2018 Tucson Gem Shows Recap

Tucson Gem Shows - Multi-colored stone
Source: Author’s Own

The jewelry and gem industry descended on Tucson, Arizona this year as it does the first week of February every year since 1981. There were 47 separate shows in 2018 as a part of the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. Nearly 50,000 people visit the Tucson Gem Shows over the two weeks.

Why Jewelers Attend the Tucson Gem Shows

Jewelers can find everything from rare diamonds to boxes made of petrified wood. Dealers specialize in loose stones, jewelry, African art, beads, polished stones, minerals, fossils, and gifts. The shows also provide a great way for the trade to meet and network.

Tucson Gem Shows - uncut diamond
Source: Author’s Own

New jewels are always being discovered and they are often first offered at the Tucson Gem Shows. This year, Borro Blog’s representative discovered new stones and designers from around the world. While Borro doesn’t lend on these stones until they are cut and polished, it is important for jewelry specialists to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry.

Gem Market Trends

Prices are strong in the top level of the gem market, but bargains could be had at the middle and lower end of the market. Emeralds from Ethiopia were the hot item. They are very clean and saturated with the strong emerald color associated with the finest Colombian emerald but 20-30% less expensive. Ruby stock was plentiful, and prices were strong. Blue sapphire was also abundant, but picking the right color is key. Jewelers are looking for medium blue as the darker materials don’t look as good in jewelry.

Jewelry Trends

There’s a surge in nontraditional colored stones as jewelers and their customers look for ways to differentiate products and choices. Gone are the days of everyone wanting to wear the same thing. Today’s consumer wants their jewelry to be unique and the jeweler better know the story behind it. Sources of stones are being judged by how they are mined. Metals should have a clear history of recycled or fair trade and safe mining techniques.

Small jewelry like tiny stacking rings and tiny charms, bracelets and necklaces are also a current trend. Meanwhile, jewelers are noticing that women are self-purchasing.

Borro is keeping an eye on the trends that have emerged from the Tucson Gem Shows and is excited to see how they impact the secondary market and therefore, the jewelry Borro lends on.


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About the Author:

Sara wrote about jewelry trends for Borro Private Finance.