When I first started cutting I started to wonder what value I
had in cut stones and decided to invest in some paper from an
independent appraiser.  I was directed to a gentleman of some
repute who proceeded to inform me that prices of custom cut
stones and therefore their ultimate value are my domain not his.
An appraiser can only compare what is shown them with that which
they know is available and for how much. If I produce a unique
gemstone then I am the only person that knows the real costs and
consequentially the real wholesale value. That amount is quite
simply what I would charge for another stone to match or replace
this one.

Now for the good bit. You provide the provenance and replacement
value certificate for the loose unmounted stone. You do not need
to pass any exams and you are not going to be placed in a
suable position by issuing such a cert. What the cutters
certificate will do is provide an independent appraiser with all
of the details needed to provide insurance replacement
documentation. I like to go overboard here as the more
meticulous the detailing the more credible the cert will be.
Make it as spiffy as you can. Ink jet printer on certificate
paper is quite spiff.

The Cutters Certificate is for the origin of the gem and doesn’t
necessarily cover the origin of the rough. With obvious unique
material the cutter does not need documented proof but in all
other cases I always state what the material was sold as and who
sold it. This shifts the onus of country and mine identification
to the rough dealer. The piece of ground the stone came from
should not concern the cutter and does not alter the value of
the cutters time. The cert should also state the cutter’s value
of the stone. Not what it is sold for but what sum is needed for
the cutter to repeat the process and duplicate the stone. This
is the real value of the stone based on the true value of the
cutters time.

Certificate suggestions;

Rough vendor and date:     (someone to blame)

Material sold to you as :       (passing the buck)

Rough description, Location,  species and  variety. Weights and
measurements of rough are not useful as recovery percentages
will vary with every stone and original dimensions have no
bearing on the value of the finished gem.

Weights and Measurements and date of finished gem:

Design name,  Author and execution time:  (how long it took not
when you intend doing away with the designer)

Number of facets on the stone : ( Amazingly people love this one
if the number is big and faceted girdles give big numbers)

Angles used on facets:  (Yes you will find appraisers that don’t
know the names of all the facets we use)

Name of the stone:  (It’s your baby, name it. Yes you will feel
pretentious, all of us on the list will think you pretentious,
however your customer will love it and list members don’t buy
your cut stones)

Care and Maintenance;    (helpful hints, warnings and cleaning

Scientific blah blah:  Latin names, chemical names and formulae,
atomic weight, associated varieties, world locations and any
other sciency filler.

Metaphysical blah blah: (Not just the ‘healy feely’ crowd but
reality addicts also enjoy this stuff)

If you still have any room or have decided to attach a booklet
you could also provide the cutting diagrams and instructions,
The copyright issues on some designs would have to be explored
but I don’t have Gemcad or any design software so I don’t do

The valuation should include some wording like this;
Replacement value shown includes the industry standard handling
and stocking charges accepted by the majority of the jewellery
trade as applied to the loose stone only and does not include
the value of any metalwork, setting costs or other jewellers

How much? As I said. the amount you want for doing it again and
being happy about it. Not how much you charged this time. Now
double it to cover the jewellers ‘handling charges’. That is the
replacement value, simple. Without this certificate your gem
could be replaced by an insurance company with any commercial
stone of similar size and colour, with it only a genuine INSERT
YOUR NAME HERE original would be acceptable even
if it were to cost many times the cost of a commercial

Date and sign your name as the gemcutter and give the expiry
date of the valuation,  You may not want to do it for that price
5 years hence but it should be good for 1 or 2. Most important
is clearly showing the certification fee, even if you didn’t
charge for the service this time, you need to show the value of
your documenting, cutting and gem knowledge.  Nothing below
$25 should be considered. Add any disclaimers you feel
necessary, such as; not an offer to purchase, not an offer to
supply, cert cannot be used as a selling tool etc.

Just in case you think this is all rather arrogant consider how
many of the top gemmologists and appraisers in the country have
cut more stones than you have. Not many I’d wager. You are not
selling a commodity you have created an art object and this is
how you sign it.  How many jewellery owners know the name of the
person that cut their gems. That knowledge has a cash value,
don’t give it away or squander it.  No  stone should leave your
shop without a certificate, you are throwing money away if you
do. What is an unsigned painting worth?

This is an example of a minimum cert.