This has been a problem for decades, and not just in Toronto. South
of the border, worse. The retail establishment wants to charge
customers $12.00 - 20.00 per stone to make a generous spread beyond
their cost. The wholesale end of the trade gets beaten down to a
minimum, so they employ minimally-skilled labour to plug holes with
diamonds and say a few hail marys.
The end result is that nobody is happy because they are all
adversaries. The race to the bottom has produced no winners. The
setters aren’t proud of their work, the wholesaler handles
complaints all day, and the retailer is afraid to use an ultrasonic.
The paying customer shells out large dollars in good faith, and
winds up disappointed when settings fail.
When all the $1.00 per stone people have quit their jobs to do
janitorial work for higher wages, the fellow who invested in his
career will be able to charge what he wants, and the entire trade
will be better off for it.