As an example, at a chance escalator meeting, I introduced a few of my new students to Antoinette Matlins, an industry guru and author whom I attend conferences with. They were immediately treated to an impromptu gemological session as she launched into topics we had just discussed at our AGA conference the day before!
The educational opportunities alone make this trip worthwhile, as I have always advocated this to be the world’s best classroom for gemological education. You can learn about the pricing structure of colored stones by examining thousands of examples from live vendors. Actually buying at the best wholesale levels is just frosting on the cake.
If you are reading this and haven’t taken our gemstone classes, this is your opportunity to act on your passion. Take these two NGI classes – Gemstone Identification (usually offered three times a year) and Gemstone Evaluation (offered only once – in November) and you qualify for Ted’s Tucson Tour in February 2010. We will do a show preview in January and give you a two-day tour of the best gemstone venues when in Tucson. I will even negotiate with the dealers for you when you are ready to make that special purchase.
You will be exposed to industry giants and the most product – both loose gemstones (our forte) and finished jewelry at one gathering. Mineral, fossil and craft venues round out the best experience a budding gemologist, hobbyist or gem consumer could imagine. Start saving up.
Hope to see you there next year!
P.S. Did I mention the daytime temps were in the mid seventies and eighties?
Each year, I take a small number of my gem students to the world’s biggest gem and mineral show in Tucson, Arizona early February. This year our contingent researched gem prices, bought a little (some a lot) and made future contacts.
What’s Hot? After many years of speculation, Tanzanite has finally gotten a more solid base price – not as much from new material but the selling off of old stones at firmer prices. The future should be interesting, what with a push for more localized production, selling though a cartel style arrangement and price ”augmentation” to stratify the production into a wider range of qualities– we’ll see. And as prices for the best material approaches that of decent blue sapphire, why would one want a brittle, heat induced zoisite instead of durable sapphire, anyway? Maybe I will do an article on the tanzanite hype, next time.
Pink stuff is hotter than ever. Sapphires, tourmaline, topaz, spinel, etc. are still trendy. Last year’s Be-diffusion scare on sapphires seems to have subsided, but bear in mind it can take a pink sapphire to a 1/10th its apparent value. Be – ware. (Be means beryllium treatment, a diffusion process that induces color at a nearly undetectable rate and has made orange sapphire almost un-saleable). Because other colors can also be created the endorsement of un-treated gems has gained increased marketability.
Pearls are more stable this year, with better management of Tahitian production and marketing, more controlled Chinese production and sale and higher end products available. Interesting multi-color strands of mixed regions (Tahitian, South Sea, Philippine, etc.) were more prevalent. Some had natural and treated colors and a few were guaranteed to be of natural coloration.
Next year’s Tucson class roster is already filling, and with the right gem course prerequisites, you could join us.