What’s a Gem Show Like?

In one word: overwhelming.  I was at the Jeweler’s Association Summer show at the Javitt’s Convention Center last weekend.  I had a long list of things I needed and a smaller customer wish list.  I had a good night’s sleep and got there 5 minutes after they opened.  Eight hours later, I was completely wiped out. 
The show I went to is mainly for jewelry but the AGTA pavilion has about 50 gem and bead dealers whose stuff you can look at.  Some have their gems in little pre-boxed parcels, others have open trays for you to sift through and pick what you like.  Prices are usually on the trays, but it is good if you can estimate weights because otherwise you will be surprised about your tab when it all gets weighed out at the end.  You may do what so many do when they overspend: ask some of the gems to be put back.  Gem dealers are used to it but that doesn't mean they like it.
Selecting from Gem Trays
I buy a lot of boxed gems but I also spend a significant amount of time selecting individual or pieces from little bags and trays to match for earrings.  I spent 90 minutes in one booth and I didn’t even realize the time!  I also bought a bunch of beads.
The most interesting find for me, but not affordable at all, were the Paraiba tourmalines in the photo below.  The 3mm melees started at $1200/ct – my price!  More than diamonds.  Sapphire prices have gone up again, I bought more or less what was left at the price of February from the dealer I know that doesn’t change the old prices on his gem boxes.  I found some nice multi-color 5mm round Ceylon’s (heated) that I will put up on Etsy.  And some peachy colored Morganite, but heat treated as well. 
Paraiba Tourmalines
Prima gems had a ton of beads that were fun to look at, and some carved rough.  I found a few pieces of nice richly colored heated blue zircon with them and some top drilled beads that I will make into earrings with pearl cups.  All in all, the show was a success for me, but there were some things I couldn’t find: good emerald, nicer green sapphire, pink tourmaline.  The latter has about doubled in price since I looked last, so I’ll have to check with some dealers in the city and look through old parcels.  All tourmalines have gone up but the pinks especially.  
Prima Gem's Bead Table

Jaimeen, Sukrita and Geoff from Prima Gems