Crystal Balm

Despite the faltering economy and a decline in attendance, buyers at this show bought. Many exhibitors not only survived but also surpassed their expectations. There were groans of pain amid the sighs of relief, however, with some exhibitors reporting 20, 30, and even 40 percent drops in sales from last year. Aisles were often devoid of buyers, and open exhibitor areas dotted the show floor, evidence that several dealers didn't make it to Tucson. The American Gem Trade Association noted that attendance at its GemFair was down compared with last year's figures. The show “saw a 19 percent drop in attending buyers; 7,640 this year versus 9,402 in 2008,” says AGTA chief executive officer Douglas K. Hucker. “Buying was conservative, with buyers primarily restocking traditional inventory.” Rui Galopim de Carvalho, Portuguese gem expert with and executive liaison amba

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