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Cecile Raley Designs — gemstones

Rare Gemstones - A Seller's Market

Posted by Yvonne Raley on

Rare Gemstones - A Seller's Market

Anecdote:  in late summer I got a call for a 4+ carat lagoon tourmaline of a very specific cut and color, not too dark, etc etc.  Unsurprisingly, the potential buyer couldn't find such a stone anywhere.  I asked the buyer if they were serious about the purchase because it would be expensive and hard to find.  I come across about 100 lagoon tourmalines in that size a year at best and I know who imports them and the source.  I know Tiffany likes those stones too and they pay good money for them.  Out of those hundred or so stones,...

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My Trip To Tanzania - Safari in Africa

Posted by Cecile Raley on

Of course, one of my days in Tanzania had to be spent on safari. Hiring a jeep and driver for the day is expensive: $250 plus gas and park entrance fee, which is $53 for whites and $5 for locals, or rather, for African blacks, since Honorine who is from Rwanda and Doreen who is from Kenya, also just paid $5. Instead of getting a jeep, we negotiated with a local driver who borrowed a minivan from a...

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Madagascar Part 3 - More Gem Buying and Saying Farewell

Posted by Yvonne Raley on

After I had been in Madagascar for four days, the brokers started to get to know my taste in gems, called their vendors in return and produced nicer pieces for me. You see the broker is only the middle man (or woman in this case). Some brokers know a lot, some don't. But they are told to make a high price and then see. If you come back with reasonable offers (not trying to rip them off but also...

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My Trip to Madagascar, Famadihana

Posted by Cecile Raley on

As I reported in my previous blog post, I got a very intimate sense of living in Madagascar when I was invited to an exhumation. The locals call it 'Famadihana': Turning of the Bones. This is the tradition of exhuming the bodies of the dead, which takes place every 3-7 years, depending on the family's wishes. The body is removed from the mausoleum or dug out of the ground. Bodies are wrapped in...

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My Trip To Madagascar - Part One

Posted by Cecile Raley on

We arrived safely in Antanarivo, Madagascar, after a few hiccups: baggage not checked through, plane delay, long lines upon arrival and a nail in the tire on the way to Antsirabe. We got to the airport at 2 a.m. The airport is small and a big plane from Italy arrived before us - too much for the police to handle so it took a while to get through all the lines. Our arrival party, Jochen's friend...

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