The Tucson Panel

This year’s Tucson Panel was chaired by Kusam Malhotra. Martin Fuller, Courtland Lee and Lois Berger participated, and Lisa Carp displayed a tantalizing assortment of her beautiful bead finds from Tucson.

Courtland Lee Beads

Courtland Lee Beads

Some of the items shared by Courtland Lee and Lisa Carp

Lisa Carp's Beads

Lisa Carp's Beads

Kusam Malhotra

Kusam Malhotra

Kusam Malhotra began by introducing three hot new stones; a new spinel from Tanzania, Paraiba tourmaline from Mozambique and kyanite from Nepal.

The new spinel from Tanzania is a vibrant peach/pink with orange overtones. It is identical to findings from Russia, and it’s going to take off.

The Paraiba tourmaline from Mozambique is large and in vibrant colors of green, blue, yellow green and purple. The prices are reasonable, and it’s a good time to buy this material. The kyanite from Nepal is a vibrant blue that closely resembles the color of a Kashmir sapphire-but at a fraction of the price. She reported that the price of fine corundum is up 25%-45% from last year, as are natural colored coffee and cognac diamonds. She noted that people bought finer goods and larger pieces, with most clients coming from overseas.

Martin Fuller

Martin Fuller

Martin Fuller gave a synopsis of Bill Hoefer’s class on “Insurance Appraisals Demystified”, which was held in Tucson.

He pointed out that 90% of the appraisals done are for insurance,

and that most appraisers do not understand the different types of insurance companies and policies.


He stressed that the detail contained in an appraisal report makes sure that a client is made whole again-not the dollar amount of the value conclusion.


Mr. Hoefer also offers classes in estate appraisals and divorce appraisals.

Courtland Lee

Courtland Lee

Courtland Lee presented samples and information on Maryland gemstones.

Namely fossilized dinosaur bones, fossilized lizard teeth, and williamsite.

Apparently the fossilized dinosaur bone has garnered the interest of China.


Fossilized lizard teeth retain the visual structure of ivory, but have a hardness of 7, which is typical for a silicate.


The williamsite found in Maryland is the finest gem serpentine in the world, an emerald green in color.

Lois Berger

Lois Berger

Lois Berger wrapped up the Tucson Panel with her eagerly awaited annual report on the pearl market.

She discussed the terms “coin pearl” and “keshi”, as well as the shift in calling some fresh water pearls “tissue activated” instead of “tissue nucleated”.

She also noted that cash flow has a direct relationship with the amount of time the mussel or oyster is left in the water, and generally observed that inventory is not moving in the low end-which correlates to no cash flow to buy new inventory.


China has new inventory, but our economy is just at this state.


Several beautiful new shapes were introduced across the board in the pearl market, from Chinese freshwater cultured pearls to Tahitian to South Seas, including new carved Vietnamese cultured pearls bead nucleated with gemstones by the designer Chai. There is still a strong market for high end pearls.


It was an entertaining, informative evening with a plethora of new, beautiful specimens available around for examination. Many thanks to our panelists for making the trip out to Tucson and sharing new industry information with the group!

Submitted by Etta M. Saunders

Meeting Photos by Melanie Marts

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