Large Colored Stones

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Çigdem Lüle, PhD, FGA, GIA GG, DGA

The GemGuide Market Trend article typically covers a single gemstone that has shown an interesting trend in demand and/or price. However, this report presents a trend that is more general in nature. Such an observation has been made lately and was mentioned by several gem dealers following Tucson gem shows. That is that big and bold gemstones are getting increasingly popular. The Covid lockdown had an unusual effect on the US gem trade by creating a circumstance in which the market actually experienced growth in demand at a time when production stopped. The result of the lack of supply caused prices to increase. This might sound negative, yet, consumer’s money that had not been spent on vacations or luxury cars (re-read lack of supply), has been spent on gemstones and jewelry regardless of their higher price points. As mentioned in the Colored Market Report by Stuart Robertson in this issue, Tucson gem shows saw a decline in traffic but were definitely busy with buyers intending to replenish their inventory after a two years absence from the show. Colored gemstone dealers enjoyed the results, especially with sales of larger stones that otherwise sell under 5 carats. James Alger of James Alger Company noted that 5 ct through 30 ct aquamarines and tourmalines, as well as heated fancy sapphires were the most popular. Considering all gemstones become more expensive once they are out of their core range, their per carat price jumps. Core range is a concept defined by Stu- art Robertson as, “a particular gem’s position within that larger group relative to the most commonly traded size.” For example, research of Akoya pearls demonstrates that pricing is most consistent with in the 5.5 to 7.5mm sizes. Akoya pearls that are otherwise comparable are more costly as they deviate from the core range regardless of whether they are smaller or larger. So, when pricing a gem material, one must consider where it fits in regard to the overall market. Traditionally, the price of a gem is expressed “per carat.” Although there is no magic formula to assess the correlation, as the weight of a gem increases so does its per carat price. Of course, this is not absolute. For example, the price per carat of an extra fine quality ruby will increase far more substantially with size than would be the case for amethyst. This is because as...

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