Gem safety razors were contemporaries of Gillette safety razors and they competed directly against them from the early 1900's through the 1970's. Cartridge razors eventually spelled doom for Gem style razors and by the late 1970's, you could no longer find them at your corner drug store. However, enough people loved them and held onto vintage models that these same corner stores continue to carry GEM blades to this day.
Flash forward 40 years and, there is still a dedicated group of Gem razor users and, local stores still carry Gem blades. Why is there still such a dedicated group of Gem users? The reasons are diverse.
Gem blades are thicker than double edge blades which leads to less flex as well as to the quality of holding an edge for much longer than a double edge blade. It is not at all unusual to be able to get 10 shaves or more from a single blade. This breaks down to around 2 cents per shave so, it is a very economical way to shave. The thicker and less flexible blade is also great for those with a thick beard. It can cut through a beard as tough as steel wool like a hot knife through butter if paired with the right razor.
Until recently, users were forced to scour EBAY for an old vintage razor. While these razors can get the job done, you don't know where they have been. While the chance of contracting a blood born disease is extremely unlikely, many people still find the idea of using an old razor as somewhat repulsive.
Rocnel, an innovative razor maker based in Turkey, recently released the first modern Gem Style razor and the first Gem razor at all in nearly 40 years. The Rocnel SE-G razor is machined to very tight tolerances out of solid blocks of stainless steel.
The Rocnel SE-G is designed specifically for men who have a thick beard and who like a shave on the aggressive side. All it takes is two passes -one pass with the grain and one pass against the grain -to achieve cheeks as soft as the inside of your elbow. If you have a wispy beard and/or prefer mild razors, this is not for you.