Gemstones & Pearls:News
Through the Crystal Ball
Gear up for Tucson with these fearless product prognostications
Because everyone's crystal ball is made from a different gem, no one
can say what this year's favorites will be in Tucson. But a look at fashion
trends and market conditions can help you grab a clue before wading into
the two dozen gem, mineral and jewelry shows next month.
What's in Vogue?
Clothing for spring is rich in pinks, reds, purples and baby blues, with
neutrals such as indigo and gray holding over from winter. To complement,
look for rose and lemon quartz, amethyst, citrine, pink and blue-green tourmaline,
aquamarine, golden topaz, yellow beryl, blue and fancy colored sapphire,
ruby, garnet, tanzanite and pearls.
What's on the Market?
Tanzanite costs 20%-50% more this year especially for fine blue goods because
of supply shortages, so buy what you can. Top-color tanzanite (wholesaling
in the fourth quarter for $350-$450 per carat) is less expensive than comparable
Look for more fancy color sapphires especially pink, lavender and
yellow from Tunduru, Tanzania, as well as Montana. More buyers are
looking for certified natural color blue sapphires, says New York City gem
dealer Joe Menzie. Untreated blue sapphires are available. Smaller, untreated
sapphires are noticeably more costly than heated sapphires, says Menzie.
Bad press about gem treatments continues to hurt emerald sales, so look
at untreated green alternatives such as tsavorite. Production, particularly
in Kenya and Tanzania, is rising. Volume will be in melee to 5mm, with a
good supply of single 1-3-ct. stones. Wholesale prices for a 5mm tsavorite
ranges from $80-$600 per carat.
Rubies are mostly from Myanmar, primarily in commercial grades not exceeding
3 carats. Expect fine qualities of certain gems including black opal
and akoya pearls to be available at better prices. Look for Oregon
sunstone and Arizona red garnet. Chinese cultured freshwaters are hot (Professional
Jeweler,December 1998, p. 36). Look for 3mm to 11mm in round, off-round
and baroque shapes in natural white, peach and lavender to dyed blue and
bronze. A strand of 5mm white rounds costs $25-$65 wholesale.
by Deborah Yonick
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.