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Designer Cut Gemstones

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riogems

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While I think most people here value a good cut, do you think a designer cut gemstone is worth it?

When I say a designer cut (I don''t mean anything in particular like concave or any special cutting technique), I mean something cut by a professional cutter like a Richard Homer, John Dyer, etc... where they pay attention to every detail of the cut.

Pros - Designer cut:
+ Quality of cut
+ Uniqueness
+ It''s fun to know who cut the stone too -- kind of like knowing an artist who made a painting.

Cons - Designer cut:
- Price (it will always cost more, because designer time is worth more than a factory-worker''s time)
- Smaller selection

Regular Cutting Pros(+) and Cons(-):
+ Lower price
+ Availability - most gems are regular cut
- Overall Cut quality (lower quality polish, angle meets, etc..)

If you had the choice, which would you buy?
 

chrono

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I have mostly regular cut stones but a few "designer" cut stones. The difference is very obvious: perhaps it is the combination of the cutting skill and the rough chosen. if I had the choice and $$$, I''d take the designer cut stone. Then again, I''ll never turn down a regular cut gemstone if the cutting is decent and the colour is pretty.
 

innerkitten

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I don''t mind who cuts my stones. But recently I find myself caring more and more about the quality of a cut. I used to be more concerned with color and not so much the cut as long as the color was pretty.

perhaps someone can post some examples of what your calling designer cut and regular cut. Maybe good examples of both, and a couple bad ones too?
 

chrono

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To me, "designer cuts" are those by well known cutters like Richard Homer, Ben Kho, Barry Bridgestock, etc. Regular cuts are those unnamed cutters and not so well known cutters. There are some pretty good cutters who aren''t famous - I like Dan Stair. He cuts some unusual pieces but they seem well done.
 

Kismet

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I have a couple of stones cut by Ben Kho and the fact that he cut them certainly influenced my decision to buy those particular stones. It is nice to know who cut your stone even if the cutter is Joe Blogs and not Richard Homer. All things being equal, I would lean towards buying the name brand stone as opposed to the generic brand stone. :)
 

innerkitten

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I guess to answer your question ( because I didn''t really answer it before), no the name of the person cutting my stone would not influence my choice. It would be totally based on what the stone looked like.
 

riogems

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Date: 3/8/2007 4:28:23 PM
Author: Chrono
To me, ''designer cuts'' are those by well known cutters like Richard Homer, Ben Kho, Barry Bridgestock, etc. Regular cuts are those unnamed cutters and not so well known cutters. There are some pretty good cutters who aren''t famous - I like Dan Stair. He cuts some unusual pieces but they seem well done.


Yes, for example, I would include Dan Stair in the "designer cuts" category, because this is what he does.

I think I would have better represented "regular cut" as "commercial cut." There is a wide wide range in commercial cuts, and plenty of good stones too. I will try to find pictures to show what I mean.
 

Richard M.

Brilliant_Rock
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Date: 3/8/2007 4:55:49 PM
Author: riogems

I think I would have better represented ''regular cut'' as ''commercial cut.'' There is a wide wide range in commercial cuts, and plenty of good stones too. I will try to find pictures to show what I mean.
I''m certainly glad you qualified that! I was about to blast fire and brimstone. The issue of "cut" is maybe the least understood issue in the gem and jewelry world. I doubt there are very many people on this forum who really know what distinguishes a fine cut in colored gems. Diamonds maybe but not color. Most probably know what cuts please their own eyes but not the technical considerations that go into the cutting.

As for "commercial" cuts, there''s an incredibly vast range of qualities, from junk to superb. They often differ based on the source. Someone familiar with cuts and the market knows each source has its own style. It''s pretty easy to distinguish a standard Brazilian preform-faceted stone on the basis of style. That''s also true of what I call Bangkok "lens" cuts (many are so windowed and bulge-bottomed they make better see-through lenses than brilliant gems). Idar-Oberstein cutting, some of the best available, differs enormously from run of the mill stones cut in Sri Lanka or Myanmar (Burma). There''s a vast range of Chinese cutting, some very good, some very bad. There are offshore cutters who routinely and anonymously do cutting equal to many American "name" cutters. I know that''s true because I use them.

There are cuts based on style. Concave-cut stones, for instance, and several categories among them like Chris Alger''s, Dalan Hargrave''s, Mark Gronlund''s, Larry McCoy''s and several others (Richard Homer isn''t the only well-known concave cutter). Or fancy geometric cuts like Jeff Graham''s designs, performed by several cutters; or the Fantasy and other avant garde cuts of Berndt and Tom Munsteiner and many other German cut designers. There are many variations and choosing a Homer concave cut, a Dalan Hargrave art cut or another "name" stylist comes down to a matter of personal taste and budget.

Maybe what you''re getting at is whether buyers associate a "name" with quality or whether they''re able to sort the differences out for themselves. I think most colored stone buyers can tell a pretty stone from a lackluster one. Whether they''re willing to pay for the name to go with it is something else. Lots of people are willing to pay a lot more for that little blue Tiffany & Co. box. But there are also really well cut gems available that don''t involve a large cost premium.
 

strmrdr

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I think an important part of getting the best looking gemstones for your money is to develop a relationship with a dealer.
You can get more for your money in well cut commercial cuts that way.
That is what I do with Gary @ diamondexpert.com
He has the contacts and knows what I like.

There are several other dealers and cutters that are skilled and I know well enough to enough to quickly develop a relationship with.
Richard M. can pick my gemstones for me any day as can Wink Jones and Micheal E.

That said Id pay more for a stone custom cut for me by Richard Homer, Richard M, and Micheal E and other names both big and small.
But I dont have too if I dont want too to get well cut stones.
 

strmrdr

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Date: 3/8/2007 7:43:38 PM
Author: Richard M.

I doubt there are very many people on this forum who really know what distinguishes a fine cut in colored gems.
Its really not that different, proper angles for that material in a cut that works well with the RI and color of the stone with a well done finish and symmetry.
 

Richard M.

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Date: 3/8/2007 9:24:39 PM
Author: strmrdr
Its really not that different, proper angles for that material in a cut that works well with the RI and color of the stone with a well done finish and symmetry.
Hi Storm,

Well, yes and no. I didn''t intend to insult anyone but your comment takes in a huge range of factors. If brilliance is the goal (it isn''t always), you''re largely right. But knowing what "proper" angles and cuts are for many colored gem materials is more art than science (just as it is with diamonds, as you know if you''ve studied GIA''s cut report). Knowing when a given colored stone is cut to best effect isn''t always simple: there are many different subtleties to factor in, not least of which are the personal tastes and perceptions of the consumer. Some stones like emerald are cut mainly for color, so all the rules about R.I., etc., are set aside for maximum size and color.

Cutting color involves understanding how properties like pleochroism and lower refractive index will affect a given cut. Other major factors are the color tone and saturation of the material, light to dark. These are just not really considerations with diamond.

The clarity standards of color are very different than diamond, and knowing how to orient acceptable inclusions to be as little-noticed as possible without affecting other qualities is important. The strength of double refraction (and knowing where the optic axes are!) is very important in cutting gems like zircon, peridot and a few others, as are technical considerations like cleavage.

As I said, most people know when they see a stone that is beautiful and exciting but they may not always know what lies behind its cutting.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
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hey Richard,
I wasn''t insulted and thanks for the educational post.
I studied gemstone cutting(science not actual, hand nerve issues Id never make a good cutter) with Micheal E when I first started out here which is really what lead me to the study of diamonds.
I was kind of hoping you would go into more detail in reply to my reply.
 

BarbM

Rough_Rock
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Richard,

I live near Idar-Oberstein and have been looking into colored stones for a platinum tension set ring. Can you recommend any cutters to me to here in Germany? I don''t need a designer name, just the best value for my money.

Thanks
Barabra
 

Richard M.

Brilliant_Rock
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Date: 3/9/2007 4:30:34 AM
Author: BarbM
Richard,


I live near Idar-Oberstein and have been looking into colored stones for a platinum tension set ring. Can you recommend any cutters to me to here in Germany? I don''t need a designer name, just the best value for my money.


Thanks

Barabra
I believe you''d have a difficult time finding a badly-cut stone in any but the low-end super-touristy shops in I/O. Most of the major cutting operations are geared to the wholesale trade, however, and are spread out in many surrounding villages like Kirschweiler. Some, like the Munsteiners, operate retail ateliers. I''d recommend a visit to the Tourist Center downtown. When I was there last spring they offered a detailed book listing the various suppliers. Most are very specialized in a single type of stone: emerald, opal, garnets, whatever. But if you speak German, have lots of Euros and the time to make some preliminary phone calls, you should easily be able to find what you need. I found that by talking to various dealers I could get specific referrals to what I sought. Good luck!
 

Moosejaw

Shiny_Rock
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Since I am not an expert or collector...I have always found that buying a higher end stone from a known cutter has been to my benefit. I have seen it too many times, where someone buys a great stone and has to sell it back, or tries to trade up and the dealer doesnt even want the stone back.

The extra money for the name really does pull its weight in the aftermarket.
 

Moosejaw

Shiny_Rock
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Hi Harriet,

I did and it looks like a beauty.

Obviously the price isn''t scaring you...and it sounds like you want something pretty specific. It seems that Leon would have a very good chance of finding something spectacular, so I wouldnt be too afraid of purchasing from him.

If I were spending the type of money you''re talking about in that size of a stone, I would have a custom cut done to get exactly what I want. I believe you said you wanted a square stone? Like an asscher cut or square cut emerald???

I would contact Richard Homer or someone of that skill, and wait until they find the perfect sized rough, and request the cut you want. This way you won''t be paying as much as apossible markup, and you''ll get something exactly as you want.

Also...the rings I ordered from Maytal Hoffman are coming next week, so I can show you the work she had done for me...so you can compare to Leon.
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 3/9/2007 5:26:20 PM
Author: Moosejaw
Hi Harriet,

I did and it looks like a beauty.

Obviously the price isn''t scaring you...and it sounds like you want something pretty specific. It seems that Leon would have a very good chance of finding something spectacular, so I wouldnt be too afraid of purchasing from him.

If I were spending the type of money you''re talking about in that size of a stone, I would have a custom cut done to get exactly what I want. I believe you said you wanted a square stone? Like an asscher cut or square cut emerald???

I would contact Richard Homer or someone of that skill, and wait until they find the perfect sized rough, and request the cut you want. This way you won''t be paying as much as apossible markup, and you''ll get something exactly as you want.

Also...the rings I ordered from Maytal Hoffman are coming next week, so I can show you the work she had done for me...so you can compare to Leon.
Moosejaw,
Please do.
I''m looking for a squarish cushion cut. Is LM''s price/ct reasonable?
 

Moosejaw

Shiny_Rock
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I am unsure of the asking price of any stone Leon is asking...but it works like this...

I would expect to pay 1500/ct for an AMAZING color/cut/clarity...now when you start getting larger than 2.5+ carats the numbers go up dramatically due to rarity of large stones that are that great.

I am not an expert to speak to this subject, so would love to hear another point of view.

I would ask Richard Homer if he could provide a square cushion cut tsavorite in the 3.5 carat range and see what he says the price would/could be.
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Moosejaw,
I don''t want to threadjack, so I''ve posted more info on my thread.
 
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