Thanks everyone

In the end I have bit the bullet and brought the stone I wanted from the states- I then brought a few more pieces to make the charges worthwhile (fool that I am, but excited too!- a set of 4 lovely raw emeralds).

I have wondered about gemrock auctions- I assume duty is still paid when they come in to the UK? I always resent the £10 the courier charges to handle the duty- they look like a great site.

I've used the Genuine Gemstone company- or at least the "gem collector" site and found them to be good, didn't realise they do rough too. I have also had good results for finished stones from gem select in Thailand.

I'd love to go to Tucson, but I get told off enough for just a few tools or a stone- I'd be in the bad books for months if I went to Tuscon!!!

Cheers Matt