Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tucson 2008, Market Conditions, Prices, New Finds

Much to report in general for early 2008. We have been very busy adding new customers to our mailing list and sending out purchases. In fact, January has been a banner year in sales and this could be a trend as people are desiring to put funds into beauty, jewelry they can design, gemstones, etc. The dollar is low, gold is high and the stock market is uncertain. Many people/dealers have told us that they were rather have gemstones versus money in the bank or the stockmarket. The bank isn't paying any interest, many people have lost in the stockmarket over the past decade or two; they don't even have a fancy stock certificate to hang on their wall...with gemstones, there is something tangible and with fine colored gemstones, the market is controlled by supply and demand and is not an artificial market as Diamonds. De Beers is a major controller of the prices of Diamonds and Diamonds are not as rare as many colored gemstones.
Prices are up across the board in rough and faceted gemstones. What is selling in Tucson and in other markets, is the higher end, quality colored gemstones. We are positioned extremely well, as this is the All That Glitters forte. Expect to pay more for Sapphire, Ruby, Tourmaline, Garnet - or to be even more exact, EVERYTHING is increasing in price. Of course, for the past few years, we have been indicating to our customers that the price of Sapphire had been fairly low. Though on the increase now, those who do not purchase will look back in the future and say that they didn't buy because they thought the prices were high - and in that future, the prices of today will probably look very reasonable and affordable!
Again, the Mozambique Tourmaline has everyone talking, as the color range is not only diverse, but also unique, with new colors of Tourmaline never seen before. We especially find the Fuschia, Magenta, Purple, Amethyst Purple, Purplish Pink, Pinkish Purple and all variations in between to be wonderful, in demand and something to not only watch in the future, but to possess. The fancy colored or very bright Mozambique Tourmaline is quite often heavily included. We have chosen most pieces to be eye clean or mostly eye clean. The color is very desirable and among dealers, we have been discussing the fact that in the future, collectors and investors will be seeking this color out. Many of the Mozambique Tourmalines contain Copper. We have seen pinks and purples certed as containing Copper. One of our associated tested his Mozambique Tourmaline that were variations in Purple, and all tested as Cuprian (Copper containing) Tourmaline. Gemstones that look similar in color can test out as Tourmaline, Tourmaline with Copper as well as Tourmaline with Copper and Manganese. We feel the color should be the major factor for determining a purchase versus being based on the presence of one or two elements. There is no need to pay for something that you can not visually see.

An article about the Mozambique Tourmaline has appeared recently in Gems and Gemology Magazine, as well as The Loupe (GIA). The author was Brendan Laurs. Since we have communicated with Brendan before, bringing interesting gemstones that we had to his attention, we commented on the wonderful colors of Tourmaline that we had seen coming from Mozambique. Brendan's reply was: "I have also seen the magenta material that you mentioned -- it is quite nice and unlike the color I have seen in tourmaline previously".

NOTE - This find of Mozambique Tourmaline, especially the fancy colors (neon blues, neon greens, fuschia, magenta, purples and purple variations), would be classified as a Type III Gemstone by GIA. This means that inclusions are usually present, just as in Emerald, Red Beryl, Red Tourmaline, Diaspore, etc. We have chosen fine gemstones and most do not have eye visible inclusions, but essentially all have inclusions when louped. This is not necessarily a negative, but will help determine that it is natural and in the future, also possibily determine the country of origin (which can be a major factor in price or to a collector/investor). We have viewed a $40,000 Mozambique Tourmaline recently (Feb 2008 - wholeslae price) and it was eye clean, but when viewed with a 5X loupe, there were inclusions. All That Glitters has similar gemstones, but are asking about 50% to 80% of the current wholesale prices from some dealers since we are buying close to the source as well as do not mark up our inventory as much.
Other gemstones in trade discussions is the new find of bright pink Spinel from Tanzania. There are some fine, bright, clean, well cut pieces and this material is even smaller sizes is selling for $5,000/ct and up, wholesale. These prices are also similar to the Mozambique Tourmaline which was written up in a very recent Modern Jewelers Magazine issue as the Gemstone Profile. Both of these finds are selling for high prices because the colors and sizes have not been seen before, and in all previous finds of fine gemstones, it will not last. The mining localities do dry up and it is usually not too long after the find. Those who wait will find this new material will be like the Paraiba strike of 1989 - the material runs out and prices are $15,000/ct for small material (wholesale).