Tucson Gem Show Report

Each year a considerable number of the world’s biggest and best gem and mineral dealers converge on Tucson, Arizona, for what has become one of the largest gem events anywhere.

As Tucson developed into a “must-view” event, the Chapter realized that our colleagues represented a cross-section of the trade and could bring back their Tucson experiences and details to benefit others who did not attend or who concentrated on different segments of the industry during their sojourn.

Hence, DC GIA decided to devote each February meeting to a “Tucson Report” where Chapter associates who attended could exhibit items they purchased for “show and tell” and could discuss prices, new trends, and impressions with everyone at the meeting.

Lois Berger

Lois Berger

The Tucson Report beginning with Lois Berger, G.G. NAJA, and her always-excellent talk on pearls. Lois does a “Walk Around” each year and graciously opens it to anyone wishing to learn more. She gave a glimpse of what’s new, such as the Lagniappe [lan yap] “pearls” from American Pearl Co. These are extra pearls that from during the culturing process. They may or may not be marketed. She also provided photos and pricing of various strands of freshwater and salt water cultured pearls, along with South Sea and Tahitian cultured pearls. As an added bonus, she brought samples that she acquired on this trip.

Lois H. Berger – presentation

You can see her presentation by clicking the link above of Lois’ power point presentation with pictures.

Michael Gibson

Michael Gibson

Michael Gibson, Geologist and FGA followed with his reasons for why he’s been attending the show for 15 years. Michael broke it down to these: Education, Buying and Selling, Seeing the Usual, Seeing the Unusual, Eye Candy, Trade Camaraderie, Seeing Friends and Finding “Your” Kind of Fun. One of the highlights of Michael’s experience this year was a conference topic on light sources. He provided each of us with a CD entitled “Lighting and Its Effect on Color-Grading Colorless Diamonds” by Stan Hogrebe, CEO of Dazor, which you can view from the AGA website link below.

Tucson 2009AGA Offerings


Eye Candy
Eye CandyAGTA Cutting Edge Awards can be seen at AGTA Awards
AGA Conference Task Force on Lighting & Color-Grading can be seen at AGA Web Site

Kusam Malhotra

Kusam Malhotra

Kusam Malhotra of K&K International focused mostly on pricing of natural, unheated sapphires. She gave examples of blue, yellow and colorless, each with significant price increases over last year. Additionally, Kusam talked about cuprian tourmaline. Since there is only a 3% difference in the amount of copper in the Mozambique material, CIBJO ruled that it too, could be called Paraiba.

Expect to see an increase in price for this material. She saw an increase in production of black spinel as an alternative to black diamonds and an abundance of light-colored Kunzite. She concluded by commenting that the European designers are seeking large, vibrant colored stones.

Lisa Carp

Lisa Carp

Lisa Carp, Educator, provided several examples of her favorite purchases.

Hap Williams

Hap Williams

Hap Williams who gave a general overview of Tucson and how it differed from other years. One of the most telling signs of the present economy was that the normal 30 flights per day had been reduced to 15 per day.

He shared that there was ample parking at all of the shows and the restaurants were easily accessible.

Tim Morgan

Tim Morgan

The evening concluded with Tim Morgan’s “Show and Tell” of examples he purchased to make future men’s jewelry. These included brown tourmaline, treated turquoise, boulder opal, amber, jet (all beads) pieces of meteorite and various fossils.

The Meeting time ran out before Courtland Lee and Bobby Mann could present a discussion, but both had show and tell items displayed at the meeting.

Visit the Photos Page to see some of the show and tell items displayed at the meeting.

Submitted by Sherlene Y. Bradbury, G.G. with Photos by Melanie Marts, G.G.

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