Best Buys at Tucson

Richard DruckerFor years Richard Drucker’s "Best Buys in Tucson" presentation on the opening day of the AGTA Gem Fair has helped buyers better navigate the world’s largest gem show. As the president of Gemworld International, a company known for its gemstone price lists and market research (as well as appraisal services and software), Drucker told a crowded seminar room what’s hot and what’s not for gemstone buys this year.

What’s Not Hot:

Tanzanite: Mining is down as demand for the stone has run its course. Tanzanite had its hay days roughly four to five years ago, with firm prices and strong demand. But when the economy started to show signs of a downward turn two years ago, tanzanite’s demand began to wane, prices fell and mining efforts slowed.

Iolite: Demand for iolite has dropped as the gemstone has fallen out of favor as a "blue alternative."

Cuprian Tourmaline: Negative press on treatments has hurt sales.

What’s Hot:

Blue Sapphire: This colored stone is always a steady seller, but when the economy is down the classic colored stones perform well with sapphire the number-one recommended gem pick for Tucson this year.

Tourmaline: Nigeria is a new source for rubellite tourmaline. This source produces less included goods, making the clean, good color the number-two recommended buy.

Zircon: Blue zircon remains a good blue alternative. But, other zircon colors are getting some attention such as wheat and brown colors.

Spinel: Red and pink spinels are selling well, but so are the lavender and purple color varieties. Spinel ranks an 8.0 on the Mohs hardness scale, which is one hardness level down from corundum (ruby and sapphire). Spinel remains largely unknown to consumers making it something "new" to offer customers. And, Burma and Tanzania remain strong sources for quality goods.

Peridot and aquamarine: Were also recommended as good buys for the Tucson show.

With women’s self-purchases in fashion jewelry showing strong retail sales, Drucker also shared Pantone’s top-10 fashion colors for spring 2010:

  1. Turquoise
  2. Tomato Purée
  3. Fusion Coral
  4. Violet
  5. Tuscany
  6. Aurora
  7. Amparo Blue
  8. Pink Champagne
  9. Dried Herb
  10. Eucalyptus

In some of Drucker’s closing remarks he cautioned audience members to remember the "best buy isn’t always the lowest price," says Drucker. And that: "it’s always better to buy quality over size."

When retailers present their new gemstone buys to customers back home, keep in mind that: "price, quality and service are all part of the ‘value’ of a gemstone," says Drucker.