Ok so it’s a kind of mini-Tucson. There will be several shows: 22nd Street Show, Mineral City, Pueblo Show, JOGS, Holidome show, and others. And YES, unless something very drastic happens in the next few days, I will be there on the weekend of 9th April for a couple of days. There will not be any international vendors of course, which is always the fun part for me. I see many of the US vendors throughout the year as they are in NY, and/or I get shipments from them. However, as you know, we try to curate special pieces and small melees selections, not move entire parcels regardless of quality, and this has been tough to do in the past year. Like many other sellers, we’ve had to rely on what is being sent to us by mail and occasionally commit to larger purchases to keep supplies moving.
Speaking of supplies, many are running a bit low these days and prices have risen accordingly. Just last week one of my vendors asked me where he could get larger peridot (really, peridot???). He had sold out!
Countries like Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania and Brazil are not producing gems; export from these countries has largely been via direct travel, not the mail system. Because some countries cannot afford the vaccine, or because they have corrupt governments that deny COVID’s existence, many of these countries are getting hammered by the third wave. Rumor has it that the death of Tanzania’s president was due to COVID (he claimed that it wasn’t real), but the official story is that it was a heart attack. My friend Doreen in Kenya told me she’s stuck in Nairobi with no job because the University is closed, and the roads to the country, where she and her son would be safe, are blocked. My Paraiba gemstone supplier has placed calls to Brazil and the story is much the same. There’s zero production, anyone who can hide is hiding. Burma is in the midst of a military coup, and Bangkok, Thailand, the main cutting center of colored gems, is not getting its usual influx of rough. Vietnam is closed, both in and out, and Vietnam’s gem trade has always relied on cross-border travelers. So, we all have to make do with what there is.
But yours truly always holds back a few treasures, and I get contacted by my overseas vendors regularly, so I am managing to keep things trickling in. I can’t wait to hear Tucson news, and I hope to do some live interviews.
Now, specifics: I have made an appointment with my benitoite vendor and until then I am putting up what I had held back. I’m down to melees though, so don’t expect to see anything else before Tucson. I hope to get a few bigger pieces there but I will only be shown a selection based on my requests. The production is divided up among those of us who specialize in benitoite (that’s just a handful of US sellers) and usually doesn’t make it to the general public.
I will of course see Dudley Blauwet and hope to score more spinel and more unheated sapphire pairs, as I am down to my last one on Etsy, and there’s nothing left here, either. Dudley has had to match them from his stock because he has been outbid by the Hong Kong market so he’s not able to purchase more for the time being. Larger than 5mm pairs are next to impossible to source unless they are already in the United States. There are available pairs, but they go at a premium.
As I mentioned above, Paraiba tourmaline supply is way down with no new materials coming out of Brazil until they figure out what to do about COVID. I am holding back some smaller stuff; email me for more info if you are interested. I can still get melees here in NYC.
Some more smaller silver and platinum spinels will be available in the shop soon, as I am processing those as we speak. From what I was able to gather, the true greys from Burma – the ones that have little to no secondary colors – have become scarce. There used to be oodles of this stuff because it was used as practice material when teaching cutters, then discarded. But a couple of years ago it had a sudden surge in popularity and now it’s hard to get. Go figure.
I expect to be able to source more black opals as one of my opal suppliers is in New York State and he has much of the rough here in the US also. Plus, you can still ship from Australia. Not sure I will be buying any, as I still have some material here, as well as boulder opal.
My special treat for you, however, is not going to come from Tucson. It’s in the mail to me, from overseas: a small parcel of faceted gahnite! I’ve never had it or seen it, so your guess is as good as mine regarding how it looks in real life. A vendor I know listed 4 parcels and 3 were gone before I could get a keystroke down in my email. I secured the last parcel, and this will be a one-off. It was spotted on the Bangkok gem market, bought, cut, and now it is owned by me and only one other person. Gahnite is from Pakistan and loosely belongs to the spinel family. It is ocean blue with some hints of teal, good saturation, not too dark. It is cobalt-bearing and open color but not neon. Just a nice color from what I can tell. The per carat price will be about $1500 and the pieces will range from .1-.22 carats.
And that’s it for now, folks. More reports will come directly from Tucson. Wish me luck and safe travels. (If you are concerned, I have an AirBnB to myself and will be cooking for myself, all the shows are outdoors or in larger tents, and the weather will be nice, so there will be plenty of ventilation. Arizona has just dropped all COVID restrictions which means I will be extra careful and wear a mask at all times, regardless of the rules.)
If there is anything in particular you would like me to keep an eye out for, email me before I leave for Tucson, on April 8th, and let me know!