Cut Stones Cost

Jeff R Graham shares his opinions on various topics in Just Ask Jeff. See his answers to Why is some rough stone like Topaz the same cost of cut stones?

2 Minute Read

Cut Stones Cost

Some rough is the same price as cut stones. Sometimes the cut stones are even a little cheaper. The main stone that comes to mind is blue Topaz, although Rhodolite Garnet is sometimes that way too.

As far as the cost of blue Topaz, I find that most of the rough sells for about what the cut stones cost. There are a lot of possible reason for this phenomenon, here are a few. The cutting houses are buying clear Topaz by the ton and getting the rough very cheap. Rough is sold by quantity, especially materials like Topaz that are in abundance. Of course buying tons of Topaz does cost millions of dollars, but they are working on a global scale.

Another reason. Blue Topaz is cheap is that the cutting houses are connected directly to the mines and often the governments of the producing counties. They have sweetheart deals that the average rough dealer cannot get. It is big business, I would if I could too.

Cutting houses often own their own treatment (nuke) facilities for making blue Topaz out of clear white Topaz. Because they own the treating plants, they are getting the treated material for a lot less money. Most rough dealers are buying from the treaters or the cutting houses that are treating their own material. If you are buying from the treater/cutting house you will not be able to compete with them, unless they let you. Believe me they do not let you.

Here is one that happens a lot and that most people are unaware of and it is actually very common although nobody talks about it. The mines and cutting houses often trade cut goods for rough stone, neither party is out actual cash money. In other words the cutting houses are trading their very cheap labor for the cost of the rough. They cut the rough on percentages and give the mine owners back cut goods, who in turn frequently dump the cut stones for cash (cut blue stones are easier to sell than clear white Topaz rough). The actual cost of the rough to the cutting houses is minor. If any cost at all.

Sometimes it is as simple as the cutting house are dumping stones for cash money. I could go on. My advice is buy the native cut stones if you can get them cheaper. But do not assume that rough dealers are making a fortune because certain kinds of rough are more than commercially cut stones, it is not true.

Jeff R. Graham

The late Jeff Graham was a prolific faceter, creator of many original faceting designs, and the author of several highly-regarded instructional faceting books such as Gram Faceting Designs.

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