Gem Pricing: Unconventional Wisdom

Retailers hope attractively priced nontraditional gems will beat holiday expectations

Exhibitors report that attendance at the regional summer shows in the United States was down from 2011. The number of attendees who were active buyers has greatly improved, however. In colored stones, both estate pieces and fine loose stones have experienced particularly strong interest. The market continues to find demand focused on high-end gems as well as on low-end, price point–­specific stones.

This year, the retail market is seeing greater interest in nontraditional gem materials. Affordable agates, chrome diopside, fluorite, and labradorite are just a few of the materials transitioning from fashion jewelry into the fine jewelry market. These materials are attractive to retailers trying to provide cost-conscious consumers with more stylish options.

In the diamond market, recent price declines for rough are allowing improved profit in the polished market. Dealers report that demand for well-made fancy shapes has improved sharply due to the excellent values when compared to the cost of well-made round brilliants. Consumers are finding that fancies command better buying power. Although prices for better round brilliants are still considered high, they in fact declined again in September.