Frequently Asked Questions
Over the years, there have been a number of questions that seem to be very common among existing and propspective customers alike. We have attempted to capture those below for easy reference. Of course, if your question is not addressed here, please feel free to contact us for assistance. You may either select from a broad topic on the menu below or continue scrolling down to browse all questions and answers in their entirety.
QDo you only cut stones for jewelers, or can anyone have a gem cut?
AWhile we do work with a number of jewelry designers, investors, and collectors, many of our clients are retail consumers. Anyone, regardless of experience or gem knowledge, can have a gem cut. We will work with you to ensure you have a comfortable buying experience. Please contact us for more information on how we may help you.
QI know what I want, but I don't see it on your website. In fact, there aren't many gems on here at all! What should I do?
AThe main purpose of this site is to give our customers information on services offered, to provide general updates on our business, and to sell a small number of gems directly. By no means are the items listed here the only ones available. The vast majority of our output is through the "custom" or "commissioned" channel, and we have thousands of pieces of rough available for cutting. As it is impractical to provide a list of our inventory online, it is best to contact us by email or phone for availability. Joining the Gem Scoop mailing list will also ensure that you receive updates on pre-cut gems that are made available.
QI have some rough that I would like to have cut. Do you provide this service?
AUnfortunately, we are no longer able to offer this service. Growth of our business has forced us to permanently eliminate the cutting of others' rough. By narrowing our focus and reducing project backlog, this change will help ensure that the excellent customer service our clients have come to expect will continue uninterrupted.
QI have a finished gem that I would like to have recut. Do you do this?
AUnfortunately, we are no longer able to offer this service. For the reasons mentioned above, we have found it necessary to eliminate this service from our offerings.
QI'm looking for an exceptional colored stone for an engagement ring. Can you help me?
AAbsolutely. Picking the proper stone type for such an important ring involves much more than finding a gem with the right color. Like the bond it is meant to signify, it should be a durable gemstone since it will be worn almost every day for many years. We will work with you to find that perfect gem. Or, if you already know what you are looking for, we can suggest just the right faceting design to compliment your ring.
QIs there a way that I could be notified when you have new gems available?
AThis is a common question and one that we answered some years ago through creation of "The Gem Scoop" newsletter. It takes only seconds to sign up, it is free, and you will be given exclusive access to new "pre-cut" gems when they become available, before they're moved to the main site. Many rough materials that are cut never make it to the "Currently Available" area of the main site because they are snatched up first by our newsletter subscribers. Signing up also qualifies you for special discounts offered periodically on cut gems. You can "unsubscribe" from the list at any time. Click here for more information.
QDo you provide certification for your gemstones?
ABecause of the
significant time and cost involved, we do not routinely have
our gems certified by a third-party lab. However, we do offer this service, should it be desired. For gem certifications, we use the American Gemological Laboratory, considered by many to be the most reputable colored gem lab in the world. We are happy to send gems to AGL at a customer's request, with the additional expense being added to the customer's balance.
Even for the vast majority of gems that are not certified in this manner, we stand behind each gemstone that we sell. Each one carries Jeff White's personal guarantee of accurate representation. If you find that a stone you receive from J.L. White Fine Gemstones has been misrepresented, you are entitled to a full refund (no questions asked).
QWhat payment and shipping options do you offer?
AWe offer a number of convenient payment and shipping options to our customers. They are discussed in detail on our "Policies" page. To view, please click here.
QWhat is the average turnaround time for a stone to be cut?
ACutting a gem, once work commences, can usually be completed over a two-day period. However, Jeff typically has a backlog of work to be completed at any given time. Depending on his current workload, turnaround times (from placement of an order / payment of deposit to completion of work) can vary from approximately three weeks to eight weeks. Please contact us for current turnaround time estimates for custom work.
QWhat happens if I receive my gem and find that it just isn't for me? Do you accept returns?
AOur primary objective is to make sure that our customers are thrilled with their purchases! Buying gemstones online presents unique challenges, due to the sometimes unpredictable output of computer monitors, the difficulty in interpreting photos online, and the lack of performance "feedback" that one gets by holding a gem in-hand. For those reasons, we work to be as accommodating as possible and offer a return policy that ensures our customers have a reasonable amount of time to review and feel comfortable with their purchase.
We offer a seven-day inspection/return period for all gem purchases. This applies to both pre-cut gems and gems that are custom-cut (or commissioned). For more information on our return policy, including details specific to custom work, please visit our "Policies" page. To view, please click here.
QIs it possible to have gems (rough and/or cut gems) memoed prior to purchase?
ASometimes, there is no substitute for viewing a piece in-hand to determine if it is the right fit for a particular need. We are more than happy to send out rough to clients prior to a commitment to purchase. This ensures that color, clarity, etc., can be more easily vetted vs. relying on photos alone. We do require payment up-front, however, so this is not a memo in the traditional sense. The payment is 100% refundable upon safe return of the gem(s), less shipping costs.
QWhat is your stance on gemstone treatments?
AWe sell both "treated" and "untreated" gems and do not believe that there is anything inherently "wrong" with gem treatments. The question of "right" or "wrong," in our minds, centers around the type of treatment and whether treatments are adequately disclosed to buyers. Some gems, such as tanzanite and Paraiba tourmaline, usually only display the beauty for which they are so prized AFTER they are treated. With all of that said, we believe it should be up to the individual consumer to decide for himself what is acceptable and what is not. Our pledge to you is that we will ALWAYS fully disclose treatments for the gems we sell, to the best of our knowledge.
There are some treatments that we do not condone, nor will we offer gems that have undergone those treatments. Among them are: chemically-treated gems (sapphires having undergone lattice diffusion, coated gems, etc.) and clarity enhancements that involve glass and/or resin filling.
QDo you offer untreated gems? How can I be sure?
AYes, we do offer gems that are untreated. In some cases, the treatments or lack thereof are fairly easy to determine. In other cases, an outside lab would be needed to determine an untreated state. In other cases, gemstone treatments are impossible to reliably detect, even by a lab. Heat treatment of some gems is one example. We are happy to send our gems off to the American Gemological Laboratory for testing at a customer's request, should that be desired. You can learn more about certification here.
QWhat does it mean to be a "member of the Trade," when discussing gems and jewelry?
AThis is a general term that refers to individuals who work within the gem and jewelry industry. Gem cutters, loose gem dealers, jewelers, and jewelry designers all fall within this category.
QAre the prices on your website wholesale (Trade) or retail?
AThe prices shown on our website, as well as the prices shown on special offerings (such as Gem Scoop mailings) are generally the same for both retail and trade customers. However, small discounts can be offered in certain circumstances to verifiable members of the trade. If you are a legitimate member of the gem and jewelry trade, please feel free to contact us regarding possibilities.
QWhat do the terms "commercial cut" and "precision cut" mean?
ACommercial cut (sometimes called "native cut") gems are those faceted in mass-production facilities (assembly-line fashion) or by individuals who cut the entire stone but with an emphasis on speed and weight retention.
Precision cut gems, on the other hand, are cut by an individual placing primary emphasis on achieving maximum beauty and precision of execution, regardless of the time required.
QWhat are the benefits of precision cutting over standard commercial cuts?
AThe vast majority of colored gems on the market are commercial, or native cut. There is nothing inherently wrong with this style of cutting. In fact, we sometimes purchase cut gems for recut, only to find that the original cutting is so good that a recut would not provide significant improvement. In these cases, we will often resell the gem as-is. Indeed, the skill of many such cutters is extraordinary, particularly considering the basic equipment with which they often work.
That said, the vast majority of commercial cut stones leave much to be desired. Symmetry is often poor. Facet meet points (or the places where facets join one another) are normally disjointed. The flatness and polish quality is normally sub-par, which leads to decreased "sparkle" or scintillation. Finally, the angles with which these gems are cut often result in "windowing," a phenomenon where light passes right through the center of the stone, rather than being reflected back to the viewer. This is sometimes done out of lack of knowledge but is more often done to best fit the rough and maximize the weight retention. In addition to compromising the beauty of the gem, the drive for maximum weight retention usually results in a stone that faces up relatively-small for its weight. That is, there is "useless weight" that a customer is paying for but can't appreciate.
Precision gem cutters, on the other hand, focus a tremendous amount of effort on the quality of the cut. The BEST precision cutters also understand that the color and general aesthetics of the gem must not suffer as a result of the cut selection. Jeff White has a reputation for being able to manage that balance very well. The time it takes to properly plan and execute cutting on this level is extreme when compared to commercially-cut stones, but those who have seen both side by side almost universally-agree that the results speak for themselves.
Jeff White utilizes advanced computer modeling techniques to design and optimize faceting patterns to best fit the characteristics of each gem he cuts. He has at his disposal the finest precision faceting equipment available for cutting and polishing colored gems, allowing him to execute his designs flawlessly.