MARKET IN BRIEF from the Guide Oct 2004

•  Fancy colored sapphires remain in good demand.

•  The strong demand from designers for pink gems has expanded to include yellow as well as light green and blue.

•  Morganite, pink topaz and pink spinel sold well this summer and are expected to remain in demand this fall.

•  Fine quality Colombian emeralds remain scarce. Prices increased dramatically this year for fine and extra-fine Colombian emeralds. Production remains limited while demand has improved significantly.

•  Pearl dealers are please with the improved quality of fine akoyas entering the market. Nacre coatings are thicker and the luster is quite fine. Sizes of up to mm are available in the market, with demand concentrated around the 7mm to 7.5mm sizes.


Tom Cushman, an official International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) ambassador in Madagascar reports that the gem business in Madagascar is slow. It is the rainy season now so there will not be much production until March. In brief:

•  Geuda rough for calibrated blue sapphires continues to be plentiful.

•  Pink sapphire prices are approaching astronomical.

•  Ruby production from Andilamena and Vatomandry is down significantly

•  Stocks of other colored gemstones are thin in the capital city of Antananarivo .

UPDATES from the Jewellery News Asia (HK) Nov 2004

•  Two international South Sea and Tahitian pearl auctions held in Hong Kong at the September fair sold 80% of pearls on offer, reflecting the prevailing buoyant market sentiment. A total of 158,475 South Sea pearls were sold for US$12.2 million at the 26 th Paspaley Pearl Auction. Total sales at the 20 th Robert Wan Tahiti Perles Auction were 217,293 pearls at over US$7 million.

•  There were strong sales and attendance at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Watch Fair in September. Visitors from the Us and China increased. There was fair and high demand for loose stones in pastel colors like fancy sapphires, morganite, pink tourmaline and kunzite. Sapphires sold well, mainly for unheated material. Natural fancy colored diamonds sold briskly, especially in yellow, pink and blue.

•  Sri Lanka 's profile as a centre for higher value sapphires, particularly for blue sapphires, continues to grow. Exhibitors at “Facets 2004” reported an increase in buyers and most sales were natural and heated blue sapphires, pink, natural yellow and fancy colored sapphires. Demand was good for fine quality goods. Prices range as follows:

•  Natural blue sapphires sold from US$500 to US$3,500 a carat.

•  Unheated blues sapphires sold from US$300 to US$1,500 a carat. Prices have increased by some 25% according to suppliers.

•  Demand for pink sapphires remain strong, selling from US$700 to US$2,000 a carat. Prices have risen up to 100% due to high demand and low supply.

•  In yellow sapphires, natural stones sold from US$150 to US$300 per carat, with prices going up 50%.

•  Fancy sapphires in matched layouts from 1 to 3 cts and for calibrated rainbow suites in rounds, princess and square cuts saw good demand.

•  Natural Padparaschas were in strong demand.

•  At the Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair in September, the GIA unveiled the new Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) unit, a laser-emission spectroscopic technique that is focused specifically to detect beryllium in gemstones. It costs about US$15,000 to US$20,000 per unit. This machine does not use a quantitative technique. It merely detects the presence of a 313 nanometer emission band that proves beryllium is present.

TREND UPDATES from the Basel Magazine ( Europe ) Nov 2004

Pearls are in fashion this season. The luxe fashion mood is about personal styling with a mix of contemporary and vintage fashion and accessories. Pearl strands are key to the look, but there's a growing mood for more innovative pearl designs. Tiffany's new pearl retail concept “Iridesse” opens in the US this month with special collections by five famous designers. Pearl giant Golay has launched a new collection that is colorful and playful. The palette ranges from golden to lavender-grey and the pearls hang and swing from chains and are bunched as pendants.

THE ‘NEW' ICE JADE from the JCK Oct 2004

The term “Ice Jade” isn't found in any gem books as yet, but it is already being used in the professional circles in China . According to Don Kay, jade expert and owner of Mason Kay in Denver , Jade that was essentially colorless, as well as translucent, was called, ‘water jade'. It was about the same price range as commercial green jade and therefore relatively cheap. Five or six years ago, extremely fine quality water jade appeared on the market. The compact nature of the crystal structure gave the jade an unprecedented translucence. In fact, the stones grade out as “transparent” to “very transparent”, a 1 or 2 in the six-grade scale use by Ou Yang Chiu Mei in her book Jadeite Jade, a Stone and a Culture . (The term used in the book is “glassy”.) With marketing mutations, the term ‘water jade' has given rise to ‘crystal jade' and ‘ice jade'. ‘Water jade' is now used for grayish, maybe spotty, colorless jade that exhibits some translucence. ‘ Crystal jade' refers to the best water jade, and ‘ice jade' is the best of the best. Of course, this nomenclature is still highly subjective, and by no means standardized. Meanwhile, prices for this type of jade have skyrocketed in China . Kay was told that a strand of ice jade beads recently sold for $10,000 and bangles are appearing in catalogs at unheard of reserves.