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J.Grahl Design (Colored Stones)


I so look forward to the near future to go to the frolic. While I have only been faceting for a year now I find learning as much about everything and the continuity from the rough to the piece of jewelery worn and adored. I do believe as a student That a concept from rough to being worn is an art.
I have been told by other faceters that it is about the cut and how unique it is that makes the stone, valuable. If that is true then that is art. From thought to form and one of a kind is special and I hope to accomplish that someday.


Hi Scott,
In speaking about the value of faceted stones, I think your faceting friends are talking about their perceived value, NOT about current appraisal practice. The drivers of value are demand and rarity (low supply) and this depends above all on color and to some degree (different with different species) clarity and of course carat weight. Cut is in there in the valuation as to how well the facets meet and how good the proportions are and how good the polish is. But custom cutting has never been an important valuation vector. At one point several years ago the Guide (Richard Drucker) had some advice in an issue which basically added about $150-$200 to a stone’s value based on custom cutting. Faceters are not as organized as jewelers and haven’t organized to push custom faceting. I think Drucker and other valuation mavens would be receptive to an organization which pushed on the value of custom faceting. At present you are at the mercy of the appraiser and what he thinks. Very few people, customers or jewelers, have seen a custom faceted stone side by side with a commercial cut one and so they think that one faceted stone is about the same as another, while this is actually true only from three feet.

You can market your custom cut stones by giving the jeweler or customer a folder which shows the stones color, clarity, cut and carat weight and also a GemCad diagram of the cut and the cutting instructions. This shows how the cu differs from the standard and also gives the customer a way to have the stone recut or repaired in case of damage. If you romance the stone in this way, some folks will see it as valuable compared to the run-of-the-mill stuff. If you show your stones side by side with the typical commercial cuts, particularly under the jeweler’s microscope, they will understand why you ask more for it. There are also novelty cuts…initials cut in the table, ribbon cuts for the various ribbons for breast cancer, etc., the spider cut with the spider down in the culet of the stone, etc.,etc.

All this aside, custom cut is not an important factor in valuation and actually, some stones do better with a slightly less than ideal cut because a thick girdle, a belly in the pavilion and a high crown will yield more weight, regardless of the fact that they could detract from the stones optical performance somewhat. In the case of pale stones, a slightly less brilliant cut allows the stone to look darker and be graded higher.

With very good cutting available for $2/ct and the absolute top of the line custom cuts (to your design) at $6/ct, a faceter could make more money by using his superior rough buying skills and sending the rough out for cutting. the only exception to this rule, to me, would be expensive high end large stones where you might not want to trust the weight retention to anyone else. If the stone is $500/ct and you can save 1/2 ct, you’ve just gotten paid $250 for cutting the stone.

Forgive the rant, but you finally hit on a topic on which I do have some knowledge. Scott, if you want to come to the NC Frolic, get on the USFG faceters list, where news of the Frolic and all things related to faceting will be posted.


A good reason to open your mail…
Carved Green Beryl, Idar Oberstien, Unheated shield cut ruby, Thailand, (about .85 ct), some diamonds, 18K, sterling & forged stainless blade…
“Lion among the leaves”…


Hi Jim,

Simply mesmerising works of art. I am in awe with the details, the craftsmanship, the mechanism (the eggs) and the unbelievable effort that goes into each and every one of the pieces made by you.

Is is a pleasure to be able to even see the pieces (cannot actually say jewelry, as it way beyond that) made by you.

Thank you for sharing.



Thank you Kartik.
I appreciate your thoughts.
I just keep trying… I don’t know where “there” is… But I keep trying to get there…


Black jade (love the finish), Mother of Pearl, 18K, Plat. diamond & Deco…French matchbook chain.


Another beautiful piece, Jim!
I am curious about the design of the French matchbook chain and how the linkages are made. Google seems to be unaware of this chain style outside of your posting of the same on FB. Do you have any references or diagrams of the construction of the chain style? I would love to learn more about it.
Thank you,


Striking! I’ve never heard of a matchbook chain before. So much to learn. . .

Thanks as always for sharing!


The chain design looks like the tips of these matches:

It reminds me of a watch chain.


Hi Folks,
Quick & dirty, but here, in essence , is the construction format.


Over the Moon (Stone…)
Here is a piece I really like,a gentle creme color Moonstone in an 18K yellow gold Bamboo influenced framework, platinum details and a German silicon/rubber cord.
Tropical & easy on the eye.


Light play…
Idar carved tourmaline wings, fabricated 18K yellow, rubies and diamonds.


Thank you Betty2 for the image and Jim for the diagram. It makes more sense now.


Something’s fishy here…
Idar carved Bi-Color Tourmaline swimming through fabricated 18K yellow kelp with Green Tourmaline bulbs & a few diamond bubbles.
This is a pin that sits on a removable ebony base.
Circa 1995.


It’s not easy being Green…
Lot’s of greens out there, some tinged with blue, yellows, leaning a little left or right of the hue that “Gets” you.
This Columbian Muzo Emerald has that hue, the one that drives me deeper into the stone.
A very nice 3 ct + and very square example .
The ring, hand fabricated in 18K yellow gold and platinum with diamond details.
My great friend (See sapphire below) was doing a business stint in Ireland for a while He wanted to have a flavor of age Celt incorporated in the design. (he collects, his wife wears… been working out pretty darn well for over half of our lives…)


Goodness me Jim! That emerald is beguiling! Just exactly the right colour for my taste too. The ring you made to hold it is also beautiful.



Thanks Helen.
it’s a great stone.




Grey and overcast… with a silver lining.
Certain gems are hard to classify, though easy to define.
This , for instance, is a Precious Topaz, all natural, but kind of like those elusive animals
“only seen at night , on a full moon, every 20 years”
you (and I) have heard it before.
This is one of those, A silver hued, un heated or altered in any way and oh-so- subtle… it took months to find the rough crystal & have it cut to our needs.
A little pink sapphire to help define the color,
18K white gold and diamonds to continue the theme.
A vision fulfilled for a friend and budding actor with a flair for the unusual.


Hi, you made a ring " hand fabricated in 5 % ruthenium platinum, set with diamonds, Tsavorite garnets (green), and pink sapphires." you sent in a photo of it some time ago .

I noticed on the inside of the ring is an extra piece of metal. Could you please explain why its there and how you made it ?

I also enjoy looking at your photographs from different angles.
Your craftsmanship and design are beyond words for me. Thanks for sharing them.