Fine gemcutting by John Miller,
Gemcutter/Graduate Gemologist

Repolishing cabochons.
Gemstone inlay
Gemstones for sale
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About me
Gemology & Lapidary Pages

Born at mid-20th century in the Appalachian foothills in North Carolina, I decided at an early age to become an astronomer, since I was mesmerized by glittering stars and found them much more interesting than things more down-to-earth. In 1968, I enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where my attention began to waver after I realized I needed a good grasp of subjects such as analytical calculus and differential equations. After getting a bachelor's degree in Psychology (almost as worthless in 1972 as it is now!), I found myself in a series of just plain jobs until the onset of the computer revolution, when I headed back to class to learn more about programming. For the next couple of decades, I found myself tinkering with computers in the UNC-CH Medical School -- an entertaining and reasonably comfortable habit, despite the state's stifling bureaucracy and low pay. For a while, I wrote software for acquiring and analyzing electrophysiology data, processing fluorescent video images, and tracking scientific journal submissions. Eventually, I took up computer networking and then found myself administering almost 400 computers (a mishmash of all versions of Windows, Macs, a few SGI workstations, Windows servers, plus assorted laptops, scanners, laser printers, etc.), writing Web pages, and helping some 300+ biomedical researchers to use all of this marvelous and sometimes frustrating stuff. As they say, variety is the spice of life! After a while, though, this got a little wearisome, so I retired from my 30+ years of University employment. A new phase of life is at hand, and I have time to catch up on many pending projects and new ones yet to hatch!

What does that have to do with gems! Not a darned thing. Along the way, though, back about 1975, I became interested in gems and jewelry making. I was a pretty mediocre silversmith, though I think I could appreciate a good design when I saw it. The late Henry C. ("Hank") Hurlburt, who cut a number of stones for the Smithsonian collection in his day, taught a beginning lapidary course at UNC, and he introduced me to the basics of gemcutting. Well, I fell in love with those glittering rocks, and I've been faceting and cabbing as a hobby/sideline business ever since. While I was at it, I picked up a Graduate Gemologist Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) , so I would know a little more about the stones I was working on.

Over the past three and a half decades, I've cut more than a few stones for jewelers, collectors, and friends -- from little black onyx "Tar Heel" cabs to magnificent 13 carat tsavorites and 5 carat emeralds, and I keep a small but, I think, interesting inventory nearby to amuse me. If you have comments or questions, please get in touch via my contact page.

All my gemcutting is done under close supervision!

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