June 1-2—SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: Show and sale; Pacific Crystal Guild; San Francisco County Fair Building
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 Post subject: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2023 11:31 pm 
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I know the show is ongoing but a lot of people habe already headed home. I got covid so I'm stuck in the room rather than selling so I have time to post.
I thought it would be good to have a thread for people to share their 2023 experiences.

What I saw and heard from everyone else was that prices are up and selection is down. As always there are deals here and there if you dig but it's a lot more digging for much less result.
Facet rough in particular is tough. If it isn't quartz, topaz, scapolite or similar it's gotten largely untouchable.
There didn't seem to be anything super new and exciting. Thr clostest is the chalcedony grom indonesia with spots of chrysocolla and/or native copper dendrites. I found some crystals of zimbabwean emerald, a locale I wasn't aware of, with exceptional color though certainly not facetable.
Selling for the first time has been a really different experience. I have no basis for comparison (only our second trade show as sellers) but it has gone well so far and been a lot of fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2023 9:36 am 
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So sorry to hear that you are sick. Hopefully you'll get better soon.

I wish I could have gone this year but we had a lot of things happening in our family here so I ended up not making it. Hopefully next year I'll be able to drop by and check out everyone's stock. Best of luck and thanks for your observations. Hope to see you at next year's show.

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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2023 12:15 pm 
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Get well quickly Stephen!


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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2023 8:33 pm 
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Thanks, I am fine. I got boosted right before we left and my symptoms are already gone.

I forgot to tell my best tucson story!
A guy came up to my booth looking for big stones. We talked for a bit and he brought up a 1200 ct amethyst he'd seen at agta, and wondered if it might be lab created. I had never seen a faceted amethyst that size, nor rough to cut one, lab or natural. If I were to see a natural one I'd expect a deep native oval cut and visible zoning. Instead he showed a video of a very well cut rectangular stone with a rich, even pink-purple color.
Image
As he turned it in the video I noticed something else off--when he turned it sideways there was a flash of green.
I said hey! I don't think it's amethyst! Let's grab the raman, run down there right now and have a look. We rushed over, I put on my dad's badge rather than waiting in line for mine and then we slowed down and played it cool walking up to the booth. In the hand the green cross axis was more obvious and the raman immediately comfirmed it wasn't quartz, but in fact spodumene. He bought the stone, which they said was from a collector without any further provenance. It all clicked into place. No living collector would ever mistake amethyst for kunzite, and this was obviously a very special piece. They must have bought out an estate for pennies on the dollar and decided to flip it without barely even looking at it. The stone is very well cut as well, great polish and meets, deep but not quite windowed for high yield and color. This suggested to me an American cut. Combined with the size I also guessed it might be from Oceanview, maybe from the Big Kahuna pocket in 2010 (which I knew from this amazing writeup). The new owner has since showed it to someone who has worked with Oceanview material who agreed it was likely. I figure a stone this large is notable enough that someone will eventually recognize it if they keep asking around.
Anyway that was my big adventure of the show. I got to help a nice deal happen and handle a huge stunner of a gem.

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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2023 2:32 pm 
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No kidding. That's a once in a lifetime story!


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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2023 4:30 am 
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Hello, Did anyone hear any talk on why prices are up, especially for stones like unheated sapphire/alexandrite?


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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2023 3:50 pm 
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Like Stephen, I too came back from Tucson with more than I arrived with. Luckly I have been taking my "crazy town misinformation" supplements of Vitamin D3, C and a few others. So I had what were very mild cold symptoms for a 2 and half days. Had I not taken a test, I would have thought I had just caught a mild cold.

Stephen and his brother have some really cool materials, things you don't see often.

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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2023 11:07 pm 
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rock lobstah wrote:
Hello, Did anyone hear any talk on why prices are up, especially for stones like unheated sapphire/alexandrite?


Prices are up for nearly all fine quality stones due to high demand and low production.


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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2023 2:35 pm 
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My story is similar to Stephen's. I found a box of blue stones at a store and managed to get them cheap. Real cheap it seems, as they turned out to be cut Yogo's.
Prices were mostly very high. I wonder if those who used to sell cheap facet rough are going vertical - getting them cut themselves and selling the results. I did get three sapphires that were very poorly cut and will probably have them recut, once Stephen assures me they are natural. Also found really cheap and nice charoite (KINO), some nice aquamarine crystals, some sphene (again $10/carat) - same guy as the last time I went. Some green amber (I am told from South America) - very nice. a couple liddicoatites (one crystal, once slice). a bunch or rutilated quartz crystals, which are very pretty, some jewelry for gifts and such. I will be going through things today and if I find anything notable, I will add to the note.


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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2023 9:42 pm 
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Misidentified stones are fairly common, even at events with pros. My best recent stories are.

A well known cutter who was displaying at Tucson bought a parcel of Kornerupine which she had hand selected from a larger lot. When I looked through it I knew that some were not Kornerupine. A few were tourmaline. But one large one had a different texture to my eye. I tested it on Raman and sure enough it was a very nice, large, Meralani Mint Garnet. She was pleased with this discovery. In fact one guy who saw this went back to the vendor selling the Kornerupine parcel and managed to find a couple more garnets mixed in.

In another case just before Tucson there was a stone mixed into a parcel of Amethyst. It was a lovely shade of purple but had a different luster than one would expect from an Amethyst. When I tested it the Rama said it was a tourmaline, so I tested it on my digital spectroscope and sure enough it was a 13 carat cushion cut very fine, clean, Paraiba type Tourmaline. An $0.88 cost stone worth more than $25,000. Now that is a lucky find.

I spent many hours in Tucson this year testing Tourmalines for Copper. Many, many stones being offered as Paraiba rough was just normal Tourmaline. Buyer beware!

Gemology is such fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Tucson 2023 in retrospect
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2023 12:37 pm 
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These days I go to Tucson primarily to observe and to encourage professional development for my staff who attend. I also had a tight budget this year as we just closed on an investment property, so my purchases were minimal and really just for fun.

Like others, I noticed that prices were quite high and new/interesting material was hard to find. That being said, I came across a few dealers on the mineral side at kino who were practically giving away hand sized specimens. I filled my bag with $5 pieces that are now decorating the back counter of my office :)

I also saw more faceted Hyalite Opal than ever before and was happy to finally add one to my collection at a reasonable price.

The GO dinner was great as usual and I have to say that while I am not a fan of El Charro in general, the smaller table upstairs made it much nicer and easier to talk to everyone.

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