Really Australian made


10th May 2019

For many decades now most of the gemstones have been cut in developing and third world countries using cheap labour. This has resulted in the local cutting industry contracting to the point of near non existence. So what do you do when you need a gemstone cut in Australia?

The desired design and gemstone cut.

The desired design and gemstone cut.

Why do we need a gem cutter?

My customer had seen a minimalist design that used an old rose cut gemstone. A rose cut gem generally refers to one with a flat bottom, faceted top and no table. To some it might look like an upside down gemstone.

This is a very uncommon cut and we required a specific gemstone:

  • 6 to 7 mm round

  • Blue/Green Australian sapphire

Finding a gem

With very little chance of finding such a gemstone ready to purchase I set about searching for an oversized gemstone that I could have recut to what we desired. The customer was aware that this would involve paying for a perfectly good larger gem and then cutting it down to a smaller one.

Initially I thought we would turn a normally facetted round cut gemstone upside down and recut it by trimming down the culet and adding another row of facets to the pavilion.

The trouble with this would be that gemstones are usually cut to face a certain way for a reason, to put the worst part of the gem as far away from being visible as possible.

We may possibly be turning the gemstone upside down to reveal the worse side of the gem.


One of my gem merchants proposed that we recut a cabochon cut star sapphire he had and that would avoid such a risk as we would be recutting the same way up. This is the path we took.

Finding a gem cutter

This particular gem merchant I have known since I was an apprentice and I respect and trust his advice. He organised for the gem to be recut locally here in Australia.

As I mentioned at the start of the article, globalisation has lead to the devaluing of the gem cutter profession. The ones that are left within Australia have generally survived because they are good at what they do and have customers who are prepared to pay for their service to an amount that enables them to live in Australia as well.

Some steps I will skip

A lot went into the creation of what appears a simple ring. Here are the additional steps:

  1. digital design precess to finalise the design

  2. gemstone sent to us for approval before recutting

  3. gemstone sent back to be recut into a rose cut

  4. draft of the ring made to confirm both the design and finger size

The finished ring

She originally desired an almost black sapphire but changed her mind to something with a bit of blue.

Unfortunately the photos do not do this gemstone justice. In real life flashes of white from the star sapphire swirl around the tip of the gem. The colour changes with your viewing angle, revealing tinges of green through the blue from the sides. The polished gold cup setting also reflects through the bottom and sides of the gem.

  • Blue/Green Parti Sapphire

  • 2.38 carat rose cut

  • 18ct yellow gold

  • band with matte finish

The customer adores this ring and it was one of my favourite rings to work on so far this year. It was one of two rings that I made for a couple of young ladies getting engaged. Both were minimalist designs using Australian sapphires. You can view the other partners ring here.