Editors

5 Things That Were Hot in Tucson

EditorsFeb 24, 2017

5 Things That Were Hot in Tucson

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator talks about the stones and colors most prominent at the gem shows.

According to feedback from a number of exhibitors from the Tucson gem shows this year, interesting and unusual stones were getting their time in the limelight. Pictured here is trapiche ruby from Mayer & Watt.

The annual Tucson gem shows in February are a blessing for a number of reasons.

The first is that it gives all of us in much colder climates the opportunity to head out West to the warm (at least during the daytime) desert and get some Vitamin C.

It’s also a fabulous time to catch up with industry friends and be able to totally geek out over gems with the exact crowd that appreciates the enthusiasm.

This year, with the entire National Jeweler team finally making the trek to Tucson with me, I walked the many show floors and talked to many exhibitors at AGTA’s GemFair, the GJX show and then had some of my own fun out in the tents and hotel shows.

Overall, the buying activity seemed to be decent and everyone, at the very least, was more than happy to be back in the desert and seemed optimistic about the direction in which the gem market is heading.

Here’s a round-up of some of the trends prevalent out West, both from my own observations and from the feedback I got after talking to a number of exhibitors.

1. Sapphires. This one didn’t surprise me, as it’s been a consistent topic in the gemstone market for a while now, but I always feel the need to include it since sapphires are doing so well right now.

Not only did I see sapphires everywhere in Tucson, but for so many of the exhibitors that I talked to both during the shows and afterward, this was one of the first answers they gave me when I asked what was selling.

And not just blue, which has stayed hot as it leverages the colored bridal trends and blue stones ride a popularity wave right now, but the fancy-colored sapphires and the warm options they bring as well.

2. Pastels. Consumers are craving them, designers are putting them in many of their designs and dealers are happy to provide them; pastel-colored gems are definitely having a moment.

My first point about sapphires has a lot to do with this trend, as people have told me time and again that the peachy and pink fancy-colored sapphires have helped keep interest in the classic stones, and the conversation around this color set continued in the desert.

Also doing well right now are aquamarine, amethyst, morganite and the blush shades of garnet, all

of which offer a nice, subtle colored stone look at affordable price points.


A spinel from Omi Gems
3. Spinel. This gemstone seems to have taken its new status as an August birthstone and run with it.

It seemed like spinels were everywhere in Tucson, and they weren’t just being displayed by many exhibitors but also purchased by many attendees.

Reds and pinks might be among the most sought-after, but the uptick in demand for the stone has trickled through to its other colors, like lilac, gray and steely blue.

One exhibitor in a post-Tucson conversation told me that demand was high for all of the gem’s colors she offered at GemFair--red, coral, light pink and the gray/platinum hues.

4. Rubies, especially from Mozambique. While Burmese rubies may have stolen the spotlight in the fall as the news broke that they could be imported again, it was their African counterparts that brought so much of the love for the red corundum to Tucson.

There were so many fine Mozambican rubies at the shows, which is fitting since it seems to be the direction in which that market is really heading.

I had one exhibitor tell me that their fine Mozambique material garnered a lot of attention, with their Burmese ruby-like characteristics and coloring and their much more affordable pricing.

He added that the company, and several other dealers he has talked to, believe that interest in this particular stone will continue to grow as consumers realize just how great the material is.


A 3.16-carat unheated ruby from Mozambique (Image courtesy Mayer & Watt)
Another dealer said that more and more people have been asking him directly for their Mozambican goods, which hadn’t been the norm for them in the United States as, he said, origin tends to matter less to the buyers here than in Asian markets.

Interestingly, he told me that be believes the increased awareness is due in large part to the marketing efforts done by Gemfields to promote their rubies.

5. Special stones. Tucson is always great for a hands-on learning experience, but this year there seemed to be even more interesting and rare stones than I remember in years past.

I was introduced to sphene a few times and had a long conversation with a dealer about trapiche gems--and not just of the emerald variety--and where he thought that market was going for these stones (more to come on that topic in a blog post next month).

Another dealer told me that while he did sell a lot of emeralds and sapphires, he noticed that people were getting to be a bit more adventurous with their buying during this year’s Tucson shows.

Special stones also includes stones with quality and interesting cuts, because that was a prediction from many dealers before the show and it certainly seemed to hold true.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

Supplier BulletinJun 30, 2022
Here’s Where You’ll Find The Best Online Jewelry Auctions

Sponsored by HiBid

CrimeJun 30, 2022
What JSA’s Annual Report Tells Us About Jewelry Crime in 2021

Plus, JSA President John Kennedy talks about the trajectory of industry crime over the last 20 years.

CrimeJun 30, 2022
Smash-and-Grab Robbers Hit Booth at TEFAF: Watch the Video

The fair was evacuated temporarily Tuesday after four suspects smashed a showcase and stole jewelry from British jeweler Symbolic & Chase.

Brought to you by
Preparing for Proposal Season with High-Quality, A.I.-Graded Natural Diamonds

Rare & Forever is helping to create an enjoyable diamond buying experience for the millions of newly-engaged couples.

Events & AwardsJun 30, 2022
Nominations Are Open for Gem Awards 2023

The 21st annual awards show and gala will take place in New York City next March.

Weekly QuizJun 23, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
Events & AwardsJun 30, 2022
Registration Open for JIS Fall in Miami

The jewelry trade show is scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

AuctionsJun 29, 2022
Bonhams Expands Again with Purchase of Paris Auction House

It is the fifth acquisition under the ownership of private equity firm Epiris, which bought Bonhams in 2018.

Brought to you by
Discover The Extraordinary Italian Jewelry In Las Vegas!

Experience all the Italian Jewelry market has to offer in Las Vegas.

MajorsJun 29, 2022
Zales Has a New Diamond Cut

The “Celebration Infinite” diamond has more than three times the number of facets in a traditional brilliant-cut diamond, the retailer said.

WatchesJun 29, 2022
Bulova Introduces New Frank Sinatra Watches

The brand again partnered with the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School to celebrate the launch of the “Summer Wind” watches.

SurveysJun 29, 2022
U.S. Platinum Jewelry Demand Starts 2022 on a Strong Note

Retail ounce sales were up 23 percent year-over-year in Q1, according to the recent Platinum Jewellery Business Review.

Events & AwardsJun 29, 2022
Registration Is Now Open for the HardRock Summit 2022

Scheduled for Sept. 8-11, the event will comprise more than 310,000 square feet of show floor, exhibits, and education space.

ColumnistsJun 28, 2022
The PR Adviser: Why Should Someone Buy From You?

If you’re having trouble answering this question, columnist Lilian Raji can help you get a started with a few fill-in-the-blank statements.

IndependentsJun 28, 2022
This Jeweler Is Celebrating 40 Years With 40 Days of Giveaways

Continental Diamond in Minneapolis is awarding a total of $25,000 in prizes via daily sweepstakes.

CollectionsJun 28, 2022
Melissa Kaye’s New Collection Doubles the Color

“Lenox” marks the designer’s foray into bespoke jewels and large colored gemstones.

Events & AwardsJun 28, 2022
Second AGS Virtual Education Conference Is All About Negotiation Skills

“Confluence” is happening in August.

MajorsJun 27, 2022
George Holmes, Longtime Head Editor of JCK Magazine, Dies at 93

He first took a job at then Philadelphia-based Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone in 1963 and retired in 1996.

MajorsJun 27, 2022
Mayors, Analog:Shift Team Up With Goop

The lifestyle platform will stock fine jewelry and watches from the retailers on its website and in store.

CrimeJun 27, 2022
JSA Warns of ‘Pandemic’ of Distraction Thefts Nationwide

It cited two recent cases in California, plus incidents in Florida, Kansas, and Illinois.

IndependentsJun 27, 2022
Lewis Jewelers Set to Open New Ann Arbor Store This Summer

The 10,000-square-foot location allows for expanded collections from design partners while continuing custom design and other services.

CollectionsJun 27, 2022
This Designer Has Found a New Way to Bring Gemstones to Life

Svetlana Lazar’s “Wishing Well” collection utilizes an innovative component to mimic the movement of water beneath them.

Supplier BulletinJun 24, 2022
AGTA GemFair™ Denver is the Place to Be in September!

Sponsored by AGTA

Recorded WebinarsJun 24, 2022
Vegas Jewelry Recap: The Editors Weigh In

Watch the webinar in which National Jeweler’s editors talk about jewelry market week trends and their predictions for the rest of 2022.

MajorsJun 24, 2022
Banter by Piercing Pagoda Celebrates Pride with ‘SayGay’ Necklace

All proceeds up to $25,000 will benefit the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ+ youth.

CollectionsJun 24, 2022
Piece of the Week: Marie Lichtenberg’s Hidden Message Locket

It’s a reminder that life is best lived with discretion.

TechnologyJun 24, 2022
Cloud-Based POS Software Jewel360 Launches for Jewelry Retailers

The end-to-end software allows for real-time control over all sales, inventory, repairs, customer communications, and marketing.

GradingJun 23, 2022
AIGS Launches Grading Report for ‘Santa Maria’ Aquamarine

The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences aims to set a color standard for the trade name.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy