The economic slowdown in China had the expected impact on the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, with dealers reporting far fewer buyers from the mainland this year. However, they also say the show was better than expected.
Dealers say prices are starting to soften, especially for fine ruby and sapphire. Currently, the decrease represents a few percentage points, but most dealers we spoke with indicated that they anticipate prices, especially for fine sapphire, still have room to come down. Dealers also say the growing use of trade terms on lab reports—such as “pigeon’s blood” to denote a ruby boasting a spectacular red hue—is starting to negatively affect the market.
It is important to note that at the top end of the natural (unenhanced) gem market, there is little indication that prices will move down. Dealers exhibiting exquisite natural jadeite and top Burmese ruby and sapphires were holding firm on their pricing. They said that gems of the finest quality cannot be replaced; therefore, they have no incentive to sell for any figure other than their asking price.
Prices shown represent actual wholesale memorandum prices paid by retail jewelers on a per-stone basis. All prices are per carat except for cultured pearls. No responsibility or liability is assumed for the consequences of the use of any information in this report, nor for errors or omissions. The terms Commercial, Good, Fine, and Extra-Fine are general classifications developed and used by The GemGuide. Each represents a range of individual quality grades. When they are used in conjunction with proper grading, one can accurately pinpoint a price from within the listed range. The GemGuide is published six times a year. A one-year subscription includes market reports and colored stone and diamond prices. For more information, contact Gemworld International Inc., 2640 Patriot Blvd., Suite 240, Glenview, IL 60026; 888-GEMGUIDE or 847-657-0555, fax 847-657-0550. U.S., Canada, $205 complete per year. Elsewhere $275 complete per year.