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Feasible? Have unconventional/ precision cutters source and cut stone that isn’t in their inventory

Double E

Shiny_Rock
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Jun 23, 2018
Messages
317
Fellow experienced CS lovers, I wonder if any of you faced below situation and how you dealt with it.

What do you do if you are looking for a stone, with particular species, colour, approximate size / carat weight in mind, that you want it to be cut in some sort of unconventional / fancy cut, however it is not in any precision cutter’s inventory?

Is it feasible to request the cutter to source the stone and cut it?
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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37,921
I have done so several times:
1. Baby pink spinel in asscher style
2. Matching pair of blue spinel cushions
3. 5 ct spessartite
4. Red spinel

The vendor had to souce the stones since they weren't in inventory. Do note that in these cases, there is usually a non refundable deposit fee. Final size and colour is not guaranteed.
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 7, 2013
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I have had custom-cut gemstones from a number of lapidary artists in the past.

If I have something in mind and cannot see it in their inventory, I would e-mail and ask if they have any rough suitable, or add me to their shopping list when they attend gem shows to source them for me.

As already mentioned by chrono, it is not uncommon for a non-refundable fee to be requested up front by the lapidary artists to provide such a service, and for a deposit to be paid as soon as a suitable rough has been found.

I usually leave the lapidary artists to decide on how to cut a stone as it is what they do best, IMHO. I may indicate the type of cutting that I would like, for them to come back to suggest better alternatives based on the nature and optical qualities of the roughs.

Below is a snap shot of one of my own experience with Jeff W as an example. Please bear in mind that each lapidary artist operates differently, and I am not a new customer to Jeff W.

I wanted a vivid pink round Sapphire about 7mm for some time, and he did not have anything suitable. So he went looking for one for me at Tucson gem shows in Feb 2020.

He asked if I could communicate with him via WhatsApp (WA) in case quick decisions were needed to be made which was fine by me.

He found a finished stone within my budget, however, I did not like the colour being too pale. He indicated that it would be difficult to find one in my price range, so I upped it right away.

Straight away he went back to the stall where he came across a nicer finished stone that was outside my original budget earlier that day.

He showed it to me via WA, I fell in love with the colour, however, I could see a small window which he said would be addressed when he re-cut it.

The sale was agreed. I paid him the required deposit right away, and agreed on a payment plan for the remainder.

I left the cutting to him as always.

Another example of my dealings with Jeff W. I liked the look of a particularly type of square cushion cut as seen in his sold gemstone galleries for a blue Zircon and a pair of pink Spinels for a 3-stone ring. He suggested an alternative cut pattern that is more suitable for the blue Zircon, which was fine by me. The resultant suite of stones were very lovely.

Hope this helps.

DK :))
 

JackTrick

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Messages
406
Certainly possible to ask! But be prepared to be told no or have to pay an upfront cost for them to start sourcing/searching.
 

LD

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
10,036
Always possible but stating precise carat weight and shape of cut (especially if it’s an unusual cut) can be problematic because it depends on the rough. Are you prepared to compromise on any of your requirements? If yes then go for it. If you’re not experienced at this sort of thing then hesitate because sometimes a stone may come out different to expectations.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
317
I have done so several times:
1. Baby pink spinel in asscher style
2. Matching pair of blue spinel cushions
3. 5 ct spessartite
4. Red spinel

The vendor had to souce the stones since they weren't in inventory. Do note that in these cases, there is usually a non refundable deposit fee. Final size and colour is not guaranteed.
Thanks & glad to see there are some of members here with such experience, even more than once! I guess it might be more difficult with rare stones like blue & red spinels as you mentioned right? While I understand the non-guaranteed part of size & colour, may I still know what's the colour quality (saturation, tone etc.) of these 2 species that you finally got.

And the deposit upfront is understood and what I expected.

I have had custom-cut gemstones from a number of lapidary artists in the past.

If I have something in mind and cannot see it in their inventory, I would e-mail and ask if they have any rough suitable, or add me to their shopping list when they attend gem shows to source them for me.

As already mentioned by chrono, it is not uncommon for a non-refundable fee to be requested up front by the lapidary artists to provide such a service, and for a deposit to be paid as soon as a suitable rough has been found.

I usually leave the lapidary artists to decide on how to cut a stone as it is what they do best, IMHO. I may indicate the type of cutting that I would like, for them to come back to suggest better alternatives based on the nature and optical qualities of the roughs.

Below is a snap shot of one of my own experience with Jeff W as an example. Please bear in mind that each lapidary artist operates differently, and I am not a new customer to Jeff W.

I wanted a vivid pink round Sapphire about 7mm for some time, and he did not have anything suitable. So he went looking for one for me at Tucson gem shows in Feb 2020.

He asked if I could communicate with him via WhatsApp (WA) in case quick decisions were needed to be made which was fine by me.

He found a finished stone within my budget, however, I did not like the colour being too pale. He indicated that it would be difficult to find one in my price range, so I upped it right away.

Straight away he went back to the stall where he came across a nicer finished stone that was outside my original budget earlier that day.

He showed it to me via WA, I fell in love with the colour, however, I could see a small window which he said would be addressed when he re-cut it.

The sale was agreed. I paid him the required deposit right away, and agreed on a payment plan for the remainder.

I left the cutting to him as always.

Another example of my dealings with Jeff W. I liked the look of a particularly type of square cushion cut as seen in his sold gemstone galleries for a blue Zircon and a pair of pink Spinels for a 3-stone ring. He suggested an alternative cut pattern that is more suitable for the blue Zircon, which was fine by me. The resultant suite of stones were very lovely.

Hope this helps.

DK :))

Thanks for the share~Actually I am surprise you guys bought your stones this way multiple times. I believe this is not an approach that lapidary artists or precision cutters generally accept, not many, or as you mentioned, more probably for a regular & repeat guest.

You do provide me a clearer idea for how this could be done, e.g. get myself in their shopping list and wait for what they find in a gem show. I originally just thought they usually have more direct relationship / coordination with some mines or rough supplier, and missed the idea of a gem show occasion which could allow a broad variety of stones choice, as I've never been in one before. One stupid question, are there only finished stones available in gem show, trade fair etc but not for rough?

I do understand to leave the cutter some room for the final exact cut style. For me, I may allow even more flexibility on stones for pieces other than ring. On the other hand, What I think would be a bit harder may be that if a target stone is for a ring, as I usually prefer a round / near round shape, in which a shallow rough won't do. However, if I plan to make a ring, I will probably use sapphire that I really don't know how high will the difficulty be, just neon pink, purplish blue, parti are what in my future shopping list.

As for your zircon case, am I right to say that it remained a square / cushion shape with different facet pattern as suggested by Jeff W? I am happy to reply on the cutter in similar situation~

Your experience is really helpful^^
 

chroman

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 18, 2015
Messages
1,075
One stupid question, are there only finished stones available in gem show, trade fair etc but not for rough?

Not a stupid question. It depends on the show.

At, say, Tuscon, there’s everything and then some. Other places will be mostly just cut.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
317
Certainly possible to ask! But be prepared to be told no or have to pay an upfront cost for them to start sourcing/searching.

Thanks. A no is honestly what I expect normally, as several precision cutters look like or even stated they only accept custom order for lab stones.
 

dk168

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
8,772
@Double E gem shows vary, some have everything including finished pieces of jewellery or have semi-mounts available for sale and set there and then; some may have roughs only and some cut stones only.

As for my blue Zircon, Jeff used a different cut style very similar to the one I liked.

DK :))
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,921
The baby pink ended coming from an "native" cut stone and recut since rough material could not be found. It had to be deep and most pinks were too dark for what I wanted. I am pleased with the colour, size and cutting.

The blue spinels ended up being a bust. They looked fine prior to cutting but the finished product were too dark. I don't recall whether these were rough or "native" cut stones. The lapidary knew right away they weren't the colour I wanted and we came to an agreement regarding what to do with the spinels.

The spess came from rough, obtained at the Tucson show. Colour was what I expected and the size was a sweet surprise.

Red spine was a gorgeous colour and cut from a "native" cut stone the lapidary sourced. Unfortunately, there was an internal inclusion that couldn't handle the stress and kept growing. The stone eneded up half the expected carat weight. The lapidary kept me updated throughout the process and we came to an agreement regarding what to do with the spinel.

As you can tell, rough spinel in a specific colour and size is hard to obtain. All those that I commissioned ended up coming from another fully cut stone that the lapidary obtained aka not from rough material.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
317
Always possible but stating precise carat weight and shape of cut (especially if it’s an unusual cut) can be problematic because it depends on the rough. Are you prepared to compromise on any of your requirements? If yes then go for it. If you’re not experienced at this sort of thing then hesitate because sometimes a stone may come out different to expectations.

It’s very much understood. And I do realise from everyone’s posts in this thread that things could turn out not as expected.

I will be more willing to compromise on weight and cut generally, but colour. May be only the Professionals knows, which is easier to predict the colour of the cut or recut stone, from a rough or a cut stone?
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
317
@Double E gem shows vary, some have everything including finished pieces of jewellery or have semi-mounts available for sale and set there and then; some may have roughs only and some cut stones only.

As for my blue Zircon, Jeff used a different cut style very similar to the one I liked.

DK :))
Would really love to see pics of your pink sapphire and blue Zircon!
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
317
The baby pink ended coming from an "native" cut stone and recut since rough material could not be found. It had to be deep and most pinks were too dark for what I wanted. I am pleased with the colour, size and cutting.

The blue spinels ended up being a bust. They looked fine prior to cutting but the finished product were too dark. I don't recall whether these were rough or "native" cut stones. The lapidary knew right away they weren't the colour I wanted and we came to an agreement regarding what to do with the spinels.

The spess came from rough, obtained at the Tucson show. Colour was what I expected and the size was a sweet surprise.

Red spine was a gorgeous colour and cut from a "native" cut stone the lapidary sourced. Unfortunately, there was an internal inclusion that couldn't handle the stress and kept growing. The stone eneded up half the expected carat weight. The lapidary kept me updated throughout the process and we came to an agreement regarding what to do with the spinel.

As you can tell, rough spinel in a specific colour and size is hard to obtain. All those that I commissioned ended up coming from another fully cut stone that the lapidary obtained aka not from rough material.

Can see how tricky and hard it is to do spinels in this way. Spinels, rare, expensive. Are most of them oval or cushions? At least these shapes are what I found online most often, not the best shape I like, it’s a problem for me if I ever want one.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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37,921
Can see how tricky and hard it is to do spinels in this way. Spinels, rare, expensive. Are most of them oval or cushions?

All those the lapidary found and recut for me were ovals and rovals.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
317
Now we change the situation a bit. How about having the vendor who make your setting to source your desired stone. However, the requirements remain, particular species, color, approx. Carat weight while you still want it in precision/ unconventional cut?

This makes it one stop shopping. But anyone tried it? How did you / would you choose such a vendor? Or it just makes thing difficult doing in this way?
 

qubitasaurus

Brilliant_Rock
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1,381
I think you are going to have to ask, if anyone wants this service. And what it would have to involve.

PSers are unlikely to want this, as their list is going to be concentrated on what colour, what saturation, clarity and what tone the stones has as well as whether it shifts colour/saturation at all (as they're responses to you already indicate, they returned the stones which turned out not to meet their expectations on this list).

It might be well suited to someone who just wants an e-ring (but doesn't have any innate interest in coloured stones). But then asking on wedding forums is a better way to go, as their idea of fantasy cut is going to be very different as is their list of requirements (they may be more focused on timeline and care less if it has a lab report).

I guess then you have to establish if it is possible to get enough supply to reliably fulfill these requests, and how much extra will you have to mark up as you'll lose weight and profit trying to hit the desired parameters on the cut, and also holding a large enough inventory to have the right thing available. It would be a question of whether you could get enough stock, enough customers to maintain the inventory, and whether people would deal with the markup for being able to insist on their deisred parameters despite potentially ruining rough that could have cut a biger stone. Unsurprisingly I dont know many people who have this business model.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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If it is a common beryl, topaz, or tourmaline, having the vendor source it would be fine. If you want a very specific gem without treatment, a specific colour, cut, etc, good luck as your odds of striking the lottery first is much better. Vendors are usually dealing with diamonds and metals, not CS where they can move inventory much quicker since these are items the general public shops for.

With certain vendors, they might be able to source large unheated sapphires but in more common colours like blue and definitely not certain cuts like asscher, kite, portuguese, etc.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
317
I think you are going to have to ask, if anyone wants this service. And what it would have to involve.

PSers are unlikely to want this, as their list is going to be concentrated on what colour, what saturation, clarity and what tone the stones has as well as whether it shifts colour/saturation at all (as they're responses to you already indicate, they returned the stones which turned out not to meet their expectations on this list).

It might be well suited to someone who just wants an e-ring (but doesn't have any innate interest in coloured stones). But then asking on wedding forums is a better way to go, as their idea of fantasy cut is going to be very different as is their list of requirements (they may be more focused on timeline and care less if it has a lab report).

I guess then you have to establish if it is possible to get enough supply to reliably fulfill these requests, and how much extra will you have to mark up as you'll lose weight and profit trying to hit the desired parameters on the cut, and also holding a large enough inventory to have the right thing available. It would be a question of whether you could get enough stock, enough customers to maintain the inventory, and whether people would deal with the markup for being able to insist on their deisred parameters despite potentially ruining rough that could have cut a biger stone. Unsurprisingly I dont know many people who have this business model.

Thanks! Understood why there is nearly impossible for such business model to survive.

If the chance to get something similar to @dk168, a round vivid pink sapphire of a desired size is already slim, I think the biggest chance (if there’s a practical one) to do what I asking in this thread is to focus on color and loosen the other requirements, size, shape / cut etc. and leave it to the cutter. I am really not sure if this will allow me to get what I want faster compared with just keeping an eye on precision cutters’ inventory update. I have to think about this.

However DK’s case on that sapphire he successfully got from JW could already be very satisfying if it’s me:)

No unrealistic wish for a top spinel if you ask me, which I believe many of you would agree.
 

qubitasaurus

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
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1,381
Thanks! Understood why there is nearly impossible for such business model to survive.

If the chance to get something similar to @dk168, a round vivid pink sapphire of a desired size is already slim, I think the biggest chance (if there’s a practical one) to do what I asking in this thread is to focus on color and loosen the other requirements, size, shape / cut etc. and leave it to the cutter. I am really not sure if this will allow me to get what I want faster compared with just keeping an eye on precision cutters’ inventory update. I have to think about this.

However DK’s case on that sapphire he successfully got from JW could already be very satisfying if it’s me:)

No unrealistic wish for a top spinel if you ask me, which I believe many of you would agree.

Usually anything is manageable or negotiable if you are willing to pay enough for it. They will simply probably cut up a bigger stone (but this carries risks to the cutter, as well as making you ultimately pay for ct weight you never recieved. So it generally will make the price tag stratospheric bit it is always going to be doable). Otherwise usually people are happier when they settle on one to two parameters (I.e. colour, untreated, budget) and then see what's available.

Usually better to search inventories first for a while, as you might end up being surprised -- for instance you may discover that the colour almost always concentrates in the pointy tips of the fantasy cut giving it uneven colouration, or that people need to put these tips in v-shaped prongs to prevent wear and tear damage ultimately limiting the ring designs and jewelers you can use. Also in some types of stones they're going to be easy enough to get, as the rough grows in a particular crystalline structure. In others they'll be helishingly expensive particularly in a big size, as the crystals don't grow that way. It is pretty common to see people change what they want several times throughout this process as they work some of these things out.
 

Double E

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
317
Usually anything is manageable or negotiable if you are willing to pay enough for it. They will simply probably cut up a bigger stone (but this carries risks to the cutter, as well as making you ultimately pay for ct weight you never recieved. So it generally will make the price tag stratospheric bit it is always going to be doable). Otherwise usually people are happier when they settle on one to two parameters (I.e. colour, untreated, budget) and then see what's available.

Usually better to search inventories first for a while, as you might end up being surprised -- for instance you may discover that the colour almost always concentrates in the pointy tips of the fantasy cut giving it uneven colouration, or that people need to put these tips in v-shaped prongs to prevent wear and tear damage ultimately limiting the ring designs and jewelers you can use. Also in some types of stones they're going to be easy enough to get, as the rough grows in a particular crystalline structure. In others they'll be helishingly expensive particularly in a big size, as the crystals don't grow that way. It is pretty common to see people change what they want several times throughout this process as they work some of these things out.

I understand your logic, willing to pay more and starting with a bigger stone or rough. But I also see how tricky it is to estimate how much more one has to pay as the size of the start stone is hard to predict until you found one. and colour, it's still something that can't be guaranteed, unless I choose a finished stone.

I actually saw some hot vivid pink stones (yes at the moment, pink is the color that's most appeal to me~) from previous or current inventories from some precision cutters, just most of them have been a bit too purple than my ideal colour. several are pink sapphire, with only one or two were spinels.I wonder if I should be less picky on colour actually, say sapphire, have no idea how rare already is a pink one with hot vivid colour, that should I just grab it next time I see one and let go for whether it's secondary hue is ideal to me?

As for that 1 or 2 spinels, what I saw is just a photo which looks good in full spectrum lighting. I am not sure the the quality grade of it, e.g. jedi or not, clarity etc. but from Mahenge. I didn't approach to enquire as it's a stone that's been sold previously. What I wanna bring out is that similar spinels have rarely been seen on their inventory if any.

I would guess it's rarer than pink sapphire and just so rare for a precision cutter to get top spinel roughs considering their rarity, and they usually are not able to buy 1 rough or 2, but a whole lot which is expensive, with a certain or large part of the roughs are of low / lower quality, and resulting in slow inventory movement, right? However, isn't the principle the same for sapphire / more particularly pink sapphire which they hardly get that hot pink? If this holds true, then I am a bit hopeless to finally see a ideal one from them...
 
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