Color Fast: A Look Inside the AGTA GemFair 2015

Get up to speed on the gem market Feb. 3–8 at the AGTA GemFair

Warm weather is one reason to head to Arizona in February, but for gem lovers, it’s hardly the only one. Anyone with a love of stones knows the American Gem Trade Association’s GemFair takes over Tucson at the beginning of this month, drawing buyers, sellers, and collectors of the highest order to the Southwest.

This year’s event features some of the most beautiful rocks around, a number of which can be envisioned in designs on-site. CEO Doug Hucker says AGTA has expanded its CAD pavilion to include five firms in order to accommodate shopper requests.

To copromote the trade fair, AGTA has teamed up with local restaurants; buyers who patronize six select eateries and show their GemFair badges can choose either a free cocktail or a free dessert. (Dinner vouchers for a lucky few will be given away on the show floor.)

Also returning are cash vouchers good for show purchases. “If you have a badge, you could win $1,000 a day for the first three days, and $2,000 a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,” Hucker says. “We’re also giving away $500 a day in the Tool and Equipment pavilion.” The VIB (Very Important Buyer) lounge will be back as well, offering free breakfast, lunch, and charging stations.

As for registration, numbers are running ahead of last year—thanks in part to the new online registration tool. Available in multiple languages, the tool includes one that’s literally out of this world. “You can register in Klingon,” Hucker deadpans.

In the product arena, expect to see Csarite, Zambian emeralds, rubies and pink sapphires from Greenland (care of True North Mining), and plenty of opals and perennially popular sapphires.

“We have had a lot of interest in peach, golden, and orange sapphires, and in all shades of purple, violet, or lavender, including color change,” says Omi Gems owner Niveet Nagpal. “We will have a large selection of Mozambique rubies, from 1 carat sizes all the way up to a super 8 carat.” Also of note: honey-colored gold. “We’re making a lot more yellow gold pieces for Tucson.”