Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 6856 STATE OF THE MAJORS 2016 With diamonds, almost every stone being sold by a rep- utable seller comes with a grad- ing report dissecting its cut, clarity, color and carat weight and giving the consumer very specific knowledge about the quality of their stone. With colored gemstones, it’s not so, Shor says. While stores, designers and dealers can provide the carat weight themselves, not every colored stone is sent to a lab for a report. What’s more, they aren’t required to be. And, the results that come from sending a stone in for a report can vary from lab to lab.What one might see as a “pigeon’s blood” ruby, another might not.The same can be said for a “cornflower blue” sapphire or exactly which orange-pink shades constitute a padparadscha sapphire. Popping up of late has been the conversa- tion about “Paraiba” tourmaline: Does the term still refer only to stones that originate from the Paraíba region of Brazil, or can it be used to talk about copper-bearing tour- maline in general? If it is the latter, should it instead be labeled as “Paraiba-type?” In late 2015, Swiss labs Gemmological Institute SSEF and Gübelin Gem Lab har- monized their standards of color and quality criteria when it comes to the terms “pigeon’s blood red” and “royal blue” for fine rubies and sapphires to bring unity and clarity to the industry.The two established a strict set of re- quirements in terms of both color and quality. “Clearly, such stringent sets of criteria imply that only a very small percentage of rubies and sapphires qualify,” Daniel Nyfeler, managing director of the Gübelin Gem Lab, said at the time. “This is in line with the experience and belief of both Gübelin and SSEF that historically only exceptional rubies and sapphires were attributed these quality terms.” It was not clear by press time whether or not they would continue to harmonize these standards with additional labs. Today’s consumer also is showing an increased concern with en- suring that what they’re buying is ethically sourced and comes from a sound background, and the industry continues to respond in kind. But rather than an international agreement on trading between countries and corporations, since the colored stone market is so large and scattered, the governments and organizations around the world are enforcing laws for the import and export of goods. In March, the Responsible Jewellery Council announced that it would expand its scope to include colored gemstones, a move that came after five years of discussion and collaboration with its mem- bers, external stakeholders and the colored gemstone industry. Last summer, the American Gem Trade Association made a few revisions to its Code of Ethics and Fair Business Practices document to emphasize the importance of transparent supply chains in the colored gemstone world. The edits were made to emphasize that members are not only giv- ing correct information but also doing everything they can to as- sure the stones have been sourced in legitimate fashion and comply with U.S. and international laws, AGTA CEO and President Doug Hucker told National Jeweler at the time. In another nod toward industry members understanding the need to create a set of standards and help get everyone on the same page, the first industry summit dedicated entirely to responsible sourcing, called the Jewelry Industry Summit, took place in 2016 in NewYork. More are planned for the future. But the colored stone market, by its fragmented, fractious nature, faces the challenge of how to get everyone on the same page when it comes to instituting a set of standards for ethical sourcing. The magnitude of the colored stone indus- try is an important distinction to consider “or else the efforts at ethical sourcing will simply put the vast majority of small-scale folks out of business for lack of resources to meet requirements that have little to do with the actual integrity of the production,” Robertson says, noting that the key will be to educate the consumer while not destroying the ability of small-scale producers to exist. STONE BY STONE Robertson says spinel, which is now an August birthstone, is doing well in the market, as are sapphires. Among the “big three,” he says that emer- ald has the most upside, as the gemstone benefits from more promotion from the likes of Gemfields. Even though emerald prices have climbed over the past few years, the increases haven’t been as high as those seen for rubies and sapphires. Nagpal says that unique stones are doing well for his company, pointing out spinel as a strong performer for Omi Gems too, noting the stone is something he’s been pushing because it is “reasonably priced.” Fancy colored sapphires have been popular with buyers as well. One of the consumer trends he sees that’s helping the market is colored stone bridal, a trend that has picked up steam in the last few years, with many designers and manufacturers getting on board with it. Another is the rise of gemstone collectors, especially as the internet allows for more education and more awareness among consumers. But even as demand for the high-end stones soars, supply has not kept pace. “That’s probably the biggest challenge that we face. Where I spend most of my time is just trying to source the finest-quality stones,” Nagpal says. “We’ve been doing this for generations and our company’s over 30 years old so we have great contacts with suppliers, but even then, that’s probably been the most difficult part, whether it’s a 1-carat sapphire, like a bread-and-butter 1-carat round sapphire, or whether it’s a 10-carat ruby.” colored stone market “(SUPPLY) IS PROBABLY THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THAT WE FACE. WHERE I SPEND MOST OF MY TIME IS JUST TRYING TO SOURCE THE FINEST-QUALITY STONES. WE HAVE GREAT CONTACTS BUT, EVEN THEN, THAT’S PROBABLY BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT PART, WHETHER IT’S A 1-CARAT SAPPHIRE OR A 10-CARAT RUBY.” — NIVEET NAGPAL, OMI GEMS Gemfields has two mining sites in Zambia, the Kagem Emerald Mine (pictured here) and the Kariba Amethyst Mine.