A lack of fine ruby and other in-demand gems drives prices higher than ever in Tucson
The Tucson gem shows received mixed results from exhibitors. Attendance was lower than expected, but with no new gemstone product to generate the drive that has brought retailers to Tucson in the past, this was not surprising.
One of the big stories of the week was the scarcity of high-quality ruby, which has sent prices skyrocketing in recent years. This was particularly apparent this year. Prices of around $25,000 and $30,000 were observed for fine Mozambique ruby in the 5 ct. range. This is significantly higher than last year, and would appear to signal an increasing acceptance of east African origins as sources of fine ruby.
In general, prices appeared higher for a range of gems compared with last year. Spessartite garnet, blue sapphire, blue and green zircons, aquamarine, tanzanite, and several spinel varieties have experienced increases. Demand in China is influencing this trend. Recent reports indicate that the strong growth in the Chinese gem market has begun to slow. To what, if any, extent this will impact prices in the North American market is not clear. However, one should not expect any significant easing of prices for fine gems anytime soon. World demand simply exceeds supply.