The Tucson Show has come and gone. All the sparkly jewels picked through like packages on Christmas Day. But now, the fun begins. Jewelers get to exhibit the new stock, trends, what will be fun and exciting for the upcoming year. Here are some of the items that should do well on the internet and retail stores alike this year.
One of the newer and popular trends spiking this year is blue moonstone. This stone, belonging to the feldspar family, made a great deal of noise in Tucson. The majority of available material was cabochons with a vibrant blue sheen, semi-transparent, and eye-visible inclusions. This quality comes with an affordable price point and will be great for fashion jewelry in calibrated sizes as well as larger free form pieces for custom jewelry.
This quality has gained some traction with online vendors, which led to its increased popularity at Tucson as well. While this look was most common, there is some premium grade, clean material available as well. However, it carries a much higher price per carat.
Rhodolite garnet’s popularity recently picked up as well, even though it was “Color of the Year” a few years ago. Displaying a nice, purple-red hue and brilliant cutting, this is a great choice for everyday fashion wear. This stone runs the gamut of sizes and shapes with cushions, ovals and rounds being the most popular.
Spinel made a major impact on the show floor, too. The rise in popularity of this stone has been incredible. Once brushed aside and forgotten, to now being a real player in the color game. Its popularity recently surged due to a rise in online presence and should carry over into storefronts.
The most popular color spectrums of spinel consisted of blue-green, lavender, red wine and grey. We noticed an increase in pricing of the blue-green material, but it still remained affordable in comparison to sapphire. The lavender, red wine and grey colors have grown considerably in demand and are an affordable, unique color.
Spinel is a great option for most color stone settings in part because of its hardness (8 on the Mohs scale), top cutting, and being untreated. It does come in a variety of colors, but these three were the most popular.
While we can thank the internet for helping spinel gain some respect, it also keeps pushing traditionally uncommon colors of sapphire. Blue-green sapphires, also called “teal” or “peacock” sapphires, are coming along strong. There is still a decent amount of material available, but given it’s a bi-color stone it will be interesting to see how long this trend is able to be maintained. For now, its extremely popular and worth the look.
The other color in sapphire still popular is “peach.” It is becoming accepted in the industry that customer requests for this color are referring to pastel pink, yellow-orange, or pale “champagne” yellow sapphires, instead of the rarer, more expensive lab-certified padparadscha sapphire, which is a true peach. Due to this wide range of color in “peach”, there are many options available, but they tend to most consistently be in the .50 ct to 1.5 ct range in ovals and rounds.
As far as sapphire pricing goes, these are affordable but tend to be the lighter shades of color. The “peach” sapphire has grown in popularity alongside morganite and as long as morganite popularity continues, so will “peach” sapphires.
In regards to morganite, its popularity remains firmly entrenched. It’s still consistently moving on the internet and remains a popular stone amongst buyers. This has been quite a journey for a stone that few had knowledge of five years ago.
Finally, Ethiopian opals remain on the rise. I personally am a fan of its vibrant play of color. While still relatively new to the market, pricing remains competitive to the material coming out of Australia. If you’re in the market for thicker material with great color and affordable pricing, this is an excellent option in opals.
As we all know, there are bountiful options in color gemstones customers can choose. Many are mainstays that will always have a place, such as blue sapphire, ruby, emerald, aqua, et al., but these are some newer looks from Tucson picking up steam. You should follow these trends for the rest of the year (and hopefully for many more after!) as popularity in color continues to rise.
Konrad Darling is the sales and marketing director for Darling Imports, a color gemstone wholesaler offering genuine and synthetics as well as lapidary services and stone identification. For more information contact Darling Imports at 800-282-8436 or www.darlingimports.com.