I feel like I start off every blog by apologizing for not posting my once a week post. I’ve been so busy (knock on wood) that I’ve fallen behind. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working on my blog. A lot goes into preping my blogs. I’ve developed a system I go by that involves showing you step by step photos of the labor process that goes in to my work. I usually take about 20-30 photos with my HTC EVO. Funny enough it’s from my camera phone but the technology on cellphones have come a long way and they rival any standard digital camera out there. I then transfer all the photos on to my computer and touch up the resolution of photos on Adobe Photoshop. It’s a process and a half but it’s worth it if I’m getting my point across to my readers. In order to deliver the goods, you have to keep the high standards and keep improving on each blog post.

Now, on to the business end of my blog. So I get these two matching pair, 14mm round Tanzanites the other day from a customer of mine that wanted to have it cut into a special fancy cut. If you want a nice and easy breakdown on Tanzanites, please click on the link ‘here‘ from a previous blog post I wrote a while back. Other then that, take a look at these beauties of a Tanzanite.

For people who don’t realize how hard it is to match certain stones, let alone to find 14mm round matching Tanzanites, in this quality, just do me a favor and appreciate the rarity of these images and good luck finding two matching stones like these in this size.

These images don’t do any justice to stones like this so I took a bunch of pictures to show off that nice blue with a hint of purple color these beauties give out.

The last two photos is a shot of the pavillion. What the customer wanted me to do is cut these Tanzanites into a domed, almost ball-like shape, matching 11mm pairs. This is where the title of my latest post comes into play. Tanzanites are expensive and when I’m asked to cut them into some fancy domed cut, the stone is going to lose a lot of weight. It’s called a massacre in my book, hence the title but the outcome is beautiful. If you’re still lost, continue looking at the next photos and you’ll see the process unfold and you’ll get what I’m talking about.

I glued the Tanzanite upside down on the dope stick in order to get the domed look because the pavillion is where all the weight is held.

The first thing I did was to cut the size needed so it can fit into the custom earring being made for the Tanzanites. I trimmed it down to 11mm from the original 14mm. As you can see, I now have space to pre-form the stone into a domed shape before I start cutting in the facets.

So I rounded out the Tanzanites with a the biggest dome I can get out of the stones and added the facets. It’s sort of free form but it resembles a Portuguese cut.

This is the polished and finished product. They don’t look like they don’t match but I promise it’s from the picture.

You’ll see a series of photos from different angles so you can get the complete show of these beauties.

The thing with Tanzanite, for example is that 85% of the stones you get look like a 5carat stone from the top/table but when you put it on a scale it reads 9 carats. The high concentration of mass is sitting in the butt (pavillion) of the stone and as a result emits a killer blue-purple color.

Cutting the Tanaznite bottom heavy, retains the color in most cases. My customer was aiming for a ball shape and was hoping to retain most of the original color from before I cut into them. He lost about 10% of the color but nowhere else in the world do these Tanzanites get cut like this.

What was the top of the stone, the table has now been demoted to the bottom of the stone.

I used a little flash to bring out that killer color I’ve been raving about. Imagine these matching pairs in natural day light and how much attention it’ll attract for it’s owner.

Now I thought this was the finished product and my customer was happy with it but when he started to make his earrings, he wanted the girdle area more rounded and faceted. This is why this blog has been lagging.

So I rounded out the girdle and continued the facet patterns.

The original size was a size 14mm and in order to get that dome for the Tanzanites to sit in the setting, I cut it down to the biggest size possible, which was an 11mm and rounding out the girdle, the millimeter size dropped to a 10.8mm.

On a final note, projects like this excite me and always keeps me on my toes. It’s out of the ordinary jobs like this which makes what I do different form the same daily grind the most people go through. I’ve been working on this onyx piece that just keeps breaking on me where I have to carve into it and inlay this shield emblem. Yes I cursed when it broke but in the end, it’s a trial and error process which helps develop new tools and techniques that can be utilized for future projects. It’s  a learning experience and I am always willing to learn something new. Hopefully by Monday, I’ll have another short blog up with few things I’ve been working on. Till next time…

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Back on March 17, 2011, I posted a blog regarding a Kashmir Sapphire I received for polishing (read it if you haven’t). I just wanted to do an update on the high-end gemstone. I felt like I didn’t give it the love and attention that it deserved. Kashmir Sapphires were first mined a 100 years ago in the Padar region of Kashmir which lies mainly in a valley between India and Pakistan. A region of great natural beauty, Kashmir was a luxurious state in the 19th century.

It became a disputed territory after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, when it joined India rather than Pakistan (sounds like something out of a playground incident with a bunch of kids, just saying). The dispute continues to this day, with parts of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan. It’s also abundant with Muslim guerrilla activity which further increases the turmoil. Bidding has opened for mining purposes and hopefully, this gemstone gets it’s time in the limelight because once you’ve seen this baby, I guarantee you’d fall into it’s spell just by the vibrant colors it gives off. I think I gave the Kashmir Sapphire the justice it deserves.

Tax time means jobs sit in my estimate box. Every year, around this time, the month of April becomes a period that drags you down from the consistent flow of work you gathered from the holidays. Your mind starts to wander into an abyss of negative thinking when you thought this industry was picking up from this God awful recession. My father told me that this generation of jewelers isn’t as lucky as his. He enjoyed his late 20’s well into his 30’s. He partied it up like no ones business and his business was growing at a staggering rate and forcing him to expand to keep up with the demand of the service we offer. I never thought, at 27 years of age, I’d be finding ways to occupy my down time teaching myself how to cook Italian cuisines (trying to master the risotto) and budgeting my daily spending  just to get by when I should be building a foundation for my future little family I’d like to start one day. Weird how things work out. Hard work leads to a positive outcome? Hope so… What a ‘Debbie downer’ that little segment was. I do apologize for that. So yeah, the point is, tax time equals to more jobs on hold.

My risotto with shrimp drizzled with a little olive oil and some smoked paprika

I get a call from a customer around 10pm the other night telling me that his polisher broke his customers stone set in the ring. It’s an 11 carat spessartite  garnet, while steaming it. He needs a matching replacement. If you guys didn’t read my last blog on that Tanzanite piece I wrote about, read it. Extreme temperature changes can cause severe damage to your stone and to your wallet. A spessartite garnet of that size runs about 900-1000 per carat. The stone comes from Tanzania (like the Tanzanite) and its color shades are orange to reddish orange to red.  I’ll try to take a few photos of it and blog about it next week.

Till next time…

Hey folks, thanks for joining me for another blog of the Gem Cutter’s Corner. I’ll be explaining the meaning of the title momentarily.  But, before I get too deep into it, I must digress into a historical introduction about the gem stone which happens to be the primary focus of this edition – the Tanzanite.

The stone was discovered in the Mererani Hills of Northern Tanzania in 1967 by a guy named D’Souza who then showed the stones to a geological consultant  named John Saul. At first, Saul (who later discovered a huge ruby deposit in Kenya) thought the mineral was a Peridot, but then he quickly changed his mind and send it to his pops, Hyman Saul, in New York (Who was conveniently the vice president of Saks Fifth Ave). Hyman scratched his head a bit and gave up and sent the stone to the ‘Gemological  Institute of America’ or ‘G.I.A.’, who correctly identified the new gem as a variety of the mineral zoisite.  Originally called “blue zoisite”, this rare gem was aptly renamed to Tanzanite (Why? The kicker comes in soon) as part of a business decision by Tiffany & Co.,  who concluded that, due to its proper pronunciation, “blue zoicite” sounded awfully close to “blue suicide” (And there’s the kicker).  From 1967 to 1972, an estimated two million carats of Tanzanite were mined in Tanzania. The gemstone is typically heat-treated to bring out that blueish violet color which gives it its character.

Now, back to the relevance of the blog title. One day at the shop, I received a call from one of my customers saying they cracked a pear shaped Tanzanite. If you’re a jeweler, reading this, your stomach just turned because if you’ve put years in this industry, you’ve had a Tanzanite crack on you one time or another. To explain exactly what happened, my customer’s jeweler just finished polishing the ring with the Tanzanite set as the center stone. He dropped the ring into the ultra sonic machine to clean out all that polish gunk, removed it from the water, put the ring under the high pressured steamer, and then moved it under cold running water. As he picked up the ring to inspect the ring, the last thing he would want to see was staring back at him – a huge crack from end to end in the Tanzanite.

‘Sako, I need a matching Tanzanite, 4-5 carats pear-shaped’. One of the services I provide to my customers is supplying, cutting, and matching any type of gemstone required. I had a 5 carat Tanzanite pear-shaped, which was a better color. I showed them the color and they approved it for cutting. I ended up matching the size of the stone so it could sit back into its mounting.

If you do not know how Tanzanites function, they could become a huge and expensive headache, hence the title to this blog.

Here are some of the many Tanzanites I’ve received for repolishing services over the years…


On a personal note, I’ve been trying to get the attention of a few jewelers who cater to the stars. It’s a long process and hopefully I can nail a couple of high profile clients and provide them with my services. We shall see…

If you do not follow European football (soccer), It’s come down to the business end of the season. My team I support, Manchester United, are involved in the league title race, F.A. Cup semis and quarter-final showdown with Chelsea in the Champions League. Good luck to me and them.

I appreciate my followers that read my blogs and hopefully I can continue to grow this sucker and educate you guys without boring the hell out of you. Apparently my post on the ‘evil eye’ project I did has been getting a ton of hits on a daily basis.. Here’s part 1 and part 2.

If you want to read some entertaining stuff from a jeweler out there, check out Ben Baller’s blog from ‘If and Co.‘ … His latest blog was about his time spent in Las Vegas, selling his jewelry to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (readers discretion is adviced for some of you out there)

Till next time…