Yes, CRD is travelling again, to Denver this time. The gem shows there in September have become a staple of mine ever since my friend Jochen asked me to join him in 2017. The show landscape is a bit different from Las Vegas where you can find a lot more high-end gems and finished jewelry. It is also different from Tucson because it is much smaller. Tucson draws tens of thousands of vendors and has over 60 shows running from late January into mid-February.
However, there are several events worth attending in Denver: the newest kid on the block arrived in 2021, in the form of the AGTA. After much debate among the board of trustees, the AGTA decided to join forces with the organizers of The Munich Show to form the HardRock Summit show which takes place in the convention center in the heart of Denver (September 8-11). In addition to the Summit, which is open to the trade only, there are two other subsections of the show that are open to the public: The Evolution exhibit, which displays mineral specimens, and Sparkle & Joy, which also welcomes international vendors (remember the AGTA is the American Gem Trade Association so it doesn’t allow businesses not in the United States).
International vendors are always interesting for us because we do not get to see them nearly as much as the AGTA members, many of which have their main offices in New York anyway so we can shop there anytime we wish. I am, as always, hoping to find more spinel, especially the red Jedis as those are pretty much wiped off the market at this point. Everything I have been buying is old goods, and they are dwindling. I am friends with a Bangkok vendor who is attending and he may bring more Vietnamese goods as well if I am lucky.
At the AGTA, I am planning to meet Dudley Blauwet who informs me that he has cut a lot of melees in recent months, particularly Madagascar sapphire. He has been cutting specialty cuts as well, such as teal-colored kites and hexagons, which I am very interested in seeing. He also bought up the rest of the Russian emerald production from his Russian counterpart, so all these sparkly Paraiba-like green beauties that reached Hong Kong before the close of all Russian import and export this year are now in his hands. Production may be continuing but with the travel ban in both directions it is unclear when more material will be able to leave the country - Russia is also one of the world’s largest diamond producers, which has caused the present diamond shortage and rise in prices.
Dudley will also be exhibiting at one of the smaller shows located in the Crowne Plaza, Aurora (near the Denver airport). This is the Colorado Mineral and Fossil Fall Show, also open to the public. The show itself is not super interesting, although if you like to buy facet grade rough, Steve Ulatowsky from New Era Gems usually has a presence there, which draws a lot of traffic. I have also met Tucson Todd at this show, and occasionally I have found some small and unusual lower value stuff.
The final show worth going to is the Denver Mineral, Fossil, Gem and Jewelry show (I know, what a name…). This is the largest open to the public show in Denver, and organized by the same group that owns the 22nd Street show in Denver and the Edison Gem and Mineral show. Consequently, many of the vendors that exhibit at these other shows will be there. This show takes place at the National Western Complex, a kind of warehouse district with two arenas, and it runs from September 9th to September 18th.
This show houses many of the vendors that do not want to pay for the more luxury-oriented shows like the AGTA, which can cost up to 10K or more per booth. I will meet Adam from A&S opals there and stock up, as all the black opals I source from him are selling extremely well, either in jewelry or loose. Adam travels to Australia every year, and he gets a lot of goods shipped. He loves cabbing opals and he has a wealth of knowledge that is fun to tap into. If you haven't watched it yet, check out my interview with Adam from last year on my YouTube channel:
For the time being, I do not plan on getting more Paraibas there as I have two new Brazilian sources who will not exhibit there, and my other vendor resides in New York anyway. Plus, I have been stocking up quite a bit, as you can see, because I am releasing new gems fairly regularly. I have tried to lock in last Spring’s prices with as much as my finances allow (which also means I will be attending the Denver shows with a fairly low budget, lol).
This time I will try to post more video on YouTube and Instagram while I’m there, so stay tuned. You can also follow the gem shows directly on Instagram: @the_munich_show @hardrocksummit @denvermineralshow