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October 2011
In this issue...
Can you make money faceting?
ARTICLE: Can you make money faceting? ... John Bailey says....
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Welcome to the latest edition of The SomeTimes Newsletter!

Thank you for your continued interest in Ultra Tec's lapidary products. 

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Can you make money faceting?



...that's a question that's asked over and over.  It's not a question asked by those who do already make money at faceting (obviously) -- but it is an absolutely legitimate question by those who are "thinking about it".


There are very many people who are hobbyists, who facet for the love of it.  We've written before about the "faceting gene"; people who have it will facet no-matter-what.  But, particularly in these unstable economic times, even those people think about -- Can you make money faceting?

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It's an old question.  We've had some answers that were very short on detail, but cautioned "Don't do it just because you want to make money - be sure you love faceting" - and - "Understand that the money won't fall into your lap - it's a business - and there are things to do besides faceting".  Those injunctions still apply, but they didn't go very far in really answering the question.


What was needed was an answer from an expert - someone "in the front lines" -- someone "doing it".  We reached out to John Bailey with "the question".  John is a  "yea-sayer".  Now, there are many "fine points" - many "details" to this question - after all, John teaches this very subject in his "Academy" - so a short article can't cover the subject comprehensively, but, hopefully it offers some insight.


Here it is - as John put it, a "sort of thumbnail" article on the subject:



ARTICLE: Can you make money faceting? ... John Bailey says... 


john bailey
John Bailey


With the desire to do it, and with the basics in place, a person should be able to make money - even a living - at faceting.   I talk about these basics below - limited in detail because of space, but I hope useful.


Of course, as with any business, you would have to satisfy yourself that there is a demand. Well, you can contact any competent faceter who is in business and see by how long they're backed-up. Most will quote you in months. If they're that busy, then the demand is certainly sufficient to sustain many professionals working. In my opinion, there's plenty of room in the marketplace at a good rate of pay (and I'm personally getting over $100 / hour even though I've never won a Cutting Edge or other flashy award).


Past the initial investment (entry cost) of the machine, the main issue that's machine-relevant is efficiency. And, given the field of quality American-made machines, a reasonable amount of practice with any of the decent ones will produce enough efficiency to be profitable.


So, in my opinion, profitability in faceting is mainly about three things:


1. Sourcing and evaluating rough.


Although anyone can certainly make $20 an hour and up cutting marbles, (I did this before I could afford good rough), it's easier to do better with better quality rough. And, for other reasons, challenging with synthetics. Evaluating natural rough in a systematic way prevents loss. And, I have specific methods for doing that, and a set of specific math that I use in the process. While my specific parameters are confidential, the general structure is something I can share.


I teach a great deal of my Academy around this issue.



2.  Color.


A)  According to The Guide (the de-facto standard appraisal reference in the USA) Color is 60% to 70% of the value in a colored stone. So, orienting rough and using appropriate design components to maximize color display and yield are key. Great rough may not matter if a person orients it badly - especially in directional, dichroic, or zoned materials. So, understanding orientation for directionality is important. Orientation is also important for management of flaws and inclusion.


I teach a great deal around this issue.


B) Because color is the primary value feature, it's important to choose the best design components for color presentation and yield. It's possible to turn a "winner" into a "loser" - or to take a marginal stone and turn it profitable by understanding what design components do what - and in combination. And, most people haven't researched the optics of design components deeply enough to make optimal choices, here. For instance, the SRB is, by far, NOT the best display of color (or capture of yield) in most colored stone materials - while non-standard presentations can enhance value by 20% and more (according, again, to the Guide).


So just pointing the stone in the right direction and choosing the right design can make all the difference. I teach so much around this issue in a second advanced course through the academy.


3. Helping the buyer discover their love and long-term enjoyment of the individual piece.


Fred Meyer Jewelers regional managers (who coached me when I was an independent broker for them) call this "perception of value". Based on my work as clinical hypnotist and motivational researcher / speaker, I call it the *experience* of value - which hinges on fundamental emotions behind self-adornment behavior in primates (chimps are also known to self-decorate in rudimentary ways).


I teach a great deal around this issue.


Importantly, I have found the greatest actual impediment to profitability for most faceters is the difference, psychologically, between artists and commission-paid brokers - the ability to work item #3 on the above list. So, most must EITHER become literate in the emotional economics of the transaction - or have a sustainable relationship with a broker to achieve fiscal success.


That's a thumbnail of what I have to say about the issue.


If you find it interesting enough for your newsletter let's talk more about details.



John Bailey can be reached at the Faceting Academy Website





Back in the 1970's the first "Faceters Fairs" were held in San Jose, California. These fairs featured faceting competitions, which included the "Ultra Tec Trophy", awarded for the "Best Case".   We thought that an appropriate "trophy" would be a plaque which carried a stone, appropriately placed in our logo.


Each year's award stone would be cut by the winner of the prior year's Ultra Tec Trophy - it was something special - for which we wanted a special design, so, in 1975 Ultra Tec held a design competition for the "Ultra Tec Trophy Stone". The award was $100, back then, not such a paltry amount, and the winner was Ruth Aiken, of Ohio. Ruth will be proud to hear that the video that shows this actual stone has had over 27,000 views on YouTube at last count.


We've been in touch, recently, with Doug Inkley, who is an Ultra Tec faceter (he's a son of Ruth Aiken's teacher - and a friend to Ruth) who asked about the design. We looked back and we saw that the design preceded any issue of the SomeTimes - and had never been "published". Well, it's never too late so here it is! 

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We welcome all our Ultra Tec cousins as FANS -- your, pictures, videos, expereinces, comments and suggestions are always welcome!


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 (RE)INTRODUCING-- A New (Old) Representative




 We Welcome Allen Petersen

 ... East Granby, Connecticut


Allen Petersen
Allen Petersen

Allen Petersen recently went through a re-branding of his business to become Middle Earth Lapidary


 As you see from the photo below, Middle Earth has a 'Gem Lab' for training and custom cutting. The Store is a veritable mine of equipment and quality gem rough.



Middle Earth Training Room   Middle Earth Store





For a full listing of all our Domestic & World Wide Reps click here..













Thank you as always for your interest in Ultra Tec and our products. We'll be in touch again soon with the next Sometimes Bulletin.


Bye for now!


The Ultra Tec Team


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