Fantasy Cut Lapidaries

So,  we’ve talked about gemstone cutting flaws, some stellar gemstone lapidaries and other random topics. Since I’m typically preoccupied with aesthetics I really wanted to hit on more unusual types of cuts that are visually stunning, but are typically less popular, because the stones usually need custom settings built around them, rather than being able to put the stones into cheaper stock settings that hold traditional shaped stones.

Now, these lapidaries are more than capable of cutting rounds, ovals, etc, but the stones that they really cut exceptionally tend to be the fancy fantasy shapes. These gemstones are not something you will see anyone else wearing, every single stone is a one of a kind. Hexagon facets, free form beehives, free form, concave cutting,

Note: I have not bought stones from any of these lapidaries, but in my experience, I would not hesitate buying from them myself if presented with the opportunity!

Without further ado, in no particular order:

Jeffrey Hunt
Jeffrey is an exceptional gemstone photographer, but his gems aren’t anything to sniff at either! So many of his stones make me want to design one of a kind pieces around them, and the deeper shapes are especially challenging to base a design around!
Jeffrey Hunt

Jean-Noel Soni
Let me talk about Jean-Noel for a minute. I’ve been following him on Instagram for over a year now, and I am continually amazed at how he works. He does not use any faceting diagrams, and always cuts based on the shape of the rough.
Top Notch Faceting

Roger Dery
From what I understand, Roger has a lot more in his inventory than what you see on his website. I’ve also been told that the photography is less than perfect, but that just means the stones will knock your socks off in person! He does some fabulous opposed bar cuts
Spectral Gems

John Dyer
I have loved admiring his gemstones for years. He has won stacks of awards, and has done things (not traditional faceting, that’s for sure!) that I’m pretty sure must be magical. I have had the pleasure of having one of his stones in my possession temporarily, and it was absolutely fantastic.
John Dyer

Richard Homer
Richard is the one lapidary on this list that has cut a stone for me. It was not concave cut, it had traditional faceting, and it was intended as an engagement ring stone. I loved the stone, but my boyfriend at the time wasn’t convinced on it. But, from what I know, if you want a concave cut stone, Richard is the first person you talk to.
Concave Gems

Doug Menadue
Doug is probably the most traditional of the cutters listed here, but he does some amazing things with super tall crowned round brilliants, his amazing ying yang cuts, and the towering acorn cut. Be warned, if you are looking at purchasing from him, he is in Australia, so prices are in Australian dollars, and shipping will take a while longer!
Bespoke Gems

Uli Zeisberg
Uli has a couple cuts that are outstanding and always catch my eye, including the Liquid Flower, and the Trinity Hexagone, both are trillion style cuts that are incredibly eye catching and unusual. I am also a big fan of the Neo cut he does, but so many of his gems are eyecatching and would make incredible pieces of jewelry.
Osiris Gems

You can seriously lose hours looking at all of the gems and work that these lapidaries do! Not to mention the directions your imagination can go!

I really wish I had some photos of some of the above cutter’s work, but I don’t (I need to remedy that!), but I still promised that I’d always post at least one picture! So, in honor of reaching a little bit outside the box with these cutters, I’ll post pictures of something that’s NOT sparkly (I know, gasp!), a black opal triplet cabochon.




The blue rhinestone material it’s resting on is actually the gaudiest cell phone cover ever invented by mankind. My little one picked it out. Hah!


Gem Blast: Garnets

In honor of my best friend growing up, whose birthday is tomorrow, I’m posting a whole bunch of gemstone pictures of her birthstone: Garnet.

Merelani Mint

halo for sale5

Almost Colorless Grossular Garnet




Imperial Garnet


Imperial Garnet:


Loliondo Spessartite


Loliondo Spessartite


Hah! I just realized that I don’t have any pink or red garnet pictures on this computer. I guess I need to take some more pictures!

But check out the variety of colors. I wish (sort of!) that the general public knew that these stones were as varied and interesting as they are. Of course, I don’t wish that the general public knew about them because then the prices would go up even more.

This is for all you January babies out there!

AGTA Spectrum 2015 Awards

A huge congratulations to all winners of the AGTA Spectrum Awards, but especially to Mr. John Dyer, of whom I currently have one of his gems in my gembox. Well done sir! And sweeping the entire “Innovative Faceting category at that!

To see the entire list of winners, please check out the full list:

AGTA Spectrum 2015 Winners pdf

Colorless Garnet

I am not a garnet girl. I think they are beautiful but the range of colors hasn’t exactly captured my heart the way that other stone varieties have. Now, that being said, I own a few of the lesser known varieties.

Before I really got into gems, I was in the dark, like most other people, and thought that garnets only came in that orangey red color that seems to be prevalent in the mall jewelry stores. So the first time I saw a tsavorite, I was absolutely blown away. Who knew that garnets could come in green?!

Right now, I have a few darker mint garnets/tsavorites, a smaller mint from the Merelani Hills, an orange Loliondo Spessartite and a very light buttery yellow grossular garnet in my possession. Eventually I would like to add a more purple-pink (likely Rhodolite) garnet, as well as a light pink/peach (Malaya/Malaia) to my repertoire.



Garnets come in a variety of colors, from the browns to yellows, to purples, pinks and reds, plus some of the most vibrant and saturated greens and oranges in the gemstone world. Garnets can do some color shifting as well, the most pleasing is usually between blue and purple colorways. Colorless happens to be one of the most rare colors, and due to garnet’s dispersion, one of the most beautiful and diamond like. These are commonly called leuco garnets.




Which brings me to my current conundrum, because it’s the dispersion and the colorless bit that’s giving me pause in the case of the current very light yellow situation. I had been interested in a darker yellow round garnet and had started visualizing designs for a pendant for an existing chain, but the seller decided against selling it before I could pull the trigger. The light oval is more expensive, roughly two times as much as the round, as it is lighter in tone and therefore more valuable.


In this last photo, there is a distinct dark stripe through the center of the stone. This is commonly called a “bowtie” and is a relatively common cut flaw with pear, oval, elongated cushions and marquise cut stones. Having said that, because this stone was cut by the super talented John Dyer, the bowtie that appears in the photo is actually a reflection of the camera lens. You can see on the bottom right of the stone, there is a brown splotchy patch – that is reflecting my skin. However, that little purple-looking facet on the right side is some of that dispersion I was talking about. Part of the problem with photographing gemstones is eliminating environmental factors, including the camera because the facets reflect everything, just like tiny mirrors.

If I do end up keeping this stone, I would put it in a fancy yellow diamond halo (but never plain and hugging the outline of the stone), in yellow gold, and attach it to my existing Italian yellow gold chain. No matter what, the project will need more thought and planning, as the chain has significant sentimental value to me.

More colored garnets to come!