Help!! Which Afghan stones to design with? We have been guided from readily-available lapis (opaque dark blue inexpensive stones) to spinels (pink, faceted, expensive stones) from Gary the Gemhunter, a friend of Sophia’s, to tourmalines, to raw Afghan emeralds (that will need cutting) from a dealer and possibly lapis again. The stones shift our designs from silver to silver and gold, to silver and possibly base metal again. The emeralds are a gorgeous color but cutting needs time and expertise, and no one is sure that the Afghan gem-cutters are capable of this. Not to mention that the dealer will only sell the entire parcel of emeralds, not pieces, all 3000 carats of them. The spinels are expensive and although they will be loaned until sold, their value alone is double our budget. There is also a stipulation that the main parcel will not be split; it consists of about a dozen stones. That’s a big suite of stones, thus a very pricey set. There is little in the budget for the designs so our big dilemma is how to make a collection out of all these shifting parts yet monetary limitations.
The last word as of this moment is that we are asked to make a fine jewelry collection. As lapis is not a stone one would use in precious metal, given the currently high price of gold, the emeralds are uncut, and the spinels come with restrictions, tourmaline calls.