The mood at the recent AGTA Gem Fair, in Tucson, Ariz., was far more upbeat than it was at last year’s fair, exhibitors told JCK.
“The retailers who are at the show this year are the ones who had a better-than-expected 2009,” says Anil Maloo, president of Baggins, a Los Angeles pearl company. “Retailers are buying carefully and are cautious about the future but know they need to restock for 2010.”
Maloo did well on the high end and on the low end with wholesale-price goods under $500, but he said the middle range—goods with wholesale prices between $700 and $2,000—was a problem.
Mark Smith, of Thai Lanka Trading, Bangkok, Thailand, reported strong interest in peridot from Pakistan as well as spinel, mainly from Tanzania. “Reds and pinks are selling well, but people are showing a strong interest in the lavender and purple color varieties,” Smith said.
Another Bangkok-based gem dealer who enjoyed a successful show was Nomad Co.’s Josh Saltzman. His top sellers were spinels, tourmalines, and garnets. He said blue, mint, and pink tourmaline also sold well.
Cara Williams, of Bear Essentials, agreed that while buyers were spending less money than usual, they were buying. Spinel was a popular seller for Williams, but only in red. “Pink tourmaline is also doing well, and peridot is getting some attention,” Williams added. “The bigger, blingier sales are gone. People are buying ring sizes, with sizes mainly falling in the 8 mm by 10 mm range. And quality goods are first and foremost.”