How to make a profitable business cutting gemstones (2023)

general description

My name is Nicholas Alexander and I have been a professional gem cutter for the last 7 years of my career. I have had the privilege of seeing and learning a lot in the last few years of my career. My father, Darryl Alexander, was also a professional gem cutter who received many prestigious awards. Growing up, I had to watch the different things he made of it in order for his business to grow and prosper. I was also able to build my own lapidary and make a name for myself in the industry as I grew. In this way I learned the inner workings of the lapidary industry and what it takes to build a profitable business in it.

Even as a kid, I loved analyzing the inner workings of companies. I was fascinated by the economy and how different markets worked. As I mentioned before, I grew up in a "languorous home." From the time I could walk, I went to jewelry shows and attended all of my father's meetings, trips and seminars with his business clients and colleagues. The knowledge imparted to me was immense and this article will cover some of the various key topics and skills I learned that are required to run a profitable business in the stone industry.

Find your niche

Just like starting a business, you need to develop a clear game plan for how you are actually going to start making money. Before you can start making money in the lapidary industry, you need to figure out what kind of cut you want to make. There are different methods for cutting gemstones. A few to choose from are faceting, carving, capping, inlaying, and tumbling. These will be the largest categories for cuts that pay well. The one he chooses will determine how much someone will value his time and skill. For example, someone who spins gems is not paid as much and has to put in more compared to someone who cuts gems.

That's not a bad thing. It is not difficult to operate 5-8 glasses at the same time and get the amount needed to run a profitable business. However, it depends a lot on what you can do and what you like to do. I would suggest trying them all before making a decision. The categories are all very different and present different challenges that canbetter match your skills. Find out what works for you, and then start figuring out how to introduce something new or do something better in that market.

For example, if you like to facet and undertake, you have several options. First, you could do chipped stone repair work. There are many jewelers in your area and across the country breaking stones in the setting every day. Does anyone need to refurbish them properly?Instead, he could set his sights on becoming a traditional facetor, cutting traditional gems.for shops or jewelry stores. Another option is to be an individual artist selling to designers and collectors.

Each of the different categories above—faceting, carving, carving, inlaying, and tumble—can be broken down into different jobs within that industry. It is your responsibility to know these jobs and be really good at one of them. Before starting your business, you need a good plan of how to proceed.Do you want to start. We will discuss this further in the next section.

starting the business

There are many different things that need to be done when starting a business. Fortunately, if done right, it doesn't cost too much money. It will just take time.

Start by applying for an LLC. The easiest way to do this is online with a company that has been verified and has good reviews. More expensive doesn't mean they will do a better job. I think thatLegalZoomit's the best you can use, but they have a lot of expensive plugins that they will try to sell you. If you are on a budget thenZenBusinessis a great site to apply for an LLC.

(Video) I went to learn gemstone faceting and gem re-cutting at the IGT, a review of the experience.

While this is being processed, consider creating a social media account on Instagram, Facebook, and any other social media you're comfortable with. This is an important stage in branding your business. These will be your main touch points for your customers. You will also get good sales if you market properly, post daily, and upload high-quality photos/videos.

You should also think about what your primary platform should be for selling your gems, marketing your business, or explaining your artistic/lapidary background. We will look at the different options available later in this article.

Next, you need to decide if you want to open a second phone line for your business. It costs about $60 a month to add a virtual assistant and a second phone line. This way, you can easily tell the difference between a business call and a private call on your mobile phone and direct people to the correct do not answer

Finally, you need to decide if it is necessary to open a separate bank account. You want this decided before you start selling your product or service. I suggest it if you have the skills. It gets a lot easier as your business grows.

Necessary tools and equipment.

If you don't already have them, acquiring the necessary tools is your biggest expense to start your business. Depending on what you have decided to do, you will need to research and acquire the equipment you will need to complete your tasks. Cutting Edge Supply has a ton of different articles to help people get started with machinery under the "Lapidary Library"Eyelash.

You have two options to find the equipment. You can buy new or used equipment. If you're looking for used I suggest checking your local Craigslist, Offerup and eBay. Someone usually sells some dumb machines that still work fine. If you are going to buy a new one, find a reputable dealer for the product you are looking for. Make sure they have good reviews and clear pricing and descriptions.

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Networking can be done for no money and when done successfully it is more than worth itMoney Itself There are a lot of great people in the lapidary industry and it's important to try to get to know them all! Start with your local lapidary schools and clubs. There are usually 10-20 people who will be happy to tell you about local gem shows, cool places to look for rock, and the various ways they have made money in the industry in the past.

(Video) What Do You Need to Get Started with Gemstone Faceting (Gear, Books, and More)

Other great places to socialize are gem shows, arts events, and mining royalty digs. Depending on what you are trying to sell, you can mention that you are preparing to start a short business. You will be amazed at the different jobs that will come your way and the calls you will receive. For the most part, you'll find the lapidary community to be very close-knit and word spreads quickly.

How to sell

As mentioned above, you need to decide on a platform to sell your products/services. A few different options are a website, etsy, gem shows, and ebay. I believe at first that one Etsy page can do justice to many people. If you are selling a service, you may need to create a website. This way you can better market your businessand explain your service. Etsy will be the most profitable and least amount of work for someone selling individual stones or jewelry. However, with a website you have more freedom because it costs a little more and you have to design it yourself. However, platforms like WooCommerce and Shopify have made designing a website extremely easy compared to 10 years ago when you had to hire a programmer. Therefore, an experienced cutter selling individual stones might also consider creating a website.

Once you've decided on a platform, start customizing and uploading your products/services. When you're done, share it on the social media platforms you created earlier and start gaining followers. Like I said before, word of mouth will be an important distributor for your sales to take off. The succinct community is very close-knit, and a good rating means a lot when it starts to spread. Work hard to get your name out there. Try to do the best you can on social media and online.

The math: how much can a lapidary artist earn?

This is a key question to ask yourself when deciding whether to start a business and also when finalizing your paperwork and game plan to build the business. The truth is, the possibilities in the lapidary industry are endless! You can do anything from a high cash flow business to a low cash flow business because it is totally up to you. Luckily there are no rules. However, I will break down how some of the math for starting a business will work in each category.


Carving pays off because of the skills and knowledge required to carve a beautiful stone. The following examples are for an average to good factor.

A facetor buys a blankSonnentonfor $10/ct. The rough piece of stone weighs 10 carats and totals $100. Once cut, it weighs 3.5 ct and can sell for $100/ct. This makes the stone worth $350 after it is cut. The profit would be $250. If it took 5 hours to cut the stone, the cutter would earn around $40 per hour after paying for some ads and the platforms he uses to process payments and run his business. I find someone who uses this business method to make $25-75/hr depending on their quality, skill, speed and the type of material they are cutting. Knowing what approximate prices are good deals is also an extremely valuable asset when it comes to increasing your bottom line. Facet Rough can be very expensive, and you may unknowingly decrease the amount of money you put in your pocket through the transactions you make on Rough.

The average cutter also gets only 25% performance out of cutting. This means that when faceting, 75% of the stone is cut. However, an experienced cutter knows how to keep 35-50% of the stone, resulting in a larger and more expensive stone even though you started with the exact same piece of material.

Another example would be someone who refacets gemstones. If someone chips a 3-carat sapphire and needs to recut it, the average price for a new cut is $100. A skilled cutter should be able to refacet a gemstone in around 2-3 hours. So, after business expenses are deducted, they make about $30 per hour.

(Video) How to Cut & Polish Gemstones: Introductory Lesson


Carving is very similar to faceting when it comes to hourly rates. carverthey are well paid for their time because of the skills you need to do the job effectively. If you price by weight, carving can earn you a higher wage than carving, since you lose much less material on carving than carving.

A gem cutter can buy a 25g piece of Ethiopian opal for $250 and spend 6 hours carving it. When complete, it can weigh 65 carats and sell for $10/ct, resulting in a profit of $400. Which in return would be around $60/hr. I find that gem cutters earn an average of $20-100 an hour depending on skill, speed, and the material being cut.

taxi driving

Gem trapping is different than faceting or carving when it comes to payment. Someone who cuts gems needs to cut more than 1 stone every few hours. Someone who drives a taxi must be able to drive a gem every 10-15 minutes.

If someone comes to a taxi with 500g of turquoise (20 pieces) to a mason, the average payment is $1/g. Which would result in a profit of around $225. The average yield when cutting cabochons is around 45%. If the cutter takes 5 hours, then it would be $40 per hour. after operating expenses.

There are ways to increase the number of cabs you cut each hour by dumping rock piles instead of cutting them by hand.

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Gem shows are one of the best ways to get your name out there, network and make sales. Try to get a spot at a local rock show, or if you want a spot at a show like the Tucson Gem Show or the Denver Gem Show.

You will find many people involved and interested in your industry. As you go to these programs more and more, you will begin to form various relationships that can help you expand your knowledge, sales, and/or network.

(Video) Buying and Selling Gems

Booths at a gem fair range from $50 for a small booth at a local art fair to $5000 per seat for high-end gem fairs. If you know your market and your sales figures, you will understand which booth areas are worth your while.

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quality and competition

In the end, what decides if you have a lot or a lot will be thatquality of your work. People pay a lot of money for quality work. Master the skills you use to stand out from the crowd.Take your work to the next level so that people continue to admire you andbuy from you.

Gem cutters should focus more on how well something is done, rather than how much they get paid when it's done. Preserving quality and making it matterWertfor your business will create a long-lasting and beneficial business structure for the artist and consumers.


It's not very difficult to start a succinct business and expand it into a part-time or full-time job. However, it takes some determination, imagination, and skill to succeed. Lapidary artists can be paid well, especially once you master the art, and being a lapidary artist can also give you a lot of freedom with your time. Most likely, you create your own hours and decide when you need to work. This can be both a blessing and a hindrance depending on your work ethic. So make sure you're in the right frame of mind as you begin to master your craft. Don't leave blemishes on your stones and show people the quality you achieve with your stones.Focus on quality, reliability, and persistence so you can stand out from the crowd.

Social media will be your best friend when it comes to scaling your business. Make sure you have a strong social media presence and start gaining followers as soon as possible and as quickly as possible. You will be surprised how quickly your business can take off when you have good products or services.

Gem shows can be the key to success for many inspiring artists. Building a customer base and networking will be important when attending these shows. Make sure you meet people who are where you'd like to be, and then ask them and learn how they got there. Many people in the industry would like to share!

If you have any questions about starting a business, or need help with advertising, setting up a website, or getting the tools you need, don't hesitate to contact us! We at Cutting Edge Supply are here to help.

(Video) How to make money cutting Gems


1. How to Cut & Polish Gemstones: 1 Introduction & Identifying Inclusions
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3. Cutting & Recutting for Gem Business Course
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5. 160 carat rough opal cut an unbelievable gem. Totally unexpected
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6. Zhuode Faceting Machine FT-X1 Accuracy Testing HIGH PRECISION GEM CUT
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