Lapidaries are masters of the art of turning rough gemstones into dazzling multifaceted pieces or other forms. Professional jewelry makers as well as the general jewelry buying public may turn to these artisans for precisely cut gems for use in custom jewelry design. While expert jewelers like those you will find in our CustomMade galleries know how to evaluate the quality of a particular gemstone and a lapidary’s work, the average consumer contemplating a custom jewelry investment might need some help. The following is a list of lapidaries CustomMade has selected that offer not only exceptional service but also thoughtful educational information regarding gemstones and the gem cutting process that will help the consumer make an informed decision when choosing a lapidary.
Pala International stakes its reputation on gem cutting and works with some of the best lapidaries in the world. “Fine cutting is no accident – you have to believe – and you have to be willing to pay the price,” writes Pala President William Larson. “Cutting is the one aspect of a precious stone directly controllable by man, but fine cutting is rarely seen due to the cost involved.” If you’re not quite ready to believe, read the detailed but easy to follow explanations of “The Four C’s” of gemstone quality that Pala offers on its website (and now there is a Fifth C). Knowledge and trust go hand and hand, and you can read about the importance of clear communication in Pala’s business philosophy. Don’t forget to check out their featured stones gallery.
Facet Shoppe sells rough natural and synthetic gems and also provides custom cutting services. Makers can also purchase lapidary and jewelry making tools and supplies. The general public can find “getting started” information on the lapidary arts on its website that serves well as an introduction to the process as well as many gem related links.
Daniel and Cynthia Stair custom cut unique, natural, high quality gemstones from around the world for the best possible color and brilliance. We’ve previously reprinted Daniel’s sapphire cutting tutorial on our blog. Check out the photos of custom jewelry pieces that have been created using gemstones he has personally cut.
Whether you’ve been swept up in the sapphire craze brought on when Kate Middleton received Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring or are simply enthralled by the beauty of these gems, the Natural Sapphire Company is your source for high quality, natural, untreated sapphires as well as cutting and repair services. You can even submit your own rough sapphire for a free faceting evaluation and quote. Everything you ever wanted to know about sapphires, from how to judge their quality to their place in Vedic astrology, you can find in the education section of the company’s website.
Lloyd Forrester offers unique precision cut gems to discerning jewelers and gem lovers. To get a sense of his custom work, follow this transformation of an aquamarine from a rough stone to a beautiful multifaceted gem and view his portfolio of gems he has custom cut for his customers.
R Gems can provide wholesale precious and semi-precious colored gemstones as well as custom gem cutting, polishing, and repair services. Additionally, you can have gemstones custom carved into exquisite natural or abstract forms.
“We cut your gems the way you want them cut,” says gem cutter Denton Anderson. He can provide custom cutting, faceting, carving, repair, and inlay work, too. Take a look at his step-by-step process for creating a custom ring inlaid with lapis and jadeite.
Matt Dunkle and Lynn Disbrow sell precision cut gemstones and can also custom cut your own rough stone or one in their stock. Read about the art of faceting on their website and browse through their gemstone galleries.
John Bienia specializes in the “star halo” cut, which he can create in most medium to light gemstones in round, square, pentagon, cushion and triangle, or oval outlines/shapes.
John Wright offers beautifully succinct definitions of a lapidary and a faceter. A lapidary “cuts stones to show best color and clarity.” A faceter “cuts flat surfaces on stone to bring out fire and brilliance.” He can do both as a custom gem cutter for professional jeweler clients or as a custom jeweler himself. He has detailed walkthroughs of his work in both capacities on his website.