Torraca Gemcutting is a specialized colored gemstone service company providing high quality repair, recutting and custom faceting. Featuring the craftsmanship of Peter Torraca and using state of the art faceting machines, we’re able to both execute value repairs and produce custom-cut finished colored gemstones.
In cutting from rough or repairs, my focus is on making gemstones as beautiful as they can and ready for your jewelry.
While most of our work is in service cutting for the jewelry trade, we do have an inventory of select gemstones sourced from all over the world. Whether buying roughs from the miners in Montana or Tanzania, we’re careful to source our stones directly, ethically, legally and fairly.
About Our Craftsman
From early childhood, Peter Torraca was always fascinated with rocks and gemstones. His mother quickly learned that checking pockets was essential at laundry time, otherwise small, pretty stones would inevitably be found banging around the laundry machine. Being the son of a small-town New York bench-jeweler, the jump from pretty pebbles to gemstones was completely natural. Over the years, his love of gemstones gave me opportunity to work in various parts of the jewelry trade from behind-the-counter retail sales to wholesale diamonds to estate jewelry. Yet, none of these aspects of the jewelry trade really satisfied. Peter learned that he was more interested in the gems themselves than the finished jewelry they were used in.
After college, Peter decided to formalize his love of gemstones. He began working on his Graduate Gemologist degree from the GIA. One of the benefits of the GIA training is the opportunity to study A LOT of loose gemstones. But as he worked through the courses, Peter found a strange disappointment with most of the stones. “I began to realize that that while most diamonds are very well cut, most colored stones are very poorly cut. I had a feeling colored gemstones were getting short-shrift, though I wasn’t certain why.”
Then in 2002 Peter visited a local rock & gem show in Indiana. He remembers: “It’s always been fun to walk through the displays of specimens and chat with the old timers who are always willing to share knowledge & colorful stories of field trips past. But one display stopped me cold. Two professional gemcutters were set up with their equipment demonstrating how they worked rough. The finished stones they displayed were amazing — bright, shiny and mesmerizing. I had only seen that kind of performance from diamonds. Then it clicked: fine colored gemstones need not be windowed and poorly polished. Properly cut, even humble rock-crystal quartz can catch & throw light.”
Peter went home and began researching gemstone faceting. “The more I read, the more I was hooked. That small rock-show ‘discovery’ ultimately lead me to take up faceting as a trade. I now use state of the art faceting equipment and techniques to create exceptional, fine gemstones that stand well apart from common commercial stones.”
Since taking up custom faceting as a trade, Peter’s been able to travel in search of gem rough and stones for recutting. “I’ve been blessed to pursue gems from the gem & jewelry shows in Tucson to the the bush in Tanzania and Kenya.”
But Peter relates that the greatest challenge is not the travel, but the craft of gemcutting and especially gemstone repair. While it may seem that placing 58 perfectly faceted and symmetric facets on a round brilliant is more difficult that replacing a single facet on a chipped stone, the reality is quite different. “It takes a deep familiarity with the technical aspects of gemcutting and a lot of confidence to dop up a $2000/ct ruby, spot-repair a chip and blend the repair into the larger design. In cutting from rough, you can always make the stone a little smaller. With repair work, you don’t have that luxury: the jeweler and his client are eager to put the stone back into it’s original mounting. High value repairs are where true craftsmanship can be seen.”
Peter describes himself as “an unapologetic Christian, the father of twins, and husband to a highly intelligent and beautiful wife who works for a small Western NY college. When I’m not faceting gemstones, corralling kids, working in the garden or on an ambulance call, I pursue theology, fiction, martial arts and rock-hounding. In between all of that, we roast our own coffee and I’m always looking for a legitimate excuse to brew some up.”