BULAWAYO, Monday, September 19, 1966 — There is in Fort Victoria a live wire anti-sanctions committee and it was this committee which suggested to Mr Stuart Rutherfoord-Jones, the proprietor of Minute Jewellers, that the cutting and polishing of emeralds was not beyond his scope.
This delicate work is normally done in West Germany — a facility which, since UDI, is denied to the Rhodesian market.
But now, though only in a very small way as yet, it is being done in Fort Victoria by Mr Rutherfoord-Jones.
Born in Fort Victoria, Mr Rutherfoord-Jones (34), has been in business there as a watch-maker and jeweller since 1962. Before that he had a jeweller’s business in Bulawayo.“For years I toyed with the idea of cutting my own gems but I’d never got around to it. Then came UDI, and the suggestion from the anti-sanctions committee, and I decided to go ahead,’’ he said.
First he had to teach himself how to use a special machine for the purpose and he intends to teach two Africans how to use it.
The cut gems he has already turned out, some of which he has exported, have been pronounced by the experts, he says, as “very satisfactory.”
All his emeralds, so far, have come from a 40-mile radius of Fort Victoria.
Some of the value of being able to do this work is given by the fact that the price of a top quality uncut emerald varies between £1 and £3 a carat. When cut and polished the same emerald could fetch £175 a carat.
“If all goes well with what is now just a small venture then it is possible that I might be able to establish a cutting and polishing factory in Fort Victoria,’’ said Mr Rutherfoord-Jones.