cut by John Dyer are worn by women with confident personalities
Dyer has achieved the highest pinnacles of success in gem cutting
despite – or perhaps because of – his modest nature. Free of the bounds
of arrogance and self-importance, he pursues beauty for beauty’s sake.
Along the way, he’s won multiple American Gem Trade Association Cutting
Edge Awards. And the 25-year-old has done it all since embarking on the
colored gem path less than a decade ago.
kid is so young and so talented,” says Gary Dulac of Gary Dulac
Goldsmiths, Vero Beach, FL. “When we met at the Tucson Gem and Mineral
Shows just a few years ago, I was impressed with the quality of his
work and his humble, open personality. He has come to know my needs and
invariably recommends a gem that works perfectly with my designs.”
jewelers share Dulac’s enthusiasm. Don Fane, goldsmith for Robert Giede
Designs, Menomonie, WI, says Dyer’s gems are easy to set because
they’re perfectly symmetrical and that they’re so well polished they
look exceptional in jewelry.
Doughnuts to Gemstones
Dyer grew up traveling the world with his missionary parents. He spent
much of his young adulthood in Brazil, where he learned to speak
Portuguese and was home-schooled. “We moved many times, so it was more
stable for me to receive home education,” he says. It also cemented a
working relationship with his father, David, now a partner in John’s
experiences taught Dyer how to deal with people from all walks of life
and also revealed a knack for business. To help his family make ends
meet, the young entrepreneur became a street vendor, hawking a totally
unknown product in Brazil: doughnuts. “Initially, I had to offer free
samples so people could understand the product,” he recalls. “Then I
started to build up my business.” He later sold chicken, sheep and
Brazil’s gem riches, Dyer’s passion for cutting gems didn’t really
bloom until he returned to the U.S. years later. A gem dealer allowed*
Dyer and his father to sell goods on memo. Colored gems began to
fascinate him. “I like beautiful things and bright colors, and here
they were!” he says.
and his father took their first gem-buying trip to Zambia for emeralds.
He noticed prices for cut goods were often higher there than in the
U.S. because gem rough was exported, cut elsewhere then returned to
Zambia for sale to unknowing tourists. Instead of buying cut emeralds,
the Dyers bought rough and then sought cutters when they returned to
the U.S. “One person demanded $300 a pop for cutting our rough and then
did a really poor job*, and I
got mad,” he says. “I can do that and save us the costs.”
first years were arduous and filled with costly learning opportunities.
“We didn’t break even from that first Zambia trip until seven years
later,” he says.
first used garnets, much less expensive than emeralds, and his first
faceting machine was an Ultra Tech, which remains his favorite because
he says it maintains its cutting angles in the cutting process. “I also
read a lot of books about gemstones and cutting,” he says.
now knows how to buy the best crystals. “I learned not to go for overly
dark and saturated material, to avoid inclusions and to use light to
understand the integrity of the crystal,” he says.
also learned about merchandising. “Our best customers are independent
jewelers who love color and who design and make their own jewelry on
the premises,” he says. “We also sell to collectors and dealers who
sell to collectors.” In addition, he sends an annual catalog to
retailers, filled with pictures he took himself as a skilled gem
he have trouble parting with his works of art? “If I sell it, I can
create something new,” he says.
like to tell retailers that anything under 5 carats should be
considered melee,” he says, joking. “I like big gemstones because, if
displayed properly in a store, they are like billboards. Consumers
look, stop and are fascinated. They want to know more. This is an
advantage for jewelers because it helps them stand apart. No one else
says jewelers should nurture a love for colored gems in their
customers. “You may not have this customer today,” he tells retailers
who say consumers don’t buy large* color. “But you won’t have the
tomorrow either unless you commit to color. You must cultivate the
says the typical customer for his creations is a woman, generally over
40 and confident enough to buy larger gems. “She wants to express her
individuality and good taste,” he says. This type of customer seems
drawn to Dyer’s clean, conventional use of gem material, though he
increasingly creates unique optical feats as well. “It is a travesty to
see poorly cut stones,” he says. “Rough has the potential to become so
many things – successful cutting is when you fulfill that potential. In
gems we find such small and compact beauty, such small and vibrant
color. A gem is about the closest thing to perfection we have in this
* is to show where small factual corrections were made to the article)