February 2013 Newsletter: The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show

Tucson Gem Show

For gem dealers around the world, the annual gem show in Tucson, Arizona each February is the most important event on the calendar. Every dealer of significance in the trade is there, and every kind of gem material is on offer, from cut and polished gems to rough stone and mineral specimens.

Officially known as the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase, the Tucson exhibition is not one show, but many. In fact there are nearly 40 sites around the city -- in giant white tents, at hotels and resorts and at exhibit halls.

The show started in 1955 when a group of mineral collectors and rock hounds from the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society held an exhibition at a local school. It was an immediate hit and became an annual event that grew and grew. Eventually satellite shows were added and now all of Tucson is a gem show for two weeks each February. There are currently more than 30 independently operated shows that run more or less in parallel, with a total of over 3,000 exhibitors. 

GJX Show Tucson

AJS Gems usually participates in the Gem & Jewelry Exchange (GJX) show, where we feature fine cut stones from our collection. But this year we'll also be doing the Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show, a long-running (35 years) and diverse show that includes jewelry, cut gems and minerals. At the Pueblo show we'll be exhibiting rough stone from our extensive collection, as well as cut and polished gems.

You'll find us at the GJX show Feb 5th through 10th, in booth #2300. And you can see us at the Pueblo show at the Arizona Riverpark Inn,  Feb 2nd through 14th, in show room #146. We look forward to seeing you if you plan to be in Tucson.

Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show Tucson


Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature recent aquistions, ranging from a top Brazilian emerald to Nigerian tourmalines and a Bi-color Imperial Topaz.

Click on a photo to see the details for the item.

1.85 ct Emerald, Brazil

1.85 ct Emerald from Brazil  [SOLD]

We haven't been stocking emeralds because so many of them are heavily treated wtih  resins. But we recently acquired this very fine Brazilian emerald that is completely untreated. This gem displays beautiful crystal with excellent transparency, The color is a deep bluish-green with impressive saturation. Certified as untreated by GemResearch Swisslab (GRS), which notes the color as "vivid green."

6.65 ct Sphene, Madagascar

6.65 ct Sphene from Madagascar  [SOLD]

Sphene is highly regarded by collectors for its remarkable dispersion or fire, exceeding even diamond.  The most fiery specimens are very clean stones in the ilghter colors. This 6.65 ct beauty from Madagascar succeeds on both counts.

10.58 ct Pink Tourmaline, Nigeria

10.58 ct Pink Tourmaline from Nigeria  [SOLD]

A large pink touramline in a precision radiant cut. This fine gem is a vibrant reddish pink with bronze and orange flashes. Exceptionally clean, we've given this stone our highest clarity grade ("loupe clean").

 4.01 ct Bi-Color Imperial Topaz, Brazil

4.01 ct Bi-Color Imperial Topaz from Brazil  [SOLD]

A unique and beautiful bi-color Imperial topaz from Brazil. A truly one-of-a-kind gem displaying lovely gradients of pink and gold. Exceptionally clean and well cut, and certified as natural and untreated by GemResearch Swisslab. A true collector's gem.

 Diamond Melee

Diamond Melee from 1 to 10 points

Nothing sets off a fine colored gemstone like high quality diamond accents. We are now stocking diamond melee in sizes from 1 to 10 points. Professionally graded, these natural diamonds are available in the quantity of your choice. We also stock small diamonds in the .20 ct to .60 ct size.


News from AJS and the Gems World

  • Myanmar government plans new jade and gems center

    The Burmese government plans to open a jade and gemstone center in the new capital city of Naypyidaw. Since the new capital was created in 2005, the goverment has held their regular gem auctions there, which consistently produced sales over $1 billion dollars. But sales have decreased significantly since China’s economic growth has slowed and the Chinese government increased import taxes on Burmese jade and gemstones from 15 percent to 33 percent. So the plan to create a new gems center is seen as an attempt to attract more foreign investment from the west.

  • Prescious metal prices remain high, platinum and palladium move up

    The gem and jewelry industry keeps a close watch on the price of gold, which has fluctuated between $1,650 and $1,750 an ounce in the last 90 days. But some of the other precious metals -- particularly platinum and palladium -- have had more dramatic moves up. The price of platinum, which has lagged behind gold in the last year, moved from $1,530 to $1,700 in the last 30 days. Palladium, usually considered the low-cost alternative to platinum, hit a 16 month high this month at $743. 


Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

Is the star spinel you had in your January newsletter still available? I couldn't find it on your website. AT, Australia

The 11.16 ct purple star spinel sold within just a few days after we published it in our newsletter, sorry. But we've created a page with all the information about the gem, including the video and the GIA cert for the stone. 

Do you sell AAA Tanzanite? I don't see the grades for the tanzanite on your website. JN, Canada

Top Grade Tanzanite
Top Grade Tanzanite

There is no industry standard for tanzanite grading. The terms AAA and AA, in particular, are poorly defined. The Tanzanite Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the largest tanzanite producer, TanzaniteOne, has proposed a different grading scheme altogether, using terms like vBE (violetish blue exceptional) and bVV (blueish violet intense). If these terms don't look familiar to you, it's because the industry hasn't adopted this scheme either. But tanzanite grading is no great secret to those who work in the trade -- there are basically two principles of color. In general, we can say that a tanzanite is more valuable if the color is more blue than violet, and when the color is deeper or more saturated. Though some buyers may prefer a more violet color, or a lighter tone, the deep blue tanzanites will sell at the highest prices in the market.


All the best in gems,

Arnold, Rung & Ron