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Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to you?

athenaworth

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Don't get me wrong - I am in love with my new stone. I love it even more in my office lighting. But then when I told my jeweler how much I paid for it, he almost had a fit. I know that I paid for precision cutting (which is a big deal to me - I've discovered), but I wonder if it's really worth it to basically spend the equivalent of 30% more for something that's precision cut or returning it and looking elsewhere?
 

T L

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

When you're buying a precision cut stone, you're paying for someone's artistry, and not just a gem based on it's rarity/market value alone. Some lapidaries charge more than others if they have a reputation in the trade as well. This usually comes with winning lapidary awards.

For me, and others may disagree, I feel it's worth it if it's not a super high premium. While someone like Gene (precisiongem) hasn't won any awards, I find his cutting to be on par with other lapidaries that have won awards, and he's very reasonably priced as well. He just doesn't enter contests (that I know of). One of the most popular precision facetors here is Barry Bridgestock because he makes an excellent product that is reasonably priced.

While I do like the look of a finely crafted precision cut gem, I don't get into precision cutting that much. For me, it's the color of the gem that supercedes the cutting and not all precision cut gems have fabulous color. Fine color is a gift from Mother Nature, and fine cutting is the artistry/talent of the lapidary. I find it is more difficult to get the former than the latter, but others may disagree. For other people, they want precision cutting to supercede all other factors. For other people it's another variable, or combination of variables (carat weight, clarity, shape, hue, etc. . . )

I was recently at the Intergem show, and was shown a huge yellow sapphire cut by one of the most famous lapidaries in the world. I rather not say his name. The cutting was aweseome, no doubt, but the color to me was "meh." I much rather have had the shoddily done native cut stones with neon super saturated color in the same display case. However, for someone else, they would have grabbed the yellow sapphire above all other gems regardless of the saturation of color.
 

Jim Rentfrow

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

Another point I want to add to TL's is that most jewelers want to sell their own goods. So when you bring in a gemstone that you bought from somewhere else, no matter what the price, they will ALWAYS balk at the stone. A lot of jewelers try to use that sales approach if someone brings in an outside stone. They will then show you a similiar stone for much less money or a larger stone for "just a little more".

While this is not done as much now as I think it was in the past, I think its still a problem in the industry.
 

athenaworth

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

Jim Rentfrow|1307565701|2940962 said:
Another point I want to add to TL's is that most jewelers want to sell their own goods. So when you bring in a gemstone that you bought from somewhere else, no matter what the price, they will ALWAYS balk at the stone. A lot of jewelers try to use that sales approach if someone brings in an outside stone. They will then show you a similiar stone for much less money or a larger stone for "just a little more".

While this is not done as much now as I think it was in the past, I think its still a problem in the industry.
Oh I don't carry a lot of weight to what my jeweler said. He talked to me like I didn't know anything about anything (which really pisses me off). But it did get me thinking about things.
 

Pandora II

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

If by precision stone you mean one that is cut to a more interesting and complicated design rather than traditional faceting styles then for me it's not something I would pay extra for because it's not my cup of tea.

If you mean a stone with very good meet-points, a properly centred culet and no extraneous weight then yes I will pay extra for that.

If you like the former then it is worth paying the extra as you are paying for someone's skill and expertise. A painting is just a piece of paper with paint on it and not really worth very much, you pay for the hand that slapped the paint on it...
 

faegrace

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

Athena ~

Lots of second-guessing your sapphire??? Ultimately, only you can decide if a precision cut premium is worth it to you. It is such an individual preference. In my short journey, I have discovered excellent cutting is a must, butthen again, so is clarity, specific color, etc. I'm a reallll pain. ;-)

That said, PLEASE don't use what your local jeweler says as a barometer. :Up_to_something: Of course they'd rather you buy something from them.

~ faegrace
 

athenaworth

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

faegrace|1307566486|2940972 said:
Athena ~

Lots of second-guessing your sapphire??? Ultimately, only you can decide if a precision cut premium is worth it to you. It is such an individual preference. In my short journey, I have discovered excellent cutting is a must, butthen again, so is clarity, specific color, etc. I'm a reallll pain. ;-)

That said, PLEASE don't use what your local jeweler says as a barometer. :Up_to_something: Of course they'd rather you buy something from them.

~ faegrace
It's funny, I'm not second guessing the sapphire at all. I think it's AMAZING and I love it. I'm just worried (and this was my main fear from the get go) that I paid too much for it. I don't want to resent it later because of that. Which is stupid - but it's how I am.
 

T L

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

I suspect some precision cut sapphires have a higher premium than other precision cut stones based on the fact that you're paying for loss of rough twice. Since most sapphires are recuts of native cuts, because many countries do not allow sapphires to leave the country in rough form, you're paying for material that had a premium on it for a certain carat weight and for the original cutting on it in the first place. Then you're paying that same price per per carat on a smaller stone with an additional premium for the precision cutting. I don't know where the sapphire is from, but if it came from Asia (Ceylon, Burma, etc. . . ), it's likely that you are paying for that higher premium. Again, some people may feel its worth it. I think sapphires coming from Africa are allowed to leave the country in rough form, so if you were to buy a precision cut stone from say, Madagascar for example, it may be less of a premium.

If a lapidary wants to correct me here, or anyone else, fee free.
 

JewelFreak

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

PS has taught me not only about cuts, but how thrilling an excellent cutting job is. Like Pandora, I'm not willing to go the extra for a "different" or complex cut -- in fact, sometimes for me it distracts the attention from the other traits of the gem, skilled as it is. But good symmetry, meet points, well-defined facet edges send me to Cloud 9, or 15 or 20. So I'm willing to pay a reasonable amount more for precision cutting IF color & saturation, etc., also hit me in the heart. I'm picky -- that's why I haven't bought a lot.

--- Laurie
 

Jeffrey Hunt

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

Something I'm convinced is happening in the market place especially as larger companies scramble to embrace the green movement, (see current news from Las Vegas.) is knowing the source of your stone is increasingly becoming the acceptable norm. This is opposed to the anonymous commercial stone or factory cut stone - and your native cut. This factory gem, offered at attractable lower prices belongs to a slowly shrinking but important market share. The green consumer will help drive the demand for precision stones. This is only my opinion and probably not shared by many other vendors.

Precision cutters don't always know the source of the stone, because traditionally colored stones come from many sources - and basically anywhere and everywhere. For example, in Sri Lanka a couple years ago I observed an irrigation crew repairing a sprinkler system at the hotel where I was staying in Ratnapura. One of the crew was designated to wash the gravel being removed - for gem rough! It was simply part of ditch digging. Precision cutters do quite often know exactly where the material is coming from though. The premium isn't price - or even 100% the art - as much as increased and well defined ethical standards. Precision faceters are well poised to take advantage of this and is one of the huge benefits to the consumer here on PriceScope. Again, my humble opinion.

Regards!

Jeffrey Hunt
 

Arcadian

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

For those that are cut nuts, yes, its well worth the price to have exactly what they want. I on the other hand am only a cut nut when it comes to cushions. I don't care if its got a nice color, if the cut is off the deal is off. Put it in another shape its its all good, but cushions are a weird thing with me.

Irrational yes, but its my thing. I will spend the money to get a better cut stone WITH the color I want when its a cushion.

Like with many things, some folks will find somethings worth it to them and some will not.

A ford focus and a porsche are both cars, but one will sell at a premium and the other well...you know.....

I also know that in my area, most jewelers aren't going to be able to source the stone any better than I can. If they DO source it, they mark it up and I'm paying not only a precision markup but THEIR markup too. So do I source the stone on my own, get insurance while its being set and go on my merry way? sure! Better for me to cut out as many middle men as I can for my pocket book.

So do what works for you. If precision is what makes you happy then yes go for it, just know that you do pay the premium for it.


-A
 

MakingTheGrade

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

For me personally I think it's worth a reasonable mark up for a gem to be precision cut, because I think it shows the gem's color and quality to its best advantage!

I have non-precision gems, and honestly while the colors are gorgeous, I find myself not setting them because even though the color is grand, eventually I notice the windows or the extinct spots, etc. Especially when I have an AGS0 diamond or precision barry cut on my other hand! lol.
 

innerkitten

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

It's worth it to me. However I don't always find them to be that expensive in the first place.
 

Aoife

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

What MTG said.

I know "color is king," and even agree with it in principle, but you know...I kind of need both. Given two stones of equal or near-equal color quality, the one that makes my heart sing is the one that has a cut that sparkles and shimmers and that people walk across the room in a restaurant to see what that thing is on my hand, because the cut brought the gemstone to life.
 

MontageCreations

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

I can't speak for all precision cutters, only for my self, but there is little room in the market for recutting and adding value to the stone without charging a premium for the effort. TL said it best, mother nature gives the stones the color, sometimes precision cutting a native stone will enhance the overall beauty, sometimes it just adds to it's overall cost. For me, most of the time I just find it way too aggravating to go through the calculated effort to think it through, I will just buy the rough. It seems that no matter, how much of it I buy, there is always more rough available than I can purchase much less cut :naughty:

As Mr. Hunt said, it is increasingly more important for us to know the source, and unfortunately that too is becoming more of a challenge. One of my favorite dealers of African material, also sources mass quantities of South American materials for the Asian and European cutting houses. I find it of interest when I see a batch of citrine sourced in Brazil, wholesaled in Africa, cut in Pakistan, suddenly appear on the market as being 'from Pakistan/Afghanistan origin'. That's why when someone tells me of a new find of 'Amazingstone' coming from 'almost anywhere', I just have to wonder do we really know.... time usually tells.
 

packrat

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

I guess it depends. I had the two little green chryso ovals I got from Tan, and they weren't precision cut but man I loved them. But they weren't cut w/a wonky culet like I've seen on some, and they didn't have big windows, they were very nicely cut. Someone else gets to enjoy them now but I didn't let them go b/c they weren't precision.
 

ooo~Shiney!

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

I Don't Know !!!!!!!!
I can't figure myself out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :oops: :???: :confused:
 

PrecisionGem

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

Going along with what Jim said, ask your jeweler to match the stone. Tell him you want earrings or something. Then see how much he will sell you a matching stone for.

But then I can feel for the jewelers you guys are using, since it seems that you bring them a stone, and also a Chinese setting. What's the guy supposed to make his money on? It's like going out to dinner and bringing your own food and wine, then ordering water and bread.

About the cuts.... and I'm not going to get started on this, but years ago I sold pretty much exclusively to the trade. At that time, it was the more exotic cuts that the jewelers wanted. They didn't want rounds or supernova type ovals, they could get those anywhere, what they wanted were the unique cuts. These were then crafted into a one of a kind piece. The economy tanked, and jeweler are not buying as much as they are working through their existing inventory. Now my business has changed to mostly consumers, and they want simple rounds, ovals, cushions, and don't get too fancy with the designs Mr. Gene! The settings are all pretty traditional diamond halo's and the sort. I understand that this can often be a less expensive route than a custom piece, but they do have that mass produced look to them.

Last week in Harrisburg there was an art show, so we went for something to do. There were a few jewelers selling very custom pieces in 18+ kt gold. The designs were fantastic, very interesting, unique, one of kind. The stones for the most part were cheap topaz, quartz and other commercial goods. One couple was very interested in unique stones, but another said here work was all about the goldsmithing, and she had no problem putting a $7 topaz into a $2800 piece.

As a foot note.... I had to drive to Lancaster PA today, and it was 97 degrees out. All I could think about were those poor dogs in the 2100 puppy mills that are in Lancaster Co. PA. These poor things are baking out there, some in the sun with no shade. We have seen them come out of the mills with burns from the hot wire of the cages.
 

Arkteia

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

I am prepared to pay a premium for precision cut if the material is good. Some precision cutters have access to good rough and have a good eye for color, so it is worth to pay a premium.

All the more so that a stone bought from precision cutter would probably cost 3-4 times as much in a jewelry store.

But I absolutely refuse to pay for the name. Just because a stone came from so-and-so is no guarantee. You may still get a poor quality stone which can not be saved even by a fancy cut. One of my winter purchases was a very costly eye-opener and I am going to be very negative for a while.
 

Lady_Disdain

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

I have both a Richard Homer tourmaline and a Munsteiner amethyst, as well as 3 or 4 stones by Gene, another 3 or 4 by Ulli, my Mahenge was cut by Dan and a host of stones by other cutters. I really want a Dyer stone. Does that answer your question? :bigsmile:

Of course, the premium for cutting varies a lot between those but I appreciate fine cutting. Of course, a good stone should have a balance of colour, cutting and clarity, in my opinion. In most cases, I neither want a watery precision wonder or a neon picture window.
 

FrekeChild

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

I like how Lady Disdain described the stones themselves.

I can be a little bit of a cut whore (ahem) BUT I will only pay so much of a premium. I love Barry's cuts, and I'm always willing to pay his premium--I never feel like he's taking advantage of the customer, and I think he goes to great pains to price things fairly. I'd buy from Dan Stair, Peter Torraca, John Burleyson, Gene, etc...

The premiums I find to be too much? Richard Homer and Jeff White. I won't buy from them.
 

jstarfireb

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

FrekeChild|1307596776|2941395 said:
I like how Lady Disdain described the stones themselves.

I can be a little bit of a cut whore (ahem) BUT I will only pay so much of a premium. I love Barry's cuts, and I'm always willing to pay his premium--I never feel like he's taking advantage of the customer, and I think he goes to great pains to price things fairly. I'd buy from Dan Stair, Peter Torraca, John Burleyson, Gene, etc...

The premiums I find to be too much? Richard Homer and Jeff White. I won't buy from them.
Agree 100%, right down to the specific names. I'm also a precision cut nut. Now that I've discovered them, I hardly wear my old non-precision cut stuff anymore. I've bought from all of the people Freke mentioned in the first paragraph. But there are premiums and then there are PREMIUMS. I'm OK with paying a little bit more for precision, but there's a limit.
 

Indylady

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

Same as Pandora or JF--I'm not really into 'fancy' cuts but would pay the premium if the stone met the others factors that are important to me.
 

Quantz Studios

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

Being a cutter, I have to side on the fact that precision-cut gems should come with and should be accepted with their premiums. A realistic and reasonable premium of course... Native cut stones are mostly about throughput. Each one is usually cut in a manner to spend the least amount of time to get the most carat weight out of the inventory. Extra time is not spent on symmetry, aesthetics or finish. Not to say I haven't seen some wonderfully cut native stones- There are some truly skilled native cutters out there. But precision cut gems are almost the complete opposite. Until you've picked up a piece of gem rough and examined it, analyzed it for best orientation to get the best color and yield and seen it through each step in the cutting process to it's final beautifully prepared state, you'll never quite know how much artistry and craftsmanship goes into each precision-cut stone. I think that no matter what the color and clarity is, a precision-cut gem will more-times-than-not show off the gem's beauty the best. Nothing turns me off more than seeing a startling color, and examining it closer to find eye-visible blemishes, poor symmetry and a belly so deep it's girdle half-the-way down the stone. Well, maybe what turns me off more is seeing an expensive piece of jewelry with a stone that looks like it was cut with absolutely no attention payed to anything but weight retention. It seems disrespectful to, and unappreciative of these rare little gifts our planet gives us. To me, cut is always a factor is is worth the extra price.



***ETA: forgive me for my first post not being an introduction. I thought i'd posted in the past.
 

natsplat

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

Hi, newbie opinion here ;-)

Certain precision cuts are what got me into CS in the first place. I agree with Aoife, MTG and others that the cut shows the stone off to its best advantage. There are some more "novelty" precision cuts that I don't care for, but Barry's style and Bob Kast's style - ie the stones I have been irresistably drawn to and have bought! - I find just stunning, and more than worth paying a (to me, reasonable) premium for.
 

chrono

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

I am curious about the comment your local jeweller made; if he truly believed that you overpaid, can he come up with a comparable stone that is 30% less? Rather odd for him to be making that statement when I've never come across any B&M place that sells their gemstones for less than online vendors, for like quality gemstones.
 

athenaworth

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

Chrono|1307620999|2941510 said:
I am curious about the comment your local jeweller made; if he truly believed that you overpaid, can he come up with a comparable stone that is 30% less? Rather odd for him to be making that statement when I've never come across any B&M place that sells their gemstones for less than online vendors, for like quality gemstones.
He said he could. I should find out today.
 

T L

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

natsplat|1307612434|2941460 said:
Hi, newbie opinion here ;-)

Certain precision cuts are what got me into CS in the first place. I agree with Aoife, MTG and others that the cut shows the stone off to its best advantage. There are some more "novelty" precision cuts that I don't care for, but Barry's style and Bob Kast's style - ie the stones I have been irresistably drawn to and have bought! - I find just stunning, and more than worth paying a (to me, reasonable) premium for.
Honestly, Bob Kast is so inexpensive, I don't even consider him to charge a cutting premium.

Uli (osirisgems.com) is very very reasonably priced too.

With anything, if people are on a budget, they should shop around not just with gemstones, but with precision lapidaries. There are some lapidaries that I find to charge a huge premium on very mediocre material, so they seem less expensive (I'm not naming names), and there are others that I find charge very little on equal or better quality material.
 

deorwine

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

PrecisionGem|1307586420|2941271 said:
About the cuts.... and I'm not going to get started on this, but years ago I sold pretty much exclusively to the trade. At that time, it was the more exotic cuts that the jewelers wanted. They didn't want rounds or supernova type ovals, they could get those anywhere, what they wanted were the unique cuts. These were then crafted into a one of a kind piece. The economy tanked, and jeweler are not buying as much as they are working through their existing inventory. Now my business has changed to mostly consumers, and they want simple rounds, ovals, cushions, and don't get too fancy with the designs Mr. Gene!
Gene, thank you for talking about this because I had wondered for a while why precision cutters don't do the fancy designs so much. I'm actually rather surprised that consumers are not lining up for those. I had always assumed that cutters did the simple rounds and ovals because they were easy, and I'm glad to be wrong.
 

natsplat

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Re: Is the premium price for precision stones worth it to yo

TL|1307631460|2941636 said:
natsplat|1307612434|2941460 said:
Hi, newbie opinion here ;-)

Certain precision cuts are what got me into CS in the first place. I agree with Aoife, MTG and others that the cut shows the stone off to its best advantage. There are some more "novelty" precision cuts that I don't care for, but Barry's style and Bob Kast's style - ie the stones I have been irresistably drawn to and have bought! - I find just stunning, and more than worth paying a (to me, reasonable) premium for.
Honestly, Bob Kast is so inexpensive, I don't even consider him to charge a cutting premium.
I agree. But I wanted to include him - premium or not - because I think his precision cutting draws me to buy /consider his stones over native cutting equivalents. Lucky for me that I like a guy that doesn't charge a "premium-premium"...!
 
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