I either have antibodies already, or I am the luckiest person on earth, having traveled to Germany 7x since Covid started, having to test incessantly to get into my mom’s home, always coming up negative. I was in Colombia, Denver twice for gem shows, and in Tucson in April. Yes, I am very careful, I am triple immunized, and one of the most tested people outside the health care industry, but still! Last week one of my closest friends got Omicron (3x immunized) and several of my more distant ones did too - all independently of one another.
Hence, I say this with a great deal of caution: in two weeks I am going to the Tucson gem shows - not to one, but to several super spreader events. I am going to self-test every single day both for myself and for the sake of everyone else that I am going to see.
But I SO want to go, even if I have to hole up in the hotel every night and get room service. I am really hoping to meet some of my long missed vendors from Bangkok – four in total – all of which are going to be there if they don’t test positive beforehand. My budget is small but my appetite for gems is high, especially for multi colored and blue sapphire melee, emerald melee, benitoite, and spinel.
I am also on the lookout for specialty cuts. The ones in the lower price range often sell out quickly. Two years ago I saw some lovely zircon hexagons and long kites, but when I went back to GJX on day two to get more, they had all gone. Also, while I can get sapphire melee shipped from Thailand, the reason MY stock of blues, purples and greens, even yellows is always so well matched is because I do this myself at the show and it takes hours, yielding only small batches. I cannot get anything matched down that well when it’s shipped to me. Nobody in NY has these melees, at least not for the prices I get them for in Tucson.
Of course, I am also curious about what vendors are managing to bring. Vietnam is still difficult to access, so my favorite location for spinel, other than Burma, is not likely to have much of interest. I have asked around for cobalt spinel, but so far, no luck.
Madagascar, as a source, remains problematic as well. I had hoped to get my shipment this winter, but the Mining Office, which provides the export documents, remains closed. A large Sri Lankan smuggling operation was outed late last fall, which led to arrests of Madagascan custom’s officers, several people from the Mining Office as well as the director of the Ilakaka mine. The director of the Mining Office, meanwhile, has vanished without a trace, and a new one is being trained. Until that’s sorted, they are not reopening. This means, in turn, that there will be zero exports of gemstone rough, faceted gems, and collectors’ crystals. Only commercial goods such as decorative and ornamental stones (i.e. tumbled calcite that you can put into a bowl on your table) are allowed as those are handled by four other local mining offices located in other towns.
Ergo: my grandidierite, color change garnets, sphene, aquamarine and a small production of a new find of gems that I am excited about is stuck. My friends are keeping everything at their house and I know I will get it sooner or later, but if any other gemstone dealer hoped to have Madagascan material for Tucson, those hopes are dashed at this point. It is simply too late.
Finally, I am going to switch out several sets of memo gems, which I usually do toward the end of the AGTA show, when vendors are winding down and are offering them out to me for a few months to work with.
For this reason, you’ll see a flash sale of last chance memo’d items offered at 20% before Tucson (January 26-29), and then the rest will go on sale on the 30th of January for two weeks. I wish I could offer a steeper discount on memo gems but much of the profit of gems on memo is not ours, so there are limits to what we can do. That said (and if you read that far), if you contact me directly you can get 25% off because I pay 5% to Etsy anyway, on top of any advertising fee should you have clicked on a Google Ad for my shop within 30 days of your purchase from me. If I sell direct, none of that applies and I am happy to pass it on, as well as save you taxes outside the state of NJ.
In addition to the gem sales, all jewelry (with the exception of custom) will be on sale as well. We have never had a Valentine’s Day sale because we are always in Tucson, but now that we are selling more jewelry again, we think we should. So it’s all gonna happen at once. I hope you will keep us busy!
So, fingers crossed, Tucson is going to happen as planned. If not, I certainly won’t be the only one not going... and I will find a plan B, as I always do.
Here are a few of the "Last Chance" gems, disappearing from the shop after January 29th, but available from January 26th-29th at 20% off: