Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All That Glitters Website Changes and Info for February 2009

This Months Special: A Carved and Sculpted Ametrine (from the Famous Anahi Mine - the ONLY mine!)

Gem News: New Find of Alexandrite in Africa, Color Change Garnet or ???

Newly Faceted or Photographed Gemstones:


A large nice bluish green Tourmaline from the Famous Aricanga Mine in Brasil has been photographed. One of many fine gemstones that hasn't seen the light of day over the past 20 years!

Several pieces of fine estate jewelry, many of which were created by All That Glitters over the past two decades, has been photographed. One very fine exception blue green with seafoam green highlights, in a custom setting with large white trillion diamonds is available!

A number of Sapphires have been rephotographed as well as a great pair of matched purplish pink Sapphires.

Still appearing on the New Page are photos of a few very important neon blue or teal Madagascar Apatites faceted by our master cutter, as well as a super Oregon Sunstone, which is currently scheduled to appear in another gemstone book!

New Find of Alexandrite in Africa, Possibly Color Change Garnet or ???

There seems to be another strike of Alexandrite, to be added to the other known deposits in Brasil, Sri Lanka, India, Russia, Madagascar. Alexandrite has been known to have come from Africa over the past few decades, with All That Glitters purchasing some back in about the mid-1990s. Though the fairly recent find in Madagascar produced large gemstones at a decent price, the cutting was usually native cuts from that country or other countries, that is shallow, poorly cut and cut to produce the largest gemstone and therefore, lacking in overall brilliance and one could pass it over a book and read through it! The color change could be a decent green to a grey or grey purple. Not the best, but certainly a change!

The information below was obtained via emails on January 16th. This new find is happening at this very minute as the Monthly News is being written for release on the 27th of January, just prior to our Tucson Show trip.

"Okay let me tell you , there was huge deposit for alexandrite discovered two days back but the place have been closed down by the government because people had started to fight...

this alexandrite very much sort after, as you can see big dealers from Nairobi i and Mombasa were also at the site this afternoon and they are buying at crazy prices...

A police officer at the alexandrite site while the area Member of parliament was holding meeting with independent miners and the land owner...

This discovery is two days old and I the site will be closed. The independent miners have flooded the land which private and the owner are working day and night to get these people out. Today before I left the site there was a meeting with area MP and even the police were there...

The miners most of them are not learned and they abuse drugs as well. Would you believe that over 400 independent miners flooded into a private land opened open a toilet and threaten the owner ?. Police came but they can do nothing to over 400 people. It is all a mess...

I have several piece of ALEXANDRITE WITH ME and most of the guys here do have the alexandrite as well. But I am talking about I have with me. I have the 3.5 g , 1.7, 1.6 and others at range of 1g and some at 0.5g to 1g. My main concern is the 3.5g...

The problem is that when you deal with people who are not learned is very difficulty to help them. I have tried to help some here but it turns against me. I have tried to teach some miners that we can work togthe, I even tell them the price we will get abroad and all over at once they want me to pay them US price even when the quality is good. Until people who are learned get involved they will continue to be with this problem going on. "

Comments from L. Allen Brown, owner and founder of All That Glitters:

The description of the chaos, police, fights, dealers flocking in, is all the same from country to country, whenever something of value is found, whether it be Sapphire, Tanzanite, Fancy Garnet, Neon Tourmaline or Alexandrite. I was in Brasil in 1987 when the famous Itabira/Hematita strike of Alexandrite was found, and was offered a 5ct faceted Alexandrite. I passed on it - it was too dark and the strike was too new; in fact, so new that many hadn't heard of the strike. Similar activities described above occurred in this area of Brasil and the police stepped in after there were murders over the gemstones being found there. As admitted to by our contact in this area, it is common for buyers to show up and offer ridicuously low prices for rough that has a much higher value. This is a disgrace for any profession when this happens, and Fair Trade is becoming more common and this is what I personally believe in. I told the buyer over there that if we were to purchase the rough and if we did well with re-wholesaling it, we would send more funds down to him, indicating that he should share the monies with the actual finder/miner of the rough. Everyone should be happy with the transaction, which means the final purhaser of the gemstone, the retailer, the wholesaler, Alll That Glitters (who would have wholesaled the faceted gemstone after our master cutter faceted it), the seller of the rough and the original miner of the rough. No one should be cheated along the way.

Unfortunately, our contact in the Kenya/Tanzania border, is still learning and doesn't fully understand pricing or even the estimated return from a standard piece of rough. This varies, but believe it or not, when properly faceted, there is an 80% loss. If one calibrates the gemstones, it is about a 85% loss. Improperly faceted gemstones will maintain more weight, but there is no brilliance, no return of light, poor polish and they should be refaceted to produce a saleable gemstone. This recutting incurrs a loss of funds for recutting and much loss of the original weight. It is unfortunate that costly material like Alexandrite, Sapphires, some Tourmalines, Rubies, etc. are poorly cut in the countries of origin. Because of this high value of gemstone rough, they want to return as much of the original weight for resale. All That Glitters is then forced to determine whether the gemstone should be purchased and then recut. In the most recent examples of this, All That Glitters has used our award winning master cutter to re-facet some of the fine purple Mozambique Tourmalines at a loss of sometimes thousands of dollars per gemstone. Of course, after this re-cutting and polishing with very fine diamond (100K), there are probably no other gemstones in this color, size, polish, brilliance, etc. any where else!

This one particular African contact, the only one that we keep in touch with (as we do receive many emails daily about rough from Africa but the quality is not All That Glitters quality and the prices are too high), confuses and frustrates us. Though he shared this new strike with us and we suggested what the prices could be when purchased in quantity as we were willing to do, he insisted on sending the material out for ID, where he could have sent it to us and we would have paid to have it identified spectrally, studied the material, and would make an offer for what was received. We, as we have in the past, would advise him. This would be a step in the right direction, as I see a visit to this area of Africa, to work with him on a personal level and get resources out there to ID gemstones and set up help for those in the bush.

Like many people offering rough from around the world, we rarely get a firm price or even any price - they want to know what we are willing to pay for it. Usually when this happens, we have a sketchy verbal description, no photos (which really don't do items justice as they have to be examined in person), etc. We cannot make on offer or even offer an opinion without seeing it. If we do suggest a price, we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. One is always told that the offered price is too low. We have never been told that our offer price is too high! There are rumors, or information found on line, or stories of what some gemstones sell for all over the world. It is difficult to explain that prices typically seen are for faceted gemstone and what they have is rough, and that the faceted gem will probably be about 20% of the original weight of the rough, and one has to work around inclusions, orient for best color IF possible, and there is no guarantee that the rough will survive cutting or produce something of value. We have never received any rough from Africa that had any value and it has always been a loss. Now that said, there is some great rough from Africa out there, and we had purchased it from our associates living in Africa and that have visited us in the US where we can look at the rough and determine if we can take in a small profit. We have learned that if we cannot view it, cannot get a price on the material, it is just too much work and always has a disappointing outcome after time is spent on both ends.

Though it seemed that this individual would finally send some interesting material up to the US for our perusal (an article could have been written on this new strike for a trade magazine, with this individual providing commentary, photos, etc.) it seems that, as usual, nothing will be happening....

If this strike is farily large, look for the prices on Alexandrite to be depressed. Prices might be depressed anyway, because of the world economy. Since it doesn't appear that we will be working with this gentleman on this material, we expect that our other foreign contacts will have purchased as much as possible and at even better prices because of the total value of funds being spent. This will be better for All That Glitters and those who await fine faceted gemstones from us, as we will do our best to obtain a few pieces and at a good price. Of course, if the gentleman from Africa can supply us with a parcel of fine quality rough Alex at a good price, he may be making the largest sale he has ever brokered, and preparing for many more sales in the future. If the past is any indication though, he will miss out and any funds that we currently have available will become tied up in other rough or invested to provide a larger percentage return.

==> Update - So far, over the past 10 years that we have received emails regarding rough from those living abroad in the rough producing countries, we have yet to offered any material of high quality or uniqueness that we seek. Occasionally, we believe we might have encountered a few pieces, but the prices have been too high. This particular find of Alexandrite, seems to be Color Change Garnet. The owner of the pieces of rough had send them to the U.S. to someone who passed them over to a Geologist for identification. Why a Geologist, we have no idea. The identification seems to have waivered between Alexandrite and Color Change Garnet. This SIMPLE identification would take the owner of All That Glliters less than 5 seconds to perform - yes, less than 5 seconds, and there would be no doubt as to the ID if the possibilities were between Garnet and Chrysoberyl (Alexandrite). Also, apparently the material was also sent to a jeweler who might have mis-identified it also. A jeweler might not be a gemologist or even have the necessary equipment. The comment that came back is that the jeweler could not purchase the material in its current form, as it was rough and needed to be faceted. All That Glitters can offer not only gemstone id for rough, but we have some of the best cutters in the U.S. winning awards annually. We have recommended to the owner of the rough to contact the government or The World Bank, and the owner of All That Glitters can perhaps begin to educate miners/dealers in the bush, as to how to identify (or perform a best guess if necessary), set up faceting facilities in the area or even small labs to do gemstone identification. It is IMPERATIVE that those in the bush are not taken advantage of. Too many times, those in the business with money will onlly give the poor individuals who have found something of value, only pennies on the dollar. The gemstone trade is becoming more conscience of this issue, and Fair Trade Practices need to be implemented. Everyone from the consumer to the person who toiled to find the rough should benefit. Those purchasing rough from those in the bush should tell the truth about what the rough is. The final value paid would also be based on how good the piece of rough is, what the yield will be, how good the color and clarity is, etc. and this is another issue that will be difficult to determine, especially if it is to be fair to both the selling and buying parties.

==> Update (Jan 27, 2009) All That Glitters was emailed over a week ago that samples would be sent. No other communication or any package has been received. This is pretty much the norm unfortunately. We will obtain more information and most likely accurate information upon our return from Tucson - maybe even find some rough or faceted gemstones from this strike, whether it be Alexandrite, Color Change Garnet or ???