Buying, Cutting and Evaluating Rough Gemstones

What to consider when considering buying rough gemstones and how to decide what cutting technique is best.

Buying, Cutting and Evaluating Rough Gemstones

  • Just Ask Jeff: How to dop rough for ideal yield. Using the Guiu dopper…

  • Just Ask Jeff: How do I figure rough cost?

    How do I figure rough cost? The basic rule of thumb for figuring rough cost is that there are five carats in a gram and if you figure an average finished yield of 30%. Then for every gram the rough weighs you will get 1.5 carats per gram finished…

  • Pyrope Garnet - saturated rough gems
    A Faceter’s Guide To Dark Saturated Rough Gems

    “What do I do with dark saturated rough gems?” Most faceters have asked themselves this. Here’s a piece of advice: avoid rough that doesn’t pass the white paper test. This test will give you an approximation of the color and saturation…

  • What rough gemstones can I make money on?

    I have heard some people complain about the cost of rough gemstones. Before you complain there are a few things you should think about. Well the first question that you should ask when you see a piece of rough is… What can I make on this…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Gem rough is expensive… Why? Is it really? How about some perspective.

    Gem rough is expensive… Why? Is it really? How about some perspective. The correct answer is that it depends on what part of the equation you are looking at… and your perspective. Here is a story (true) that illustrates what I am talking…

  • Just Ask Jeff: How does the supply of gemstones and rough actually work?

    How does the supply of gemstones and rough actually work? There seems to be a lot of confusion on how things actually work. Gemstone supply is a fairly complicated process as you may have guessed. Here is my experience on how it works and my…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Why is some rough stone like Topaz the same cost of cut stones?

    Why is some rough stone like Topaz the same cost of cut stones? 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…

  • African Paraiba Rough - 30.44 carats
    A Look At African Paraiba Tourmaline Rough

    During the early 2000s, a great deal of African paraiba tourmaline rough was mixed and sold with Brazilian material. Paraiba tourmalines were first discovered in Paraíba, Brazil in 1989 and caused quite a sensation in the gem world.  For a…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Why does rough cost almost as much as commercially cut stones sometimes?

    Why does rough cost almost as much as commercially cut stones sometimes? Ever notice that some commercially cut gemstones are the same price cut as the rough is, especially in small sizes? Yes you are right, they are often that way. Think that…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Common Sense Business #1 – Rough

    Common Sense Business #1 – Rough OK, this is one of my pet peeves… I will admit to having very little patience when some one does this too me. It was pointed out by a friend that I should explain to people why I and almost all other…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Does sensitivity (stress) exist in rough?

    Does sensitivity (stress) exist in rough? The answer is yes it does in some rough. But one of the major myths that people seem to believe is that you can some how relieve the stress in a crystal and keep it from cracking. I realize that…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Can I make money cutting that rough?

    Can I make money cutting that rough? This is an all important question for people that want to facet and make money. Surprisingly many people cannot answer this question or if they do answer the question they tend to be wrong. The first…

  • Choosing and Orienting Rough 

    Well I am back, and with a few tips on how to look at and choose faceting rough and the tools to do so. First lets go over a few tips on how and where you pick the rough in the first place. Now I know you are all asking yourself why on earth did…

  • rubellite - minimum cutting technique
    The Minimum Cutting Technique For Gemstones 

    We gem cutters would like our gemstone rough to be so well shaped that we could just dop and facet it. Unfortunately, the majority of rough doesn’t come out of the ground that way. Most of what the Earth offers us has irregular shapes and…

  • 9958464316_c4ccd245be_z
    Gemstone Care Guide

    Consult our gemstone care guide to learn the best cleaning methods for many popular gems. Most will respond well to warm water, mild detergent, and a soft brush at home. However, some gems do have sensitivities you should be aware of, particularly…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Simple orientation… Not always?

    Simple orientation… Not always? Orientation of rough is obviously important. It effects the yield/weight and often the color of a finished gemstone. However orientation is not always that obvious. See the piece of Aquamarine in the pictures…

  • Just Ask Jeff: How do I get the best yield from a crystal? How do I figure it out?

    Here is an example using a very nice piece of rough Aquamarine I had for sale. You should read this article… the example in it I use is this same crystal. What rough can I make money on? How do I figure it out? Item #: Large Aquamarine…

  • Just Ask Jeff: What does Siberite Tourmaline look like?

    What does Siberite Tourmaline look like? Siberite Tourmaline Locality: Nigeria, Africa This is very unusual material, I have only seen it on one other occasion and it was strictly cabbing grade at the time. This color in Tourmaline is…

  • askjeff-images-aqua_cry7
    Aquamarine Color and Heat Treatment

    One of the most popular misconceptions about aquamarine is that its color should be just blue. Most consumers do prefer a dark blue aquamarine color. However, natural, untreated aquamarine is gemologically described as a transparent, blueish…

  • The vendor of these specimens told the photographer which were real and which were fakes.  “Mix of Real and Fake Minerals,” Bangkok, Thailand, by Guy Courtois is licensed under CC By-SA 3.0
    How To Identify Synthetic Rough In Gemstone Parcels

    The vast majority of synthetic gemstone material is cut for the finished gem market. However, synthetic rough is also appearing more frequently for sale in gemstone parcels. Buyer beware: some synthetic rough is sold as natural material. In my…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Is stone size important when cutting for money?

    Is stone size important when cutting for money? No matter what you may have heard, size is important… If you do some home work and study the commercial stone market, you will find that in most cases an American cutter just cannot compete with…

  • Tourmalines are some of the best Afghan gemstones a beginning buyer can purchase. "Tourmaline Rough, Afghanistan."
    Buying Gemstones in Afghanistan: A Beginner’s Guide

    I’ve received many emails from military people stationed in Afghanistan or in the general region with questions about Afghan gemstones. Many are eager first-time buyers looking for advice. So I’m writing this article as a thank you to those who…

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