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Gem Market Pulse – January 2018

Gem Market Pulse – January 2018
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Garnets, Simply Beautiful

The 2017 holiday shopping season exceeded expectations in dollars spent thus signaling consumer confidence in the current direction of the economy. MasterCard reports that retail sales grew 4.9% this holiday season. Of particular interest is the impressive growth in the jewelry sector, which MasterCard states was up 5.9% over last year. Although solid economic indicators helped push sales, analysts at MasterCard note that retailers who introduced new strategies to attract holiday traffic were the main recipients of this sales growth. According to their December 26, report, other favorites among consumers this season were electronics and appliances which posted 7.9% sales increase and home furniture and furnishings, which rose by 5.1% year over year.

The strength of the holiday shopping season gives cause to be optimistic heading into the trend-setting AGTA Tucson GemFair. This year we expect demand to be focused on a variety of gem materials, with both pastel and bold colors expected to be popular.


Garnet group gemstones are simply beautiful due to their complex and intriguing mineralogical structure. Among the many identified garnet species, less than 10 are considered to be gem garnets.

Market transactions show that larger red garnets are experiencing good demand. Similarly, in the orange category, fine grade mandarin garnets are achieving great popularity and higher per carat prices compared to a decade ago. Saturated yellow hessonites are always sought after. Rarer green garnets such as demantoid and tsavorite are finding solid demand beyond the custom jewelry market. The very vibrant green garnet, tsavorite, is the newest discovery of all garnets. It was first identified in Tanzania in late 1960s. Relative to other gems such as tanzanite, production of tsavorite has been insufficient to cultivate the major investment from manufacturing jewelers needed to make this variety more commercially important. However, this unique garnet variety is certainly not limited to the collectors’ stone category anymore. Also, lighter green grossular garnets are marketed as mint garnets and enjoying a fair amount of interest, especially among designers. Perhaps the most unusual garnets are the color-change ones. This rare member of pyrope-spessartine-almandine series garnet is appreciated by collectors and enthusiasts for its vibrant colors. Although not inexpensive, relative to alexandrite, it is as an affordable alternative.

During the past few years, the market has been delighted by small quantity of saturated bright purple garnets. These gained in popularity with demand exceeding supply. East Africa, mostly Mozambique, Tanzania and Malawi are reported as sources of this exciting material. As expected from the color, testing has confirmed that the specimens are rich in manganese and fall into pyrope-almandine-spessartine series with high pyrope content.

Garnet is a true classic among gems. Known to be used as a gem material for thousands of years, garnets still remain popular due to their availability and affordability compared to rarer colored stones. Time to celebrate this beautiful gem in many colors as it is also the January Birthstone.

The post Gem Market Pulse – January 2018 appeared first on Gemworld International.
Date: 2018-01-10 00:42:10

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