Gem Cutter John Baily offers natural/untreated certified gemstones, customized gem cutting, one-of-a-kind faceted gems/jewelry, and carved gemstone art. This website also has several nice articles about how a gemstone is cut/facetted and also how to discriminate a garnet from a ruby with the naked eye.
Gary Bowersox has written several articles on his ventures into Afghanistan, the Southern Russian Republics and Pakistan. Also wrote a book and made a video. A number of very interesting articles on this site about his ventures, though many date from several years or more ago.