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What's Great in '98!

Each year I travel to Tucson, Arizona for the annual Gem & Mineral Show, or what I call The Greatest Show on Earth.   Actually, it is not just one show; it is a series of shows where gem dealers and stone cutters from all over the world display their best gemstones and mineralogical finds.

During these shows, I examine and appraise thousands of gemstones, searching for the finest examples of nature's rainbow.   I select the best of the best and add these wonderful gems to our exceptional collection, so that we have the best examples to offer our clients.

This year, I learned of several interesting trends and exciting new stones.

Tanzanite has been a favorite gemstone among jewelry lovers and gem collectors for several years.   Exceptionally fine Tanzanites are extremely limited, while average and lower qualities are abundant.   Often the tanzanites that you see in mall-type stores, discounters, catalog showrooms and on the television shopping channels are of average to lower quality.

At Bijoux Extraordinaire we purchase only the finest Tanzanites for our collection.   While in Tucson, I purchased many beautiful tanzanites and found several new sources for this luscious violet-blue gem from Tanzania.   So, if Tanzanite is your gem, please be sure to come visit us and see the best of the best.

Recently, Emeralds have been a hot topic in the jewelry industry.   Since there has been so much bad press about the treatment emeralds, prices for this rich green gemstone have actually decreased.   If you are in the market for an emerald, this is a great time to buy....but be careful!!

Emeralds have been treated with colorless oils since the time of Cleopatra.   Even today, they are still oiled right at the mines.   The oiling procedure is done to protect the emerald during the cutting process and also to minimize the visibility of fractures.   Most emeralds come out of the ground in a highly included state.   You could say that emeralds need "oiling" much like many of us need cosmetics or fashionable clothing to make us look our best.

Recently, the emerald treaters have begun to use colorless oils in combination with synthetic resin fillers which prevent the oils from seeping out of the stone.   There are also some dealers that use "colored oils" and fillers with hardeners that drastically alter the color of an emerald.   It is the use of these colored oils and hardeners that has caused such a scare in the industry.

At Bijoux Extraordinaire we prefer to sell extra fine grade emeralds that have either no fillers at all or just a colorless oil from the cutting process.   Although the colored fillers and hardeners are becoming a common practice in the jewelry industry, we feel that no gemstone should ever be sold without full disclosure of all treatments.

Also of interest in Tucson this year were exciting color-change Garnets from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) and the Tunduru mines of Tanzania.   Color Change Garnets offer an affordable alternative to Alexandrite - a gem known for changing from red to green as lighting conditions change.   I found many fine examples of Color Change Garnet which exhibited a rich purplish raspberry color under incandescent light and dark teal under fluorescent lighting.   Garnet is a very durable stone that is well suited for daily wear in all forms of jewelry.

Naturally no trip to Tucson would be complete without a perusal of rare and exotic stones such as Benitoite, Red Beryl, Sphene and Rhodochrosite.   This year we located one of the world's finest Benitoites and have added it to the Bijoux Collection.   Our Benitoite is a dark violetish blue with brilliance and dispersion similar to that of diamond.   Incidentally, Benitoite is the state gemstone for California.

We also purchased a wonderful selection of traditional stones such as Tsavorite, Chrome Tourmaline, Rubellite Tourmaline, Red Spinel, Fancy Sapphire, Amethyst, Apatite and Rhodolite Garnet.   If you would like to learn more about these beautiful gems, please give us a call - (603) 624-8672.

A trip to the Tucson gem shows is a essential for the professional jewelry appraiser.   It is also a tremendous learning opportunity; a chance to discover new gems for jewelry design and to do market research on gemstone pricing and availability.

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please give us a call
(603 624-8672) or send us an email.

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