Tucson Treasures: News from the Gemstone World

Tucson Treasures: News from the Gemstone World

We did go overboard this year.  I bought SO MUCH STUFF and it will take me weeks to release it all on Etsy.  But let me get out a couple of news items for you first, and then I'll give you an overview at least.

1. Tanzania. With a new government in place since last fall, there have been a lot of export restrictions in an effort to stop corruption and black market trading.  My friend Jochen from Jentsch Minerals had to pay a lot of extra fees to export his crystals, Steve from New Era Gems didn't get his entire shipment out, and reports I heard from other vendors are that there were restrictions on all gemstone rough exports.  But the situation is slowly straightening itself out - Tanzania lives off the gemstone trade after all.  I don't know further details, but we may have to expect some slowing down of exports for a few months.

2. Mogok.  There are travel and mining restrictions in Mogok as well so there's been difficulty exporting rubies and sapphires.  At Tucson most sellers seemed to have older stock.

3. Russia.  While there are new finds of Russian demantoids, it is still very difficult for Russians to export their goods.  Shipping gems is illegal, they have to be set in jewelry, so people have to travel with their inventory and then keep it abroad.  

Disclaimer: I haven't done any serious research online to determine more details about what is really happening in Tanzania, Mogok and Russia, but my main interest is always to find out which gems are flowing freely and which aren't so I know what to stock up on and when.  So take this information as vague and subject to change.


1. Paraibas: I bought some but mostly I bought before I got to Tucson.  The situation is roughly the same as the past couple of years.  Prices have not increased drastically but there's also very little product.  I got smaller single stones (2-3mm), some cabochons, and that's more or less it.  What I have left has to be priced individually so it will trickle out slowly.  Also watch for some slices coming out.  

Paraiba 1mm Melees

2. Kornerupine: I got almost nothing so you won't see much more in the shop.

3. Burma spinel: I got some more melee, not a ton, and I did get that larger cushion single and cushion pair, which matches.  Those were really nice buys despite the price.  Very neon color.  I got the cushion on the first day actually, both purchases were old stock.  In other spinel news, I also have some old Vietnamese material (no longer on the market) - a precision cut pear, and a larger suite of 8x4mm pinks to lavender color.  

Cushion Spinels

Vietnamese Spinel Ombre

4. Demantoids: I stocked up on some medium sized pieces and pairs (not many), and I will be listing stuff in the 1-4K category, which I didn't really have before.  I also got some super bright melees, 1.5mm and 1.3mm.  I didn't list those yet.  I went back for more but they were sold out the first day.  I also have a couple of ombre layouts that would work in my 2mm hexagon settings.

Opal & Demantoids

5.Sapphires: watch for more 2.5mm purples (2 and 3mm are gone already), more purple singles, a pink pair, blue pairs, and a little more in terms of blue singles.  I also have yet to list my unheated Madagascar pink sapphire/rubies - they have a super saturated color and are smaller rounds at 2.5-3mm.  I also have some very strong saturated pink sapphire melee (1.5-1.7mm)..  The ruby pair I have listed is also awesome.  I have a small pair of baguettes also not yet processed.

Pink Sapphire & Tourmaline

Blue Spinel & Pink Sapphire

6. Benitoite: that almost sold out from under me but I secured some melee, ombres and two smaller rounds on the first day.  

7. Tourmaline: I have more Namibian pieces, especially blue pairs, I got some Afghan mints, some lovely old mine Zambian yellows, 4mm and one 5mm rouind pinks, pink pear pairs, other green rounds (blue green to mint green) and some precision cuts.  

Canary Tourmaline & Grey Spinels

Yellow Zambian & Pear Shaped Pink Tourmaline

Afghani Tourmaline & Marquis Shape Paraiba 

And to tie up loose ends, watch for more of the following: 4.5mm mali garnet, sphene, grey spinel, opal pairs, zircon (blue), precision cut aqua (mostly sold out though), Afghani emerald (small pairs), one nice round blue spinel, 

Precision Cut Tourmaline & Round Burma Spinel

Precision Cut Tourmaline & Peridot

Blue Zircons & Grey Spinels

Boy that IS a lot of stuff.  No wonder I am broke:)