I have listed information for the more commercially important colored gemstones, as well as stones I commonly deal with. If you wish for information on a gemstone that is not listed here, please email me at and I will do my best to incorporate it into this site, or at least answer your questions. Please note that the prices listed here are meant only as an opinion and a guide. All prices are for fine quality gems only and stated in US$ per carat. Prices and information listed here are derived from local market sources, price guides and various publications.
Last Updated: 3rd Quarter 2008 (Reports from China & Singapore)
Driven by internal demand (China), prices of white mutton-fat nephrite have more than doubled since 2004. My suppliers lament the lack of fine goods due to a shortage of raw material and skilled craftsmen. The recent bubbling of political instability in the XinJiang region is not helping matters either. This means that collectors of both modern and antique nephrite will not see prices fall any time soon.
The situation for jadeite is similar to nephrite. Prices have shot up due to a bouyant and growing economy, a shrinking supply of good quality material and pressing demand by millions of mainland Chinese collectors, especially the so-called "new-rich" and the rising middle-classes. One dealer says he reckons prices have risen "shi bei" (ten times) in the good to fine category. He told me that jadeite bangles that transacted for just US$300-$1000 in 2003/2004, can now fetch US$2000-$10,000.
Demand is so strong that, unlike their colored gemstones dealer counterparts who are asking questions like "We can buy, but can we sell?", Chinese dealers of jade are asking, "We want to sell, but where can we buy?" The real question is, how long is this going to last?
Last Updated: End 2007 (Reports from USA, Thailand & Singapore)
SPINEL ( RED & PINK)
Prices of Spinel have moved up steadily since I first monitored prices in 2002 and they don't seem to be coming down! Fine Red Spinel from 2 to 5 cts now ranges from $350 - $1000. Last year, the range was about $250 - $900. Hot saturated Pinks may go for slightly less but are holding steady as well. Dealers say that rising prices don't seem to be deterring collectors because fine Spinel is rare and can look much livelier than its more famous cousin, the Ruby.
Update 25/09/06 - At the September fair in Bangkok, prices for Spinel were spiraling out of control. There were few fine stones and the prices showed! Asking prices for good to fine Spinels of 2 to 5 carat ranged from $800 to $2500 per carat! With Spinel prices at Ruby levels, where does that leave Ruby?
Stratospheric - that's how dealers describe ruby prices now. Very little fine material is circulating and whatever that is is being offered at prices that are shooting straight into outer space. In other words, you can buy, but can you sell? Prices of fine to extra-fine ruby of 3ct and up are hovering at $5,000 to over $20,000 a piece. That kind of price tag makes Spinel look cheap. Is this the right time to buy? My guess is as good as yours.
Fine quality 'forest green' Tsavorite, especially in sizes between 2-5ct, is now becoming rare in the market. Prices were at an all time low last year, but are really picking up this year. It's still a good time to buy if you find a fine piece. Prices don't look like they will stop rising.
Prices are more or less steady with no substantial increase or decrease. For stones between 3 to 5 cts, the price range is about $600 - $2000. As usual, price premiums are expected for stones coming from Burma. Sri Lankan stones reminiscent of Kashmir-type blues are also very popular. Demand for unheated material remains strong. Due to the extreme rarity, they can command anything from 30% to 50% more to whatever amount the seller wishes. Star stones in good blues to violet-blues are also very popular now.
Fine stones in from 1 to 3 ct in Fanta Orange or Papaya Orange ideals range from $90 - $150. Previously a less-known gemstone, Spessartite is gaining market popularity because of its summer fruit punch hue and fantastic sparkle. Consumers commonly know it by its similarly delectable trade name, "Mandarin Garnet".
Stuart Robertson of The Guide doesn't anticipate any immediate price increases for Tanzanite. It will take some time before new goods enter the market. Although tanzanite prices have fluctuated during the past several years, they remain below their highs posted in the 1970's and 1980's. The current plans to reorganize the distribution channels will eventually lead to higher prices in the finer-quality materials and may lead to a price reduction for commercial quality stones.
Prices have been on a gradual increase during the past few years. However, tanzanite is present in the market in sufficient quantity to suggest that any significant price jump can only occur slowly, if at all. Tanzanite prices peaked in 1985 at $2000/ct in the extra-fine category. Tanzanite single-stone memo prices (2-<3cts) in the extra-fine category has risen from $310-$400 in 1998 to $450-$600 in 2005. In the fine category, prices have gone from $235-$310 in 1998 to $325-$450 in 2005. In the commercial and good categories, prices have risen from $70-$150-$235 in 1998 to $100-$200-$325 in 2005.
(Tanzanite prices plunged to 1998 levels on allegations that al Qaeda was using these precious gems for money laundering. Tanzania has since established protocols to track goods from mine to retail counter.)
Although prices seem to be holding, local dealers feel that fine Rubellite is getting scarce. Even their less saturated sisters in Pink have become harder to source. Expect stones of 1 to 5 cts to be in the range of $70 - $140. Prices can vary based on clarity.