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Photos courtesy Custom Cut Gems Lisa Elser, this article’s author, looking at sapphire crystals at a mine in Sri Lanka. Roughing it Buying at the source: How hard can it be? By Lisa Elser W finding rough material that met my to find high-quality gem rough, but the only way to get standards (and my price expectations) at the good stuff was to know the dealers. Unfortunately, had proved to be difficult. Stones I was new in the business and didn’t have the contacts to get me into the private rooms or behind the counters where and overseas—were not as advertised and returns were JB_Aug13.indd 88 impossible. I’d been pounding the ground in Tucson trying I bought from online dealers—both in the United States 88 hen I started my gem-cutting business, the ‘Big Boys’ bought. Jewellery Business / August 2013 7/11/13 3:08:55 PM