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APPRAISING ROUGH UNCUT GEMSTONES

Updated on September 28, 2011
ROUGH ALEXANDERITE 850+ grams
ROUGH ALEXANDERITE 850+ grams
ROUGH BURMESE RED SPINEL 24 Kilos
ROUGH BURMESE RED SPINEL 24 Kilos

ROUGH GEM MATERIALS

Rough gem material is only the beginning of the story in evaluating the final product of the rough. The factors that determine the value are: Supply & demand, Time and money.

Supply and Demand is the basic rule of evaluation in marketing any product. The larger the supply the less the demand which means a lower price. The reason that diamonds maintain their value in the market is not their rarity but the fact that the supply is carefully controlled by the CSO (DeBeers) to maintain those prices. If the CSO put all the diamonds in their vaults on the market their value would plummet to a very small amount of their current value.

Time and Money: The other premise that is true in all business transactions. We have all heard the axiom “Time is Money” and in evaluating a rough gem it is a critical factor in evaluation.

These two factors directly influence evaluation of large rough gem materials. In small sizes this is usually not a factor because we are dealing with a limited amount of a finite product that has pretty fixed market prices. But introduce a large piece that can potentially flood the market with high quality and high priced goods then you have increased the supply to a point that the price plummets. Gems stones other than diamonds sell maybe in the thousands of units in high valued stones in a year. Some of the rarer gems sell only in the tens of stones in a year. If the cutting of a large single piece of gem quality material doubles, triples or more the yearly production then the prices tumble.

UNCUT RUBY 19,000 +- cts.
UNCUT RUBY 19,000 +- cts.

 

A large piece or a large parcel of rough gem material may take a long while to cut and finish before you can market it. In the case of a large single piece it may take months to study it and make sure the cutter cuts the highest and best product from the stone. Also the best color must be taken into consideration as well as the crystal orientation. Many factors must be taken into consideration and they all take time. In this sense the cutter, if he is the buyer, takes the highest risk and should pay the lowest price. There are many things that can go wrong and may lose value while cutting and finishing. On the other hand he is the one who stands to make the most if he does everything right.

Therefore the time it takes is costing the cutter money. The fact that large quantities cannot be sold without hurting the market for that type of gem makes it necessary to sell the stones as the market can bare them without lowering prices. So time becomes a very big factor for all involved. It may take 10 or more years to absorb a number of large pieces of a certain type into the market and get the best price. Although demand may go up you can never overcapitalize on it and ruin the market.

The other factor not mentioned before is Rarity. This is the hardest to determine as far as value goes. Rarity can even be enhanced by media and marketing thus increasing value. And a good story or countenance of a stone can increase the desirability and value. Or just one exceptional stone of size and quality can be priceless and not replaceable by ordinary standards and must be considered only by monetary value.

Thus an unbelievable “Retail Replacement Value” is the result of all the above factors and more and must be considered with weight, color and yield to determine a true value of large rough gem material specimens.

WELL WHAT IS IT WORTH?

That is the $64,000 dollar question. You need to take all the current market data for retail and auction sales of that gem material, then you need to compare it to the quality of the material you are appraising in all aspects of color, cut, weight and rarity. Again the last one, rarity, needs many years of hands on experience in buying, selling, cutting, polishing, winning and losing money in the same gem material you are appriasing. And rarity can be the most elusive of the values. In all appraising, comparables are the most important single factor in determining value. But a lot of times there is nothing to compare it to and you need to know from experience how to get a value for this piece. When it comes down to it, the opinion of the appraiser is very subjective and personal on these rare pieces. Most of the time I'm very close to what the value is and sometimes I'm totally off, but rarely. However I can justify all my opinions and try very hard to be as unbiased as I can.

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    • Eric Prado profile image

      Eric Prado 6 years ago from Webster, Texas

      Awesome hub! =)

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Thanks Eric, You should see the stones I've appraised.

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      M.NAWAZ 5 years ago

      DEAR SIR

      WE ARE DIAMOND BUYERS

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      M NAWAWAZ

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    • profile image

      TN Miner 5 years ago

      I have a pretty good assortment of amethyst, ruby, emeralds and many other gems. I am considering getting them cut to resell. What is the best approach in getting resale vs. cost of getting them cut. When is it best to not cut.

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      TN there is a lot more I would need to know to give you advice. One thing I can tell you is if you cut them in the US you will lose money. I cut stones exclusively in Thailand or India, where you can make some profit. And if you want to resell them how will you do it? What is the quality and sizes of the rough? If you have never done it before these things must be factored in. So I wodl sy don't cut until you have a firm idea what the results will be. Thanks for asking,

      Peter

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      kathleen 5 years ago

      I have a 1890 ct purple sugilite, from Africa.It was appraised in 1995 it's value at that time was estimated at $55.00 per ct.I understand that to sell it I could never get $55.00 per ct.But I am trying to find out who I should be talking to about selling it to, for a fair price to both parties.It's cut is a polished free form, and hardness is 6.7 Any and all comments are welcome...Thanx

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Kathleen,

      You should check prices on this material in trade magazines like Lapidary Journal. You can also check on line with wholesale gem material dealsers. In carved gem materials the reputation and sales of the artists works must also be taken into account. Otherwise you need to treat it as if it were rough material. $55 a ct is for finished material. If the carving is a very good piece it is worth more if not just price as rough. Thanks for asking and try checking local gem shows for comparable pricing.

      Peter

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      Ashley 5 years ago

      Hi.. I have several uncut emeralds that are fairly large. Do you know anyone in the US that can appraise them or may buy them?

    • profile image

      Desiree 5 years ago

      I have a few pieces of uncut Garnet. They are a deep almost blackish colored red ,like a deep blood red. do you have an idea of what they maybe worth? I would like to know because I am planning on getting them cut and two pieces are probably going to be set for earrings and the other a pendant.

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Desiree, It's very hard to say what the value might be without actually seeing them. Dark red garnet that is cut well runs from as little as $2 a carat to as hig as $50 a carat. If you get them cut in the US the sutting charges will be more than the finished stones are worth. For your personal use they are more your sentimental value and a family treasure. Don't worry about the value concentrate on the beaty of the stones. Thanks,

      Peter

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Ashley,

      I do appraisals of large rough emerald and other uncut gem materials.I've been doing it for over thirty years with a lot of experience in Asia buying and cutting rough. However i am very expensive. You might try some dealers at the Gem Shows around the country, they may also be interested in buying. You can contact me directley at plumetta@aol.com. Thanks,

      Peter

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      Alexander 5 years ago

      Your Alexanderite is a silicon carbide or carborundum. Just search for green carborundum in the internet. But this sample is a very beautiful one.

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Thanks Alex

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      sue 4 years ago

      We are downsizing our possessions and we have several large rocks, the size of large melons. A few may be lapis and there are several pink quartz and a few large petrified wood. We don't know what to do with them and we don't know how to price or sell them. Any suggestions?

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Sue,

      The best thing to do is to check with local Lapidaries or rock shops for pricing and buyers. You could try local gem and mineral shows and gem and mineral clubs or societies. Ebay is also a good venue and for pricing. Thanks for the comments.

      Peter

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      Theresa 4 years ago

      I have a 217 caret ruby encrusted by pink sapphire that has been cut in half (which is how we came to find there was a ruby inside!) The gem cutter is wanting to buy it from me but I have no idea of its worth. Any ideas?

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Theresa,

      You should take it to other lapidaries or stone and mineral dealers for their opinions. Get a dollar amount from the cutterGood who wants to buy it so you have a basis of value. You can also check on line specimens on Ebay or the like. Always remember it is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Good luck,

      Peter

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      Nick 4 years ago

      Hi,

      I've discovered a blue beryl pegmatite deposit. It comes out naturally blue (no green or yellow) and with much more intensity of color tgan regular washed-out aquas from elsewhere. I was wondering what your opinion was in how I should price them. I've seen aqua prices by www.gemval.com and others quoting an $800-1000/carat price for the deeper colored aqua (Santa Maria etc). Well, my aqua is not a dark blue but is more beatiful than the other (beuaty is universal when it comes to color, IMO). I really don't think I should use the aqua pricing at all because it's just a different stone. What do you think?

      http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/78226273@N08/7162489646/in/photostream/

      http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/78226273@N08/7162489214/

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Nick, I tried to check the photos but couldn't find them. The color sounds terrific but how big are the crystals and are they clean? Althought the color is very important to the value if it is heavily included or small sizes or both then the prices would be all over the chart. To give you a real figure I would need to see the material and photos of the rest. This would give me a feel for the pricing. If it is really that unique it would need to be tested in the market for pricing. Thanks for the comment,

      Peter

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      DC 4 years ago

      Hi Peter,

      Are there companies left that will lend against rough Beryl Emerlds? I'm finding it hard to locate any.

      DC

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi DC,

      There are companies that do lend against gem materials. Usually it is large pieces and large quantities. There are a lot of hoops to jump through and there are only certain people and landers that do it and usually for very good customers. You would need a history with a lender and plenty of backup. It takes years to develop this type of relationship. Thanks for asking,

      Peter

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      Trav 4 years ago

      Hi, I have what believe to be a number of raw uncut sapphires. I have looked at images online and compared them and they look to be the same. I was hoping that you could give me some tips on how to be certain. Are there any specific traits they have? The stones are dark colored and do not look to be transparent but holding them under light they have a "see-through" blue tint... Some are a lighter blue some darker blue and a few are a bright kind of neon or electric blue if you will. Anyway, they range in size from 3 carats to 40 carats. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
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      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Trav,

      Hard to tell what you have since sapphires come in all colors except red. The red ones are called rubies. Corundum forms in a hexagonal crystal (6 sides) shape and should be visible in the rough forms. Take a sample to a rock shop or lapidary and they might be able to identify them. Good luck,

      Peter

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      shawn 4 years ago

      I think I found a rough emerald in Afghanistan while walking along a gravel road. I can't be sure. Is there a way I can tell with limited equipment if it is real or something else. It definitely has a crack within the stoneand is about the size of small marble. Can you help me out. I can include pictures as well. Thanks. You can reach me at shawnhanlon@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      mins 4 years ago

      hi i recently entered to gem trade. i am from sri lanka.could you tell how do i find learning tips to identify rough gem stones?need some knowledge on gem identification..pls help me.

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
      Author

      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Mins,

      the best thing to do is take a gem ID class at a local lapidary or college. Go to as many gem shows as you can and go to rock shops to see as many rough stones as you can. Then start buying and selling stones, and progress to more expensive as learn what you are doing. If you are in Sri Lanka you have a distinct advantage, there are plenty of places there to learn about gems. Good Luck,

      Peter

    • profile image

      Andrew Mwakalenge 4 years ago

      I have many pieces of different sizes from 0.5 to 1 gram of Purple Rhodolite weighing more than 500 grams from best sources of Rhodolite of Tanzania. If there is any one interested on it pleased contact me. Price is negotiable. Also am dealing in Yellow and Golden Tourmaline, Appetite, Moonstones, Green garnet, Red garnets & Tanzanites. Our country is among the most richest countries in germstones and almost virgin. I welcome those are interested in mining and investing in mining and minerals.

    • profile image

      kim mccracken 4 years ago

      What is the value of a 34 ct raw emerald ?

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
      Author

      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Kim,

      There are lots of variables that determine value and weight is only one of them. Uncut emerald is worth anywhere from $1 to $100,000 a carat. Take it to an appraiser.

      Peter

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      Lisa Rose 4 years ago

      Hi! Looking to get information regarding the value of rough uncut gem stones. My husband and I recently purchased his parents home from his siblings and in the basement his father had a room which he had set up with lapidary equipment as well as a lot of stones some of the names listed on the cubicles with stones Tiger eye, Jade, Mexican agate, Red Jasper, Smoky Quartz, Amazonite ?, Clear Quartz, Amethyst, Malachite, Green Quartz, Fire Agate, Yellow Moss Agate, Green Phase there are a lot of other names on the cubicles that the names are difficult to make out. There are also some larger stones just in boxes. Not sure where to go with this?

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
      Author

      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Lisa Rose,

      Sounds like you have quite a collection of rough. They all seem to be considered "semi-precious" or the lower priced gems. You might be able to sell them to other lapidaries in the area but first get an idea of the value to get a fair price. Look on Ebay and check the prices there. The quality and the weight will determine the value. Good Luck,

      Peter

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      surya 4 years ago

      sir

      i have a corundam ruby poque 12000 cts, what the cost per cart

      surya_atp@yahoo.com

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
      Author

      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Surya,

      I cannot evaluate something that I have not seen or tested. Price depends on the clarity and more so the color of corundum. Take it to a gemologist for eveluation.

      Peter

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      Pedro Mendes 4 years ago

      I am curious if you have a rule of thumb about what percentage of an rough stone is really turned into a cut one, that is, what are the losses involved? thanks

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image
      Author

      PETER LUMETTA 4 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      Hi Pedro,

      In general you can figure you will get between 20% and 30% yield from most rough. However I have seen yields as high as 90% and as low as 5%.

      Depending on how well the rough is cleaned and prepared before they put it up for sale. Diamonds are a little higher when they are octohedrons, as high as 55%. Each piece of rough is different and will yield differently also the skill of the cutter will have a lot to do with it. Thanks,

      Peter

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      shelby 3 years ago

      I have a blue oval faceted cut sapphire that weighs 1254 cts with an appraisal from the GLA with the retail replacement value of $40,500 will the weight bring a higher retail value

    • profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 3 years ago

      I'm sorry but you questin makes no sense.

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      ina 3 years ago

      Hi.

      It is "Sokas" company from Armenia.

      Our company basically occupied with the export of gem-quality mineral of obsidian. But if you are interested the other stones, except obsidian, we can export travertin, jade, gohar, marble, onyx, jasper, agate, breccia and so many others...We have gohar, too...Gohar is the original and precious stone and spread only Armenia.We have granite too, but our granite not a qualified. We have so beautiful items made of that stones...

      If you are interested in our proposal, write us. I send you stones pics too...You can make very beautiful accessories, i send you pics

      Best regards Ina Hovhannisyan

      

    • profile image

      Umair Gilani 3 years ago

      i have sent to some pics i would like to revive your feedback.@ peter

      lumetta

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      Maria 2 years ago

      I have a 744.10 cts emerald-cut Ruby, what can I do with this large gem? It came with a bunch of things we got in an auction. I'd like to be able to do something with it - maybe make several jewelry items with it. Where would I need to take it? Thank you.

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      Jennifer mcglamery 2 years ago

      I think I have 8 emeralds and 5 rubies..want to know if they are of any value?

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      alex suchi 2 years ago

      I have 500 grams of rough ruby and 750 grams and a lot of loose ruby and sapphire which are uncut and rough where my grandfather immigrant from mogok to than in Tahan burma and he keep his stones and save it to sell it and I want to sell it could you help well most gemologoist in India told me that it will worth like 20000 thousand rupees which are like 300 dollar for all 30000 carat I want to sell it and I don't have any idea plus help

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      jon brooks 2 years ago

      hi i got a bag of rocks from a mining site. have been going through them and have found lots of very small purple stones and some that are larger clear and blue tint ones that look like might be raw diamonds. looking to sell any or all of them, but no idea what they are for sure or value if any.

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      Amber 2 years ago

      I came across a Jadite Rough Stone a couple months ago. It weighs apx. One ounce. I have done quite a bit of research and am certain its worth something. Im searching for a buyer.

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      cin 2 years ago

      I have a natural ruby it looks like the one you have post.. It has 6 sides in weigh 10.6 grams. its purple n dark red outside.. one person told me it looks like it has a star in it.. I would like to know who do i take it to.. To see how to have it cut to get the most for it.. Thank you

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      contact 2 years ago

      Hi Peter,

      I need some advice..

      Can I email you directly?

      Kind regards

      Mike

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      Richard Gianni 14 months ago

      I have a large cluster of what might be yellow sapphire crystals. I would like to know what these stones really are and how I would go about selling them. I can include photos if you will e-mail me. (rgianni@sonic.net)

      Thanks for the help.

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      Sean camping 4 months ago

      I have a 800 ct topaz natural untreated blue with a pink on the top what is it worth roughly and what would be the best way of making most money out of it.

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