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Tucson Prep

Posted by Cecile Raley on

For those of you who travel "vicariously" with me to Tucson to hunt for gems, here's a little more of a breakdown of what I have now, what I am looking for, and what kinds of purchases I am arranging.

Let's start with what has been my main draw, and my personal favorite - Paraiba tourmaline.  I've done a count on my melees and I have adjusted all the quantities in the shop to reflect what I have left.  I have arranged with the melee sellers to buy some more on my first day in Tucson and they are holding back the parcel.  But each size (1, 1.3 and 1.6mm) only has a few carats left.  The sellers have informed me that they cannot get more.  So for those of you still planning projects, let me know what you need and/or buy them at the beginning of the sale - I have to pay for these up front and prices are high so I can't simply buy them out.  I can also get 1.8mm but they are about $80 or so each which is why I haven't stocked them.

I will also be able to get some more 3mm rounds similar to the pair I had up a couple of weeks ago. I've already called ahead for those and have arranged for a few to be held back.  However, there are only 5 or 6 pieces.

3mm Paraiba Pair

I've already met with the other dealer from whom I usually buy my Paraibas here.  They gave me first dibs on the freshly cut material (all from their old stock of rough).  I bought some small ovals and marquis, a few greenish cabs, a blueish cab, and some rounds in the 4mm range.  I am processing those already and will be releasing them later in the week.

Paraiba Princess Cut Suite ($2000/ct x .30 ct for the suite)

3x2mm Paraiba Ovals ($1500/ct)

Hauyne (hauynite): again what is online reflects what I have, except for a few 2mm pieces.  That dealer should definitely be in Tucson and he knows me as well.  But his prices are higher than what I had stocked last year in Tucson because last year, I was lucky enough to buy out a mixed parcel (1mm-1.8mm) of about 15 carats.  That's the parcel I have been selling from all year and that's drawing to a close.  The "larger" pieces come from the German dealer, and I can restock on melee, but expect them to be closer to $1400/ct, and for finer goods, $2000/ct.  Forget anything larger than 3mm, but I can get a few 4x3mm ovals, that's about the largest size.

Paraiba Round $1600/ct (.35ct round shown)

Marquis +/-4x2mm ($1400/ct)

Cobalt spinel: from what I can tell, that material is off the market.  The true blue anyway.  It was much rarer than Paraiba, and the yield is now next to nothing at astronomical per carat prices.  So unless Dudley has a little left that I didn't buy yet, the best piece is still the one in my shop.  There's a small Israeli company, two brothers, that will be at GJX - they might have stuff because they collect on location, just like Dudley.  They have a lot of Vietnamese material.  Also, if anyone is interested in the lilac and light purple spinel pear pairs, or other shapes, please inform me ahead of time.  I can't stock that material, it is too expensive, and I cannot memo from them.  This company exhibits once a year only, only at GJX.


Paraiba Cabochons, .8 and .48 cts ($600/ct)

Sapphire: I love to stock and I can memo good Ceylon material, matched pairs, color changers, purplish, cornflower blue, royal blue.  The largest selection is in ovals, but there are many good round pairs available in the 3.5-5mm size.

Other tourmaline: I always look for nice saturated pinks, blueish greens, and indicolites.  But I don't have a regular source for any of them, and the lagoon colors only come through my NY seller.  There haven't been any recent shipments though some new stuff is expected in the next few months.  That location is kept fairly secret and the production is very small.

Burma spinel: I wrote about this last time. It is on my list, as well as the other rare stones. If you have any interest in bixbite, demantoid, benitoite, and other rare stones, please let me know ahead of time. I have to be very careful with funds, and I need to know who wants what before I buy.  My company is  not big enough to purchase large inventory.  Maybe some day:)



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