I almost decided not to go. Flight and hotel together will run me 2K, never mind food and drink, plus I had to buy a portable coffee maker. For those who may not be aware, Las Vegas hotel rooms, (even fancy ones!), do not have coffee machines or refrigerators. They want you to go downstairs so you are close to the casinos, and they want you to spend money! It’s so annoying because I answer many queries in the morning in my pajamas with coffee or tea next to the bed. In Vegas this means I have to schlep downstairs and stand in line with dozens of other show attendees who are not there to gamble, many of them in their pajamas as well!
Seriously, though, I also considered not going because I wasn’t sure if I had a long enough list for purchases. Not all my Tucson material is even processed yet even though this year is less sluggish than the last. But then again, I really can’t just skip it, can I? And I really can’t - because of the Russian demantoids, the benitoites and the Greenland rubies.
Those are among the things I have to buy there or in Tucson, because the inventory is not in NY and the owners of those pretties do not come to the U.S. otherwise.
There’s good news and bad news about demantoid. The bad news first: I have not seen the vendor I used to work with (and who made the yellow to dark green ombres) since February 2020, back when none of us knew what would happen next. He lives in Moscow, and they’ve not had it easy. First Covid, now a travel ban, grounded airlines etc.
The good news is that there is one other demantoid vendor who does come here (there are probably just three total in the world, everyone else buys second hand). I forgot how these guys do it, I know you cannot fly direct anymore as most airports do not allow Russian planes to land. They are friends with my original vendor and specialize in nothing but demantoid from the Urals and the prices of both vendors are exactly the same. There are more or less two available colors: apple green and emerald green.
In melee sizes the emerald green is roughly 2x the price of the apple green. In larger sizes you see all the greens, with the brownish or more included pieces being more reasonable than the top-grade stuff. Should you want a larger demantoid, now would be the time to let us know because after that, I will see them again in 2024 in Tucson.
Most of you know this already: the small company that bought up all the benitoite rough several years ago cuts and sells only 3x a year, and only in private meetings to a small set of people, less than a couple of dozen. I do not know most of the other buyers and the sellers really do keep their meetings confidential, spacing them apart so you do not know who else has access. Some of the buyers are private collectors, others are resellers like me. I get about 12-15 boxes each time, most of them are matched sets of 5 or 6 of the same size melees, or they are shaded ombres of 5 pieces (or 6 with an orange). The orange colors are heated blue pieces but very few are produced because the material has to be exceptionally clean or it will break during the heating process. The blues are popular too, so it is difficult for them to gauge how many oranges to produce.
I always ask for matched pairs or larger single pieces but the production above .25 carats is miniscule. The largest pieces I get these days are .2 carats or so. But I acquired a few more in a trade so you will see additional pieces listing in the next few months. And I may be able to buy morevin Denver, if they decide they have enough material to come there in September (yes I am definitely going as I really like Denver. I just don’t like Vegas, plus I get an AirBnB in Denver which is so much more relaxing).
While the Greenland Ruby company does have an office in New York, they do not keep any inventory there. It has to be shipped from Europe, and they basically just ship what you ask to see, and that creates a lot of buying pressure. Since I curate gems and don’t just buy ‘off the rack’ so to speak, that doesn’t really work for me. I want to see all the inventory and pick the best, so I have to buy at the shows.
The rubies below are all available in the store as of the time of writing. Click here to take a look.
Prices are also very good, especially compared to unheated, but even compared to low temp rubies, which I normally buy. I was hesitant at first but the flux heat is permanent and it improves the material significantly (if my information is correct, the Greenland material is not usable unless it is enhanced with flux heat). You can read up on how they do things here: greenlandruby.gl. They sell pink sapphires as well, obviously. If you want to have information on larger pieces before I go, I am a registered buyer with them and have access to the wholesale site with pricing.
And that’s it?
No but these three are the reasons I am going in the first place. I think I will be able to get more blue Mahenge spinel and I have also heard of lighter steel blue colors coming from the same region, and those sound interesting. I have not seen them in person yet.
Click here to see the ones we currently have in the shop that are featured in the graphic below.
Another one of my regular vendors showed me some very nice smaller Mozambique spinel that I want to buy more of - I just had three pieces but they sold in a flash. I have my eye on a heated Vietnamese ruby but it may get graded as a pink sapphire; it’s a recent purchase and I am hoping I will have information from AGL before I make a decision on that one.
Finally, another melees vendor should be there, they had really pretty and very small purple sapphires last year. Hopefully I can find those again! Also, the company that sells the kites and hexagon sapphires will be there. They also sell baguettes, triangles, trillions (they were out in February so hopefully…), all material from Madagascar. I hope to restock on all those.
More when I get there, of course. Stay tuned on all of our channels!