Back to IGS | FAQ | Contact

Getting appraisal on rough stones

Continuing the discussion from Gemstone appraisals on rough raw gems and slabs:

This is Robert. To complete my question how do I go about getting appraisals on some of my most exquisite and rare pieces of rough gems that I have discovered?

A trained gemmologist appraiser would be a good place to start. Either that or maybe connect with a local rock and mineral club to see if there are any prospectors or people that do that type of work for a living. I know through most gemmology courses they teach us to identify rough gemstones but it’s not something we usually are asked to appraise. Any appraiser worth their salt should be able to research it and get you a price though. Otherwise maybe contact specialty gemstone dealers and see if they would be willing to help get a price or even buy them from you.


I think you are going to need help from a gem cutter here. Appraisers are not typically taught to assess cutting rough. A cutter has to determine whether orientation has anything to do with best color and also look at inclusions, if any, and how these need to be placed or cut out of the rough. A good cutter, with dimensions of the rough, can determine a preferred cutting diagram to use and actually calculate a probable weight of the cut stone. The actual color of the cut stone is a wild card, but a good cutter can give a rough estimate and from all of the above can give you an estimate of value. Many professional cutters cut for a fee and this tells you that they prefer to get paid a set fee rather than deal with the vagaries of the gem market. However, there are folks, including me, who buy gem rough, send it out to be cut and then sell it, so there is good profit to be made in such business. You will find that generally having the rough cut and then selling it is going to yield more profit than just selling the rough…sometimes you can get 4x to 10x the rough value, but that is variable and that is why buying rough and selling cut is a business that requires a good bit of knowledge and judgement. I think you can find a professional American precision cutter who can evaluate your rough for you for a reasonable fee. Being that this is a tough call, you won’t find anyone to guarantee their estimate, though. -royjohn.


Thank you for the responses answer. Here in the rural nc /sc areas that does not have any real metropolitan areas without driving 100 miles or so to get to a large city like Charlotte. It is tough to find or talk with anyone here that can knowledgeably assess and appraise any gem or rough and the few jeweler businesses I contacted could not seem to give me a good answer to where I might find the ability to have gem rough appraised. Honestly after joining the GIA family I am seriously about to starting cutting my own stones and see if I can’t facet and then with even partial slabs and trim stones that can be faceted and opened up so the best gem material can be realized see then if I can get appraisals then on slab or cut stones


Ditto to what RoyJohn said. A man I deem to be wise and knowledgeable in the game of gems. Helped me come to a final conclusion on a baffalling stone related problem I’ve been dealing with for several years. Highly credible in my opinion.
A good lapidary can help you. Visit Spruce Pine, NC via the Blue Ridge Parkway. Many lapidaries and gem shops there.


Thank you for the responses and I am planning on taking a trip up the blue ridge parkway and.find an appraiser.