Mixed Company: Gem Pricing, December 2014–January 2015

Heading into the final weeks of the year, dealers are reporting mixed results. But most agree there were a number of bright spots in 2014. The global sales of gems and jewelry experienced solid growth this year, and conditions in the United States have improved significantly.

Colored stones had a banner year, and prices for high-end extra fine natural gems ­certainly reflect that. This year witnessed a number of record per-carat prices achieved at auction in the category. This has only further stimulated demand and higher prices at all levels of the trade for fine color. The reality is that fine gems trading at that level are so scarce that even after reaching prices few thought were sustainable a year ago, they continue to move up. Such increases have been most noticeable at the high end but definitely are not limited to the top goods. The midlevel of the market also experienced good demand this year. As the market improves, it continues to move inward from the two extremes of low- and high-end product—a shift that’s critical to prolonged growth.

The consensus heading into the new year is positive. Dealers anticipate an active Tucson Gem Week and expect a broad range of colored stones to be in demand. The improving market is once again starting to encourage exploration and the introduction of new product.