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.

20170224_Trapiche-ruby.jpg
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

Pomellato Malachite Pom Pom Dot bracelet
FinancialsJul 25, 2024
Boucheron, Pomellato Post Double-Digit Growth in Q2

The gains come amid a tough time for parent company Kering, which saw sales slide 11 percent in the first half of the year.

Bulgari high jewelry campaign
FinancialsJul 24, 2024
LVMH’s First-Half Jewelry, Watch Sales Dip 5%

Tiffany & Co. is focusing on its “iconic” collections while the company has made changes at the top at TAG Heuer and Hublot.

Chaumet Paris 2024 Olympics medals
MajorsJul 24, 2024
See Chaumet’s Paris Olympic Medals Inspired by its High Jewelry

The Parisian brand is the first jewelry company in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to design the medals.

Untitled design.jpg
Brought to you by
The End of an Era? Lab-Grown Diamonds' Journey Towards Price Stability

As the demand for lab-grown diamond jewelry may still be increasing, the most notable change we are likely to see is price stabilization.

Jewelers Mutual and Union Life and Casualty logos
MajorsJul 24, 2024
Jewelers Mutual Acquires Pawnbroker Insurance Provider

Union Life & Casualty will join JM Insurance Agency Partners, expanding the provider’s pawnbroker coverage.

Weekly QuizJul 18, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these questions.
Take the Quiz
Bradlei Smith
MajorsJul 24, 2024
Ben Bridge Announces 2024 Lonia Tate Scholarship Winner

Los Angeles-based Bradlei Smith was selected for this year’s award.

National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
ColumnistsJul 23, 2024
Peter Smith: The Case for Optimism in Sales

In his latest column, Smith shares multiple reasons why people who look at the glass as being hall full often make better salespeople.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

De Beers rough diamond display
SourcingJul 23, 2024
De Beers’ Production Drops 15% in Q2

The company also reported the $150 million sale of an iron ore royalty right, part of its ongoing effort to divest “non-core” assets.

Long’s Jewelers giveaway promo
IndependentsJul 23, 2024
Long’s Jewelers Is Giving Away a Luxury Cape Cod Vacation

The giveaway is part of the New England jeweler’s summer bridal event.

Sophia Moreno-Bunge of Isa Isa modeling Guzema’s Hidden Beauty collection
CollectionsJul 23, 2024
Guzema Debuts ‘Flower Power’ Campaign

The ad features three celebrity florists creating floral sculptures while wearing jewelry by Guzema.

Tresia Shituula, Monkgogi Moshaga, Mohamed Samu
Policies & IssuesJul 23, 2024
Diamonds Do Good Announces Its 2024 Entrepreneurship Grant Winners

The grant provided a total of $100,000 to support 13 entrepreneurs from diamond communities in Africa and India.

Ghazi “Gus” Michel Osta
CrimeJul 22, 2024
Florida Jeweler Shot, Killed Following Argument With Customer

Ghazi Michel Osta, or “Gus,” was killed Friday by an 83-year-old man said to be a frequent customer at his store, Volusia Gold & Diamond.

Elyssa Jenkins-Perez and Effie Marinos
Policies & IssuesJul 22, 2024
JVC’s Elyssa Jenkins-Pérez Joins RJC

The organization also announced Effie Marinos as its new specialist advisor for technical standards, as well as four other appointments.

Karen Rentmeesters
SourcingJul 22, 2024
AWDC Names Karen Rentmeesters as CEO

Rentmeesters has served as interim CEO since April following former CEO Ari Epstein’s resignation.

Brian and Jessie Mann
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
Longtime D.C. Jeweler Brian Mann Dies at 70

Mann, whose family’s jewelry store was located inside the Pentagon, is remembered for being a thoughtful champion of the industry.

Tudor store in Denver
IndependentsJul 19, 2024
The 1916 Company Opens New Tudor Boutique

The 500-square-foot boutique is located in Denver’s Cherry Creek Shopping Center.

Messika’s So Move Max Necklace
CollectionsJul 19, 2024
Piece of the Week: Messika’s ‘So Move Max’ Necklace

Dance all night long with the “So Move Max” set’s necklace.

Julien Tornare and Antoine Pin
WatchesJul 18, 2024
TAG Heuer, Hublot Will Have New CEOs

Luxury giant LVMH is reshuffling the leadership in its watches division.

Etsy billboard rendering in NYC
MajorsJul 18, 2024
New Etsy Campaign Prioritizes Creators Amid Backlash

Sellers and shoppers have spoken out against a rise in mass-produced merchandise on the platform meant to highlight handmade goods.

Ariana Grande Modeling in Swarovski Jewelry
MajorsJul 18, 2024
Swarovski Names Ariana Grande as Its New Brand Ambassador

The celebrity will star in Swarovski’s holiday campaign.

Grizzly emerald
SourcingJul 18, 2024
Grizzly Emerald Auction Garners $32.5 million

The miner said an 835-carat emerald saw “stiff competition” in its July sale.

Tahnee Barbee, Gigi Sui, and Daniela Villacorta
Events & AwardsJul 18, 2024
MJSA Education Foundation Announces 3 Scholarship Winners

The winners were awarded $3,000 each to pursue a professional career in jewelry making and design.

Smiling Rocks Haute Couture Dream Necklace
Lab-GrownJul 17, 2024
Lab-Grown Diamond ‘Dream’ Necklace Sells for $122K at Charity Auction

The piece, created by Smiling Rocks, was the top lot at the recent Ormeley Dinner.

Diavik Diamond Mine solar power plant
SourcingJul 17, 2024
Rio Tinto’s Diamond Production Down 28% in Q2

The company’s sole remaining diamond operation, Diavik, produced 702,000 carats of diamonds, down from 970,000 a year ago.

Buccellati high jewelry earrings
FinancialsJul 17, 2024
Richemont’s Q1 Jewelry Sales Up 2%

In contrast, the luxury giant’s watch sales fell 14 percent.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest.
Events & AwardsJul 16, 2024
2024 AGTA Spectrum Awards Open for Entries

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the jewelry design contest and the deadline for entries has just been extended.

×

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