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Quality Stones

I shop for quality - not price. I’m sick of buying 4mm stones and
getting 3.75 or 3.8 - buying 5mm and getting 4.75 or 4.8. When I’m
designing a ring that requires a 4mm or 5mm stone, I expect the
stone to be the size I’ve been told it is - not somewhere "around"
that size. I’ve been working with my “good deals” from Tucson and
finding that they weren’t such good deals after all. Enough crap for
me - I want quality and I’m more than happy to pay for it… I’ll
take quality over price any day. You get what you pay for…Screw
price - I want good quality.

Don’t ask… it hasn’t been a good day…


If you have a reliable and accommodating source for your stones,
either diamond or colored goods, they should provide you with the
exact mm sizes you are ordering.

Try specifying that they calibrate the stones by selecting them with
a leverage gauge. This is preferable to just sieving the stones,
which allows some smaller sizes to pass through the holes along with
the desired size. Explain to them that your particular projects
require the stones to have identical measurements. It is entirely
possible to get them sorted and packaged this way.

If your supplier doesn’t wish to accommodate your request then
locate another source to purchase your materials from. Sometimes the
merchant will want a slightly higher price per carat for the extra
time involved, but it is usually well worth the price difference when
you get to the setting bench.

Michael David Sturlin

Continue from:

Me too!!! When I order a certain size stone(s), its because thats
what I need. If I needed a 3.8mm, instead of a 4.0, thats what I
would have asked for. Thats the way it used to be, but the bigger
companies have become(a few in particular come to mind) so chincey,
that I have shifted a respectable % of my business elsewhere. When I
need commercial grade junk, I still call the same old haunts out of
convenience, but I have taken my better grade needs elsewhere. When
the big guys cannot fill a lowend order accurately, it makes me
pretty jumpy to ask them for the better pieces. Unfortunately, I
know that my orders wouldn’t even be noticed if I stopped everything

Ed in Kokomo

 it hasn't been a good day.. 

catherine, i feel your pain: went out two days ago to retrieve the
almost finished commissioned pieces, plus some labor intensive
carved 200+ year old ivory work i did for other designs, from my
partner’s car. car not there. car taken for repairs by partner’s
tenant who ‘manages’ rental units partner owns. car returned but not
the jewelry. everyone pleads ignorance. not insurable circumstances.
i had not even had the chance to take pictures of the work for my
files. have to return more than $3000.00 along with hardest part:
explaining to my clients. there’s never a place high enough to jump
from in florida!

this a couple of weeks after my former spouse’s funeral.


who knows that the best method to turn a spouse into a good friend
is divorce.

You’re getting stones cut by eye, probably on a jam-peg machine,
where the cutters don’t use a loupe, optivisor, or calipers when

The only way to pump out 10-20 stones a day so they can be sold
cheaply is to not check all the things that should be checked when
cutting (symmetry, meetpoints, etc), cut and polish the girdle, and
give it a fine polish about 14k. Not to mention they will all be
cut for weight retention since they are sold ‘per carat’ which often
makes for a very bland looking stone.

I saw a necklace on some jewelry channel the other day, 250+ carats
of aquamarine. They showed the girl wearing it and you could see
through almost every stone, NO flash or brilliance. It was


You have to admit price is attractive. Although, I’ve noticed the
clever (more successful) jewelers do not care as much about price,
but rely on service.

Reliability has made Stuller what it is today, and if more dealers
would follow this model, they would have much more repeat business.

Although price will continue to seduce.

Ed Cleveland
303-882-8855 (online prices are key)

Actually, I’ve come to learn that price is usually an indication of
the quality you are going to get. If it’s priced cheap, I usually
turn around and walk away, because chances are there’s a reason it’s
cheap. Good and cheap just don’t go hand in hand in this business -
and I’m completely fine with that. I always laugh when I hear people
ask "Where can I get some top quality stones really cheap."
Ummm…hello?? - nowhere - but I can refer them to where they can
buy top quality stones at a fair market price. I asked a while back
about Emeralds and the going price because I’ve never shopped for
them before and the prices were all over the board as far as quotes
I was getting and I wanted to know the market price. But I’m always
looking for quality first - price second. If it’s something I think
I can use and sell, I will buy it. If it’s too much and I think I’ll
have a hard time getting my money out of it, it goes on my wish

The majority of the stones I bought in Tucson were of very good
quality and probably pretty expensive - but they were unique, well
cut and of hard to find materials. It’s the handful of stones I
bought on an impulse because the price was attractive (and I was
probably tired…) that I could kick myself for. I’m sure I’ll find
some use for them, but they will have to be for special products,
where the main focus is not the stones. And realistically I can’t
complain, because they were inexpensive and I did get what I paid

I just don’t think good and cheap are words that really go well
together in this business.

Catherine, Well said! If it sounds like too good a deal it probably
is. The market does have many levels. If you want competitive
prices Tucson is a good place to shop. Tucson is also an excellent
place to develop the knowledge necessary to know a good deal when
you see one.

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