Gem Pricing Report: Holding Pattern

The election has put the U.S. market in a wait-and-see mood, but movement in midrange goods is a promising sign

Reports from September’s Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair indicate that demand for colored gemstones has been steadily improving in the global market in response to better supplies of both calibrated commercial and fine-quality stones. Prices have increased compared with 2011 levels—especially in the ruby market, where high prices and extremely limited supply of nice material have dealers looking to cultivate demand for alternatives to this classic red gem.

The U.S. market is gearing up for the holiday season. Election years tend to stymie consumer interest in the weeks leading up to the vote. This typically leads to quiet September and October sales with activity rebounding nicely in November and December. So far, 2012 has conformed to that pattern.

Colored stone dealers say they do not expect to see a single gem variety stand out this season. Instead, many are predicting that price points will be slightly more varied than in 2011, opening consumers to a variety of gemstone choices. Although the market is still most active at high (extra fine) and low (commercial) qualities, there has been an uptick in demand in the midlevel qualities. This is particularly significant since the midlevel category, and its corresponding price points, served as the bread-and-butter for many dealers prior to the recession.