Initially, it looked like our office had been bombed by dozens of small gem jars, miniature plastic bags holding valuable gems, loupes, tweezers, camera equipment, invoices, and of course shipping envelopes and boxes, as Karen tried to make her way through the myriad of delayed shipments because the inventory was with me, or with Debbie who came back last week, or Brinks.
As we dig ourselves out from under Etsy orders and a few inches of unexpected snow, we have come to the conclusion that this trip has been a nice success, both in terms of sales and purchases. It will take us weeks to list all the pretties we have brought back: parcels of sapphire melee in different shapes (much of which has already sold), spinel melee, small alexandrite and small demantoids. In particular, we picked up shapes for some of our models for which it's hard to find the right gems.
We also brought back a lot of slightly bigger sapphires: blue and purple and pink matched pairs, purple and lavender singles; as well as blue green tourmalines as per popular request, more larger spinel from Vietnam (from a new source) and several unoiled Afghani and Russian emeralds that have this awesome minty blue green glow.
I also scored a number of Australian opals, both boulder and black ones, that many of you have seen on Instagram and Facebook. Here are some of them:
Australian Black Opal
As those of you who have seen my little videos know, there's no more benitoite on the market, or hardly any! I have two suppliers for those and both were sold out before the show even started. This has actually prompted me to plan next year's trip differently: I will be flying in 3 days before the AGTA show starts. Many of the other shows, among them the 22nd Street show, the Pueblo show, the JOGS show and the Inn Suites show actually start before AGTA and GJX and some of the good stuff can sell out. In fact, I lucked out with my opals because I bought smaller pieces. Had I been interested in the larger ones from my Aussie vendors, I would have been out of luck. This time I visited all those shows after GJX and AGTA, next year I will hit them before.
In a forthcoming interview with Jaimeen Shah from Prima Gems (forthcoming when we get the rather longish video off of his phone and onto my drive), you will learn that there's some new and very gorgeous sphene, and more Montana sapphire available. There will also be an update on the Mahenge spinel situation but more about that later.
I also owe you the latest on the constantly changing paraiba market. As it happened, I had two calls for matched pairs, a 6mm round and a cushion set (the client actually wanted a match to one of the ones I have in the shop but that's always close to impossible). So I kept an eye out, which I always do, for anyone, at any show, who has paraiba. What I found this year however is that that the market had shrunk considerably. The Brazilians that used to have two large booths now have only one small one, and many other vendors who had only small stuff asked astronomical prices. Essentially double and triple compared to what I have been paying. Needless to say I couldn't fill either order, the rounds I didn't find at all, and the cushions were too expensive for the client.
As a result, on the last day of the show I negotiated a couple of deals for paraibas to be purchased in the next couple of months which I can pay off over time. So it's not a memo where I can give back what I don't use, but a purchase with "terms" as they call it. Those goods will arrive next week or the week after and I will be showing them and listing them slowly or upon request as I'm not in a huge rush to sell what I can't replace.
Related to this, I did memo a string of tumbled Brazilian paraiba beads which I may or may not keep. I would actually like to find out if theirs interest in them before I commit because the price tag is expectedly high.The average price will come to $30-$40 per bead. Any morsel of paraiba, sadly, commands a high asking price these days, and the sellers were only willing to part with the beads because they had not yet been able to move them.
Finally, I made another purchase of a gemstone that will be paid up over time. It's a gem that I had considered buying for about 8 months and I finally pulled the trigger after getting feedback from other vendors. I'm not yet sure that gem will be available for immediate resale. I need to love it for a while first. But then again I am a gem seller and in the long run, I have to be willing to part with anything.
More about that some other time...