau