Page 1

THE INDUSTRY AUTHORITY

GONE WEST

TA K E T U C S O N B Y STORM WITH OUR EXPERT ADVICE NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

JCKONLINE.COM

SOLID ROCKS

THE STONES TO S H O P AT G E M W E E K (HINT: THINK TANZANITE)

JCK110118_085_CS_Opener_v4.indd 1

LIVING COLOR

10/31/18 4:33 PM


TIM ROARK INC.

COLORED STONES

from the editor iitor o

OFFERING QUALITY AND VALUE SINCE 1974

Red Carpet earrings with 40.08 cts. t.w. tanzanite, 13.7 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 5.1 cts. t.w. blue sapphires in 18k white gold and titanium; price on request; Chopard; 1-880-CHOPARD; chopard.com/us

C

AGTA GEMFAIR TUCSON

IT’S NO SECRET that gemstones are my favorite jewelry category and have been since 2001, when I attended my first Tucson gem week. I was charmed by the vast, diverse, downright strange selection of stones on display, to say nothing of the roguish mix of characters who descend on the Arizona desert every February. By the time I got home from that trip, schlepping a bag full of sliced agates and a gilded Reclining Buddha statue— purchased from an Afghan rug dealer at the Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show along Interstate 10 and still reclined on my credenza all these years later—I was hooked. The best thing about Tucson gem week is that it keeps evolving, much like its historic and eclectic host city. The addition of JCK Tucson, which opened at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in 2014, finally gave gem hunters a designer-led finished jewelry show to pull the week together. As we look ahead to the 2019 editions of JCK Tucson and the scores of loose-gem shows that run concurrently across town, we’ve assembled some useful info for those of you planning to attend. We start with “Picks & Stones” on page 88, a forecast feature that helps explain tanzanite’s enduring appeal, the hoopla over Ethiopian emeralds, and why bicolor sapphires are suddenly all the rage. On page 92, you’ll find “West Pointers,” a collection of tips for shopping the gem shows culled from our favorite designers, by contributor Amy Elliott. And on page 94, managing editor Melissa Rose Bernardo wraps up this first-ever special section on colored stones with a look at a memorable red-carpet moment starring a killer pair of emerald earrings. Color us obsessed.

BOOTH #1309 FEB. 5-10

ATL ANTA, GA INFO@TRIMPORTSATL.COM

404.872.8937 WWW.TIMROARKINC.COM

Victoria Gomelsky Editor-in-Chief vgomelsky@jckonline.com JCKONLINE.COM

PHOTOGRAPH BY NICHOLAS A. PRAKAS; HAIR AND MAKEUP: CLAUDIA ANDREATTA/HALLEY RESOURCES

olor me excited.


COLORED STONES 88 Pinnacle bracelet with 9 mm tanzanite and 0.44 ct. t.w. diamonds in 14k white gold; $7,250; John Atencio; 720-445-5292; johnatencio.com

PICKS STONES ADD TANZANITE, ETHIOPIAN EMERALDS, AND BICOLOR SAPPHIRES TO YOUR GEM WEEK SHOPPING LIST

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

JCK110118_088_CS_Forecast_v2.indd 1

JCKONLINE.COM

10/31/18 4:39 PM


COLORED STONES 89

Earrings with floral carved tanzanite, diamonds, sapphires, and tsavorite in 18k white and blackened gold; $10,350; Vivaan; 212-3020402; vivaan.us

PURPLE REIGN Since it was discovered in 1968 in the Merelani region of Tanzania, in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, tanzanite has been something of a shape-shifter in the marketplace. Introduced to the world by Tiffany & Co., which christened the stone, the gem was initially touted for its rarity and sought after by the finest designers of the time, including Jean Schlumberger and Donald Claflin. By the late 1980s and ’90s, however, tanzanite had acquired a reputation as a mass-market gem, thanks in large part to the cruise ship industry, which made styles like tanzanite tennis bracelets a staple of the vacationer’s wardrobe. Today, jewelers remain besotted with tanzanite’s range of colors, from intensely hued purple-violet to a pastel-like lavender. And from the most recent Couture Week in Paris to the aisles of JCK Las Vegas, the stone is once again a designer darling. Denver-based John Atencio has used the gem since the late 1980s. He attributes his unwavering commitment to the stone, which he prefers to use in deeply saturated trillions, to “the passion and beauty of the color, the price point, and the scarcity of high-quality tanzanite in the market.” For Lauren Kessler, founder of New York City–based Lauren K Fine Jewelry, tanzanite’s “luxurious and bold” color is why she’s given the gem a permanent place in her collection. “I use JCKONLINE.COM

JCK110118_088_CS_Forecast_v2.indd 2

Aria ring in 18k rose gold with 5.35 ct. tanzanite and diamonds; $21,500; Lauren K; info@laurenk.com; laurenk.com

it in many variations: gemstones, rose cuts, and beads,” Kessler says. “I like the stone in yellow gold and rose gold. I’ve purchased ­unheated, lighter-colored gemstones and fine, deeper-, richer-hued stones as well.” Stuart Robertson, JCK contributor and vice president of Gemworld International in Glenview, Ill., says a major reason tanzanite is finding favor among designers, yet has become less sought after by the industry’s mass marketers, is a complicated supply-side dynamic that stems from the Tanzanian government’s recent efforts to clamp down on production in order to prevent smuggling across the border into Kenya. “They’ve stopped issuing new miner’s permits and broker’s licenses,” he says. “They see it as their national resource and want to see more benefit for their population. So it’s created a real problem. “A decade and a half ago, you used to see lots of manufacturing in tanzanite, but large companies aren’t willing to make huge investments in a stone that has that much instability,” Robertson continues. “And tanzanite has seen a very sporadic price structure in recent years. Right now, you can buy relatively nice stones for a lot less than a decade ago. At wholesale, really nice material goes from $350 to $425 a carat for 5- to 8-carat stones.” For a single-source gem that represents arguably the most ­important color find of the 20th century, that can mean only one thing: You snooze, you lose. — VICTORIA GOMELSKY NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

10/31/18 4:39 PM


COLORED STONES 90 2.27 ct. and 1.87 ct. Malawi bicolor sapphires from Columbia Gem House

Pillar & Stone’s Roland Schluessel (above r.) with a Karo tribal chief in southern Ethiopia; 9.7 ct. Ethiopian emerald from Shakiso

If the 2018 Tucson gem shows were a Hollywood production, the star would surely have been the Ethiopian emerald, the breakout gem of the season. Discovered in 2016, in a deposit in the country’s south-central region about 12 miles south of a town called Shakiso, the emeralds have been praised for their bright-green hue. “They often have a bit less color saturation than the Zambian emeralds, which is not a bad thing because very often the Zambians are oversaturated,” says dealer Roland Schluessel, co-owner of Pillar & Stone in San Francisco. “And when you have a little less color, you have a lot of sparkle. The brilliancy of these emeralds is unusually high.” Opinions differ on how closely the Ethiopians resemble Colombian goods, the standard-bearers in the emerald market. Schluessel, however, is unequivocal: “The look is different,” he says. “The fluorescence in Colombian emerald supercharges its color and adds to its brilliancy. Additionally, Colombian emeralds are found in large sizes; you can have 600-carat stones. But what was missing from the market was this bright material that is not Colombian, with a significantly lower price that can open a new market—and that’s where Ethiopian comes in. It’s half the price of a comparable Colombian emerald. It wholesales between $500 and $10,000 per carat in sizes up to 10 carats. But we also have a 30-carat.” Beyond their bright good looks, Ethiopian gems boast another appealing quality. “Over half of the emeralds do not need oil,” Schluessel says. After Ethiopian emeralds’ coming-out party in Tucson, the attendant buzz jump-started prices in time for JCK Las Vegas. “In Tucson, they seemed to

be trading 10 to 15 percent below Zambian material, but when we saw them in Vegas, they had reached the level of Zambian with some stones going higher,” says Gemworld International’s Stuart Robertson. The hoopla over the East African goods reflects the hype surrounding the emerald market in general, according to Robertson. “When gem prices ran up at the beginning of this decade, ruby and sapphire prices went up insanely; emerald did not,” he says. “There’s still a lot of room for emerald prices to climb before the market gets cautious. We see emerald emerging as a very strong seller in 2019.” —VG

BICOLOR CURIOUS? According to a number of sources—and our own observations—the popularity of bicolor sapphires is on the rise among studio designers and small, ­gallery-format stores that cater to millennials. Eric Braunwart, owner of Columbia Gem House in Vancouver, Wash., a top supplier of bicolor (also known as parti) sapphires, confirms that over the past three years, he and his team have been intentionally cutting the gem to enhance, or call attention to, its inherent bicolor banding or zoning effect. The timing aligns with what designer Jenifer Thai of IO Collective in Los Angeles recalls about her work with the stone. “I first saw a bicolor sapphire in Tucson four years ago, but I actually didn’t work with it until last year,” she says. Braunwart says his company’s current, and growing, bicolor sapphire inventory—mainly specimens from Malawi and Montana—is “a response to a ­market that came to us. We’re cutting bicolor sapphire from lots of locations, and do some heat

­treatment to accentuate, not mask, the weaker color.” The mainstream jewelry industry still largely favors traditional blue sapphires, the majority of which have been heat-treated to make the color appear more uniform and evenly distributed. But Braunwart says the millennial market tends to recast “flaws” as desirable traits, requesting stones that have been cut to highlight, not disguise, inclusions and other natural nuances. Designers find this kind of material appealing because it offers a way to fulfill demands for one-of-a-kind ­jewelry styles that feel authentic, not cookie-cutter. And bicolor sapphire is uniquely appealing because it’s more unusual than, say, ametrine or even bicolor tourmaline. Designer Meredith Young is drawn to the blending of “nature’s watercolors, whereby one color bleeds into the other,” she says. “I just bought a pair of geo-cut bicolor Montana sapphires that are small, but with this type of soft, romantic ombré coloration, size doesn’t matter.” Larger bicolor sapphires are rare and difficult to source. At the most recent American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Awards press preview, attendees were gobsmacked by a 6.78 ct. blue-green beauty— unheated and untreated—from Madagascar in a platinum ring by Southern California–based Lindsay Jane Designs that won a Women’s Jewelry Association Gem Diva Award and Classical-Manufacturing Honors. If untreated material is your top priority, African and Australian bicolor sapphires require little “assistance” beyond a spectacular cut, dealers say. Also look for lavender-pink bicolor sapphires from Vietnam. “When you add heat to lavender it usually goes blue or pink,” Braunwart says. “So a stone that retains that lavender color is very uncommon.” —AMY ELLIOTT

MALAWI BICOLOR SAPPHIRES: DILLON SPRAGUE FOR COLUMBIA GEM HOUSE

EMERALD CITY

Ring with 6.78 ct. bicolor Madagascar sapphire, diamonds, and white sapphires in platinum; price on request; Lindsay Jane Designs; lj@lindsayjanedesigns. com; lindsayjanedesigns.com

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

JCK110118_088_CS_Forecast_v2.indd 3

10/31/18 4:39 PM


Gemstones from all across the world

BGK Graphics

S.P.B CREATIONS / S.P.B. GEMS

212-719-5170 • 888-SPB-GEMS • email:info@spbgems.com • www.spbgems.com


COLORED STONES 92

WEST POINTERS

I

DESIGNERS AND INDUSTRY VETERANS TELL US HOW TO DO TUCSON RIGHT

1. STAY FOCUSED

By Amy Elliott

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

JCK110118_092_CS_TucsonTips.indd 1

N EARLY FEBRUARY, when the world’s gem merchants descend on Tucson to attend some, if not all, of the 47 gem shows taking place concurrently around the Sonoran Desert town (including JCK Tucson, gem week’s lone designer-led finished j­ewelry show), leaving “no stone unturned” is a noble goal. But you’re ­likely to end your gem hunt e­ xhausted, bewildered, and potentially broke. A better plan? Follow these tips from industry pros who routinely shop this vast terrain with confidence, efficiency, and absolutely zero regrets.

Gemmy stacking rings in brushed 18k gold with diamonds and bezel-set red spinel, rubellite, spessartite, tsavorite, aquamarine, and sapphire; $3,410– $4,950; Suzy Landa; sales@suzylanda. com; suzylanda newyork.com

Set a budget, work from a shopping list, and stick to it as best you can. “Jumping in headfirst on trending stones can be risky,” notes Rachel Chalchinsky, executive vice president of Color Source Gems, a New York City–based stone dealer that also sells finished jewelry. And don’t worry about what everyone else is buying—FOMO shouldn’t be your M.O. Take it from NYC–based designer Suzy Landa, who has exhibited her jewelry at JCK Tucson and also spends time walking the gem shows. “I see loads of fellow designers hurrying down the aisles of the shows, and trying to buy ­privately,” she says. “Many seem overly concerned with potential competition for the ‘it’ stone, but that never crosses my mind. The endless supply of gems in Tucson offers ­plenty for everyone.”

18k gold Georgian bezel boulder opal with white diamonds, emerald detail, and 18k gold chain; $6,900; Brooke Gregson; 310-745-9659; brookegregson.com

2. FIND THE RIGHT SHOWS AND PROS

That Tucson gem show guide ­available at the airport and in the ­hotels? Use it to determine the shows you want to hit. But avoid ­spending an entire day (and possibly blowing your entire budget) at one venue. “I usually visit about four to five shows total, but do most of my buying in only two venues,” says Los Angeles– and London-based designer Brooke Gregson, who also exhibits at JCK Tucson. Most designers have a network of suppliers they regularly do business with, but if you don’t, personal recommendations and introductions from your peers are invaluable. Instagram is also a great place to discover potential partners. Just do your due diligence as far as checking references to assess the quality of dealers’ product and the fairness of their pricing. “I’ve found that I gravitate to a very small group of random dealers who tend to specialize in a certain stone, are as picky about quality as I am, presume I’m at least somewhat educated about the stones, and don’t give me the subsequent hard sell,” Landa says. “And they don’t mind if I spend far too much time with tweezers in hand matching sets of stones.” JCKONLINE.COM

10/31/18 4:50 PM


REAL LOGISTICS

18k yellow gold emerald and Mexican fire opal drop earrings with diamond wires; $14,685; Lauren K; info@laurenk.com; laurenk.com

3. EXPLORE UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY

Seasoned Tucson gem hunters never close the door on buying from new suppliers. “For me, the pure joy of Tucson is the new material and stones that I find,” says designer Lauren Kessler of Lauren K Fine Jewelry in New York City. “I love when something catches my eye that I haven’t seen before.” Consider shopping the smaller, random gem shows that pepper Tucson in addition to the ones that draw the biggest crowds. Dealers that come a great distance—from, say, Australia or Brazil—need to maximize their time in the United States. So they prefer to sell for a longer period of time (two weeks or more) versus exhibiting at a single four- to six-day show. That means setting up shop at the smaller, lowkey, and often lesser-known venues. “The bonus for shoppers like me is an uninterrupted first look at the selection before it’s been picked over, and likely at far better prices,” Landa says. Just be willing to plow through a lot of junk. Finding the treasure can be a bit like combing the stalls of a flea market, but well worth it if you’re up for the extra effort required. JCKONLINE.COM

JCK110118_092_CS_TucsonTips.indd 2

4. PUSH YOURSELF

If you’re buying at the highest level and come across an exceptional, beautiful stone that’s priced a little out of your comfort zone, go for it anyway. “I’ve had beautiful stones that took a while to sell, but I never regretted buying them because I could stand behind them knowing that they’re special,” says longtime Tucson gem buyer Walter McTeigue, co-owner of McTeigue & McClelland in Great Barrington, Mass. Meanwhile, McTeigue can recall plenty of stones he’s passed on, including an 8 ct. cushion-cut sapphire he thinks about more than 30 years later. “I went back to the dealer’s office the next day, and it was sold,” he says. “It still kind of haunts me.”

5. TRUST YOUR GUT

Don’t buy based on a stone’s grading scale. “Confidence in your gut when gem buying goes a long way,” Gregson says. The ability to act quickly and decisively will serve you well because you’ll waste little time ­worrying that there’s something better at the next booth. The only drawback? “If I love a stone, I generally buy it,” Kessler says. “No matter what my budget is going into Tucson, I am well over it by the end of day one.”

Heed these reminders for the best Tucson gem week experience:

Pomegranate bracelet in 18k yellow gold with 150 cts. t.w. red spinel beads, 2.73 cts. t.w. light brown diamonds, and red enamel; price on request; McTeigue & McClelland; 800-956-2826; mc2jewels.com

• Allow a minimum of three days; five is ideal. • Stay as close to the shows as possible and reserve early—hotels book up way in advance. • Register before you get to the show to avoid waiting in line. • Bring cash or checks. Some international vendors don’t take credit cards. • Don’t forget your loupe. • Hydrate often—remember, you’re in the desert!

SHOW UP! Our experts recommend the following Tucson gem shows: Earrings with Mexican-opal-inmatrix and diamonds in 14k yellow gold; $6,200; M. Spalten; mspalten@mspalten. com; mspalten.com

6. WAIT—THEN POUNCE If you’re looking for bargains, there’s no way to know exactly where they’re hiding because it changes every year. But designers agree that no matter the show, the best deals occur at the end—as in last day, last few hours. That’s been the experience of Los Angeles–based designer Melissa Spalten. “Some dealers will be packing up already,” she says, “but many are ready and willing to bargain away inventory rather than send it back home.”

• JCK Tucson at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa (tucson. jckonline.com) • American Gem Trade Association GemFair at the Tucson Convention Center (agta.org) • GJX Show, aka “The Tent,” at 198 S. Granada Ave. (gjxusa.com) • Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show at the Ramada Tucson Conference Center (pueblogemshow.com) • Kino Gem & Mineral Show at the Kino Sports Complex (as-shows.com/ kino-gem-show) • Gem & Lapidary Wholesalers Show at the Holidome (glwshows.com) • JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry Show at the Tucson Expo Center (jogsshow.com) NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

10/31/18 4:50 PM


COLORED STONES 94

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018

the industry authority

GREEN PLEASE

Everyone from Hollywood’s A-list to British royalty is obsessed with emeralds. Hey, we can’t blame them! BY MELISSA ROSE BERNARDO

Dakota Fanning at the 2018 Emmys in Dior and Lorraine Schwartz

RED CARPET REPORT EVER SINCE ANGELINA Jolie swanned onto the red carpet at the Oscars in 2009 in 115 ct. Lorraine Schwartz emerald earrings (worth a reported $2.5 million), ­Hollywood has had a love affair with the green gem. But it’s gotten super-steamy lately. In the past year alone we’ve seen Dakota Fanning go green at the Emmys; Cardi B dripping in 200 cts. of Colombian emeralds at the VMAs; Katrina Lenk (The Band’s Visit) in pear-shape emerald earrings at the Tony Awards; Octavia Spencer in deep-green emerald and

­ iamond earrings at the Oscars; and Debra Messing, Catherine d Zeta-Jones, Issa Rae, and Zoë Kravitz accessorizing their allblack ensembles with green gems at the Golden Globes. Not coincidentally: All those aforementioned emerald dazzlers were designed by green queen Lorraine Schwartz. But our admiration of emeralds extends far beyond the red carpet… and across the Atlantic. It’s no coincidence that everyone went gaga over Princess Eugenie’s wedding-day tiara. At its center: a 93.7 ct. emerald. —MELISSA ROSE BERNARDO

STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE

A C L O S E - U P L O O K AT T H E C R O S S R O A D S O F J E W E L R Y A N D FA S H I O N

JCKONLINE.COM

JCK110118_094_CS_Runway.indd 1

10/31/18 4:52 PM

Profile for JCK Magazine

2018 Colored Stones Special Section  

2018 Colored Stones Special Section

2018 Colored Stones Special Section  

2018 Colored Stones Special Section