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Gem Show Bounty

Posted by Yvonne Raley on

Since the holidays are coming around, I thought I’d do something different this time.  I was at a jewelry and gem show last weekend – had a blast – and bought a bunch of gems in preparation for December sales.  I am going to have about 4 local shows, one or two private parties, and of course I’m going to sell on Etsy.  To those of you who read this blog, I want to offer first dibs, however, before the crazy time starts.  So below is a list of (most) of my gem purchases, some prices and suggestions.  Comments and requests for further pics and info are welcome.  Contact me via Etsy or email if you want to lay claim to something.  Sales will be on a first come, first serve basis, and yes, I can set an item aside for a later purchase as well, as long as you promise me you’ll come through.  Leave a couple of weeks time for setting of your gems.  No last minute Christmas custom orders please. 

I got a lot of ovals at the show this time.  I try to get round gems when I can, but ovals seemed to reign the day for some reason.  I match them so I can use them for earrings because those always go, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have just one if you prefer a pendant or a ring. 

Note on pricing: I’m going as low as I can with my suggestions (and in the last section, I tell you a little about what I do in order to arrive at prices).  That makes it very hard for me to run sales or offer further discounts. 

1. Chrome Diopside
What you see here are two 7x5mm ovals, perfectly matched, rich color, about 1.6ct each pair.  No matched rounds, save for one pair which a customer is looking at.  If it becomes available, it will be on Etsy in a week or two.  The small round in the photo is great for a stacking ring.  The 7.5mm marquis would be nice in one of my necklaces (the round twig necklace, for instance).  The earrings will be $48 each pair.



2. Andalusite
A 7x5 matched pair ($50 as earrings), reddish from the side, greenish from the front, and a 4.5mm round, for a ring maybe.  There were hardly any andalusites at this show.



3. Tourmaline
On the left, two 5mm princess cuts, which I’m hoping will go into my princess cut ring.  I’m waiting for the castings right now.  Those rings will be $68 each.  It is tough to find stones that fit this ring, so this is really my preferred way of using them.  Above the princess cut are two round matched pairs (the lighting makes them seem uneven).  They are about 3.8mm and 4.5mm (prices will be $40 and $50).  The bluish pair is hard to find.  The little baguettes in the center will make at least one pair of earrings, which a customer has requested to see.  I don’t have those settings yet, the only thing that fits here are tourmaline settings that grab the stone from each end.  Price is $50 for the earrings if this design works out.  The rounds on the right are for stacking rings or other designs, the two baguettes I thought for rings also, but I have no concrete plan.  The large one is 2.66 cts and 13mm long, any design with that will run a good $120-$140.

You should know that tourmalines often cost more than the other stones I buy, except for alexandrite and the “precious” ones.  But they are also more easily available.  Tourmaline is mass marketed and popular, and that drives up the price.  So I keep a very low margin on these. 



4. Kyanite
Boy that was slim pickins.  You always see them cut as a cabochon, but rarely faceted.  I think they break easily during cutting, and the stone is not well known.  The oval is 8x6 (1.58 cts) and it cost 1.5 times what the tourmalines cost.  It is a very beautiful stone, a slight inclusion on the right, but that’s it.  I see this one in a ring, personally.  There’s one matched pair, 4mm ($48 for earrings), and three little ones for rings or something.  The lighter one doesn’t sparkle in the pics, but it will look good in a stacker.  The bezel takes away light, so if the stone is too dark it looks blackish.  I’d price the stacker at $48 also (I might negotiate this if you buy more than one).



5. Mexican Fire Opal
I went for reds, again, because this one guy has a bit of it and they are harder to find faceted and clean.  The trilliant pair is matched, and I really think they should be earrings.  It was the last and only pair.  They’re around 4.5mm, not too heavy (.57 cts).  Trilliant settings cost 3x what the regular settings cost, but I can make these $60.  The 5mm princess pair is also awesome.  Again, unless I miscalculated, they will fit my princess ring.  But the red princess cuts are matched, and I can bezel set them for a true one of a kind set of earrings.  They are larger but the settings a little more affordable, so $65 is doable.  Same for a princess ring.  The rest, the rounds, can be earrings or stacking rings.  They are in the neighborhood of 4mm.  You should know that I practically fished out everything red from this parcel, so unless the guy cuts more, that’s it for my only supplier of these gems.



6. Spinel
I’ve very proud of these.  They’re mostly Sri Lankan, no Burma, but ooooh.  I have more than what’s in these pics, a couple of little purplish pinkish marquis for that twig ring or a twig necklace, and some rounds for stackers (purples and blues).  The matched pairs are slightly under 7x5 and weigh 1.3-1.8 cts per pair.  The red pair is just under 4x6 and might have been mixed in by accident.  (The parcels usually don’t have reds because those are traded at a premium.)  The nicest pair here is the one in the right hand corner, which is nearly round.  It is also the heaviest.  Prices here vary, but $46-$66 is a good range.  The blue round is great for a ring or something, the trilliant and cushion also, perhaps matched with rubies.  Design ideas are welcome. 



This second photo came out poorly.  Trust me, these are just as nice.  Before you commit, I’ll try for a new round of pics if you like.  There are three pairs of rounds, 4mm-4.5mm.  The purple is really neat, I had a tough time finding and matching it.  That will be $48 and I might have it set this week.  The others are $52 and $62 (because that one weighs 1ct).  This set is from a different supplier who charged more, so prices reflect this.



7.  Spessartite
This stuff is from Nigeria this time.  I went nuts here and bought 31cts.  I pulled out one large matched pair which is for a friend, what you see here is the rest.  These pics were not taken in the sunlight, that sparkle really comes from within the stone.  It’s insane.  And I think the dealer spaced out when he priced them.  I got to the show in the morning on the first day, and the trays in his booth weren’t marked yet.  So I had to ask for the price and he gave me a lowball figure.  But when dealers do that, unless the quote was a total accident (made by the sales help, for instance), they stick with it even if they have regrets.  It’s rude to change the offer upwards, and these offers are taken very seriously.

Anyway… the matched pairs on the bottom and center are 7x5mm (2.1-2.45 cts, this stuff is heavy).  The earrings will go for $66-72 because of their weight.  The pear shape is 10x7 and weighs 2.72 cts.  The large clunker in the back is 10x8.5 and it is very deep, so it weighs 5.58 cts.  At over 5 cts, that is a collector’s item.  I kind of see that in a ring, but it has to be prong set because it is so high.  Basically you are looking at a solitaire here, everything else hurts the design.  The pear on the left would make a nice pendant.  We will have to negotiate this one, but orient yourself on the earrings.  You are lucky orange is not my color, or the pear would not be listed.  The other two ovals are a little smaller (the dark on the left is 9x7 and 3.49 cts, the one on the right is also 9x7 and 3.51 cts).  The round looking one in front of the smaller dark oval is 1.7cts, 7x6mm, and actually looks more square when send from the front.



8.  Alexandrite
I got one piece.  And I’m going to tell you the price I paid, because I’d like someone to have it and understand what they own.  This is a .4ct Brazilian piece (which is often better than Indian or Sri Lankan, and it is also a little darker in coloring), cushion cut, 4mm, and has very strong color change.  In terms of color change, and coloring overall, this is top of the line.  The wholesale per ct price is $250, so this piece was $100.  If I make a piece of jewelry, I will price it at $150 and then add that onto my design.  So if it is a simple ring, let’s say, and I charge $50 parts plus labor for it, then you pay $200.  For expensive stones, my markup decreases, because otherwise I cannot sell the items.  Ordinary markup for wholesale is cost plus labor (so let’s say $150) x 2 (= $300).  Retail doubles that, or more, depending on if you are in a designer boutique, in the mall, or what have you.  In short, I generally sell at the wholesale price, sometimes lower, and occasionally when I get a great deal, I can go higher.  And a ring like this, with just a little bit of silver, can sell for $400-600, easy.  Unless you are me and tell the customer your pricing.  Duh.

I’m very proud of my pics of this gem, because I actually managed to capture the color change.  The second pic is fuzzy because I took it in my bathroom with just incandescent light.  But you can see that the entire stone lights up purple.  The stone already jumps over to the purplish blues in my kitchen, which has halogen lighting, so it is “easily provoked,” as opposed to the “where is it I almost had it now its gone” type color change.

As you can see, I had to have this piece.  And I will definitely buy one for myself at a later point as well.  For Christmas, perhaps, set in 14K.  Oh yeah.




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