Tucson Gem Show Review 2019 - Moriartys Gem Art

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  • Tucson Gem Show Review 2019

    by Jeff Moriarty February 25, 2019

    Steve Moriarty reviews his finds at the Tucson Gem Show 2019


    Hi, I'm Steve Moriarty from Moriarty's Gem Art. We're a jeweler on the square in Crown Point and we also represent ourselves as moregems.com online. Today we're here to discuss a recent trip we've had. We spent two weeks in Tucson at the world's largest gem show. It's not really a gem show, it's 50 gem shows. It keeps expanding bigger and bigger.

    There's beads, there's fossils, there's gems, mineral specimens, anything to do with minerals and gems you'll find that these shows. Not only do you have the 50 shows, but there's also many people come in from overseas that are selling to the vendors at these shows. And these are primarily our target, is to get together with people I've known from countries from Tanzania, Nigeria, Brazil, Thailand. We meet with these people before the shows and hopefully get first pick of what they've had and we've had a really successful trip this time.

    So we're going to show you some of the highlights of what we bought. And to start with, probably our biggest purchase was in tanzanite. Tanzanite is a situation right now where the mines are walled off. They put a wall around the entire mines, 24 kilometer wall around it. And they're attempting to stop all the illegal exports, which has been the primary business in tanzanite because most of the material has left the tanzanite mines has not been taxed and has gone into Kenya and from there gone into India.

    And that's been the primary supply for me and most people in the world for Tanzanite. So the Tanzanian government is trying to stop that so they can collect the tax. And if they're successful, it probably is going to disrupt the tanzanite market. So I spent a great deal of my finances in Tanzanite and I think it was a wise purchase. We bought many stones. If you look at these, here's some, just a group of matched pairs primarily. We sell a lot of earrings in Tanzanite and I bought not only these matched pairs, but some larger stones up to 20 carats.

    This is a beautiful square cushion, Tanzanite. This particular stone 19 carat 23 is the weight on that and really top, top color. Very difficult to get material like this. I say that, but often these small fine stones and match pairs are even more difficult than the big stones at times. So we got a lot of tanzanite to show, we have parcels of it. Here's just some, these are a nine millimeter trillions. And we have a lot of trillions.

    We had lucks getting emerald cuts and the antique cushions, which are often difficult to find. So we have a really good supply of tanzanite. The other thing we did work on was getting matched pairs of other colored gems. So here's a wide variety of stones, including some Rwanda amethyst. These are Mahenge garnet. Mahenge garnet, we spent a lot of money on Mahenges primarily because they're no longer being mined.

    What they're currently mining is Mahenge spinel, and they closed up the mining for the garnets in favor of the spinel. The spinel brings much bigger money. It's a more important stone for Tanzania. So they've stopped all the Mahenge mining to just work on finding the Mahenge spinels. Some of the other Mahenge garnets, the Mahenges were important for the last several years because they came in colors that just haven't been available.

    Many of the colors out of Mahenge did not exist before Mahenge. This is a beautiful peach color reminiscent of Malaia garnet in its finest qualities, but still a little bit lighter in color. And the big advantage to that is they show incredible brilliance in these lighter colors. Garnets typically can be overly dark, but these are nice light colors and the brilliance shows because of that. Much like a diamond, the light colors show much better brilliance than what you see in darker colors.

    So that's a nice pear shape and just really a beautiful color. Let's see what else is ... That's sunstone. Another thing that we got were really nice chrome tourmalines. Chrome tourmalines I don't typically cut that and that's primarily because they never come out like you expect it. I've got many friends that cut and we all feel the same about chrome tourmalines. They typically cut overly dark. Inclusions show up that you really could not see in the piece.

    So I did manage to buy some nice cut chrome tourmalines, which I don't typically have. That's a nice round stone, a little bit lighter color, and here's a nice rich deep green chrome. They're called chrome mainly because they're colored by chromium. Chromium not only colors this stone, it colors emeralds and it also colors rubines. So those are chrome tourmalines.

    Another tourmaline that we managed to get that we don't typically have, this came from a Brazilian supplier. These are bicolor tourmalines and what makes this difficult to get and quite rare is it's clarity. It is a totally clean stone. These are typically full of inclusions, just so rare that you ever see them that are completely clean.

    There was a time back in the 90s that this material was common, but it totally disappeared from Brazil. I can't say totally because here's a stone, but almost totally disappeared and just very, very difficult to get these bicolor tourmalines, particularly clean stones and particularly with a good pink color. Typically that color, that secondary pink color is more brownish. And this is another of the bicolors. Can you see that, Mike? You need a background. That better?

    So these bicolors are in two to three carats sizes, just a nice size to make a nice ring out of. These long shapes will make a really unique ring. You don't have to do a lock to it to make it look different. I got some very unusual sapphires. This particular stone is a color changing sapphire. You need a white background. This one, much like tanzanite, is blue in some lights and purple in other lights.

    So in all my travels to Madagascar, one thing I could always get there was a really nice aquas, and that's the case with these. This was someone that came in from Madagascar, he's actually a French gentleman, but lives in Madagascar and came up with these aquas and just really a beautiful color. You know, often aqua has secondary grays, look more silverish. But these are just a beautiful blue color. And I actually was able to get a trio of these stones so it actually makes a full set.

    Just really nice brilliance. I like aquas that are pear shape is by far my favorite shape for aqua. It just shows the color real well and, and the color really concentrates at the tip of the stones. It just gives it a really cool look and they mount up really nicely. So this would make a great pendant and earrings set.

    And this back to some of the garnets out of Tanzania. This is also from Mahenge. And the beauty of this stone again, is it's lighter color. Typically rhodalite are more in this deeper color range, which these are very, very nice stones and typically they're even darker than this. But this color in comparison, just very, very light. And again, the advantage is it shows the great brilliance that garnet can have.

    It's a nice large stone. This is six and a half carat, which garnet like diamond, they don't come in big sizes. And again, the bigger sizes are typically overly dark, but these are just a great color. Those are from Mahenge in Tanzania. Here's another of the Mahenge spinels, which are just a great color. They're just really intense pink. It's hard to find sapphire this color.

    They're closely related to sapphire, often coming from the same holes. Where you find sapphire typically you find spinel, but I don't think it's the case with Mahenge. I don't know of sapphire coming from there, just mainly spinel, but it is one of the world's finest sources for pink spinels and reds.

    Here's one of the now famous Rwanda amethyst. Rwanda's important source because of its strong pleochromism. It shows a blues and violets in the same stone. Different lights will show these different colors and they're just a very deep, rich color, probably some of the finest ever to come out of the ground came out of Rwanda.

    Now, something we've been really trying to get for the last several years are sphenes. This year, sphene was very difficult. Our primary supplier had almost no material, but we did manage to get a few stones. This one most notable. Sphene, the thing that makes it special is the dispersion. They have incredible dispersion. The only stone that beats this for dispersion is [inaudible 00:12:43] but a stone like this just shows so much dispersion that I can't imagine that area's a more dispersive gem on the planet.

    Just the beautiful color. This one comes from Madagascar. Madagascar has produced for quite a few years. The last time I was there in 2008, I got some very nice big stones. But since then, it's been very limited production. And this year like I say, the material out of Madagascar has been very short supply. As often happens in this business, once one supply drops off, we get a new supply.

    This is a sphene that comes from Zimbabwe. So the big difference is the color. It's a much more desirable green color. It doesn't have quite as much dispersion but still has excellent dispersion. This is a beautiful round stone. I'm not sure what this one weighs. This is over four carat. Four carat 19 in this stone and just extreme brilliance and nice dispersion, again.

    This is a stone I don't typically have. This is a pink topaz. This comes from Brazil. I've been to this mining area. We traveled this area for a full day, never did find the mines, and found out that early in the trip, as soon as we turned off the road, we passed the mines and then searched another six hours for the mines not realizing that it was so quick ... As soon as we turned off the main road, it was right there and we drove another 90 miles on difficult roads and six hours into the night and just passed by the mines.

    So we never did find the mines. But this comes from a mine in Brazil. They produce imperial topaz and occasionally these pinks, which are quite rare. We did get some more aqua. These particular stones come from Nigeria, not Madagascar, but still a beautiful color. Nigeria is probably my second favorite place for aquamarine after Madagascar, this nice square cushion and really a nice intense color.

    And back to one of my favorite gems, my most sellable gem, this is the first tanzanite that I've cut from the new material. This is a three carat 85 and a bearing style emerald cut. This came from material that came out of a larger natural crystal because at the time that this was brought out of the country, natural crystals were legal to export. And this was a piece that my supplier broke about 10 pieces out of one crystal, just working between the fracture lines and got some really nice quality stones out of one single crystal.

    Here's a yellow sapphire. This is one of the bigger yellows I've ever had. This weighs four carat 21, comes from Sri Lanka, and it's just a nice yellow color, which mostly they're golden or orange. This is just a good, pure yellow color and a nice round brilliant. And I bought a few cut sunstones.

    Recently, we took a trip to Oregon, me and my sons, Michael and Jeff and brother-in-law Mike. This is not one we got from there, but it is the typical orange sunstone that comes from sunstone Butte. This particular cutter that I work with does get this material from the same place I get it, and just a nice orange sunstone.

    Now for some phenomenal stones, phenomenal meaning they show a trait like stars, and in this case, it's a cat's eye. This is Cat's Eye selenite, good hardness, six and a half to seven in hardness, and just a really good eye. I don't know if you can see the milk and honey effect, meaning it looks milky on one side and more like honey on the other. Typically we would see this in Cat's Eye chrysoberyl, a much more expensive stone, but this has a beautiful eye.

    These eyes are caused by inclusions that run the opposite way. There'll be little tubes that run through this, that run across the stone, and those reflect this Cat's Eye. So here's the material that I have just limited dealings with recently. This is ammolite, comes from a fossil ammonite, really beautiful colors. It's the rare color, and this is the violets that you see. Now I say I haven't dealt with it for awhile, but back in the early eighties, I repped the largest company that mines, which was called Corite.

    So while I was on the road, I did rep this company and sold ammonite to other jewelers. But these are really beautiful pieces. They're nice clean surfaces. Here's another piece, and we got three pieces of this. Kind of unique shapes and really intense colors, more intense than you'd get in anything else like opals. This is caused by material called aragonite, which is the same material that gives us the color we see in pearls.

    So the next stone we have here is a type of quartz, it's called dendritic quartz. Kind of gives you a unique look kind of like, I don't know what it's like. It's dendritic, meaning tree-like. We did buy some zircon. Zircon was fairly available so we did get a few stones. We have a very good stock of Zircon, so I didn't buy many, but this is a nice unique shape, really deep color, that greenish blue that we expect from a fine blue zircon from Cambodia, now known as Kampuchea.

    You know, this video may not show these stones in their full beauty, but as we put them online, we'll get good videos of them and pictures to represent better the beauty that you'll see in these stones. This is some of the nicest morganite that I've managed to find. Again, one of my favorites, pear shapes. They just show that nice intense color at the tips and show very good brilliance in this cut.

    Because this, like the aquas, being barrel, they don't have a real high refractive index, so you really have to do a good cutting job on them to get the beauty to show in a low refractive index material. These morganites come from Nigeria, although these actually are from Mozambique. Nigeria is the other producing country for morganites. Morganite was named after JP Morgan, the financier. It was named by Tiffany and Company after him because he supplied, he was a very good customer for Tiffany and Company.

    Tsavorites, we did manage to get to several really nice tsavorites. Tsavorite is a green grossular garnet. This particular material comes from Tanzania, although they come both from Kenya and Tanzania. This material was originally discovered by Campbell Bridges. I knew Campbell for many years and unfortunately, he recently was killed by other miners while mining tsavorite in Tanzania.

    Another phenomenal stone, this is Cat's Eye moonstone. This particular material comes from Sri Lanka. Again, a very distinct sharp eye in it. They do show milk and honey effect. Again, the milky side and the other side is the honey. Though it's really just kind of transparent in this case. But milk and honey effect is what you'll see.

    Here's one other really, really fine sapphire. This is just an intense pink. It's really a fuschia color. You know, most of the pinks I get are lighter pink from Madagascar, but this is just a really intense color. And that particular style weighs just over a carat, carat 29. And the other things that we did buy were some of these sterling silver pendants that are kind of unique pieces. These are made for us in India. They're very reasonably priced. This is a kind of a quartz flower.

    And we've got some rainbow moonstone, rainbow moonstone called that just because moonstone typically has a blue billowy effect. This has much more colors of the rainbow. And this is another of the feldspars. This is called spectral light spectrolite. Spectrolite, similar to labradorite, although spectrolite shows much more variation in color. Kind of like the rainbow moonstone, you have more colors showing in it. Where labradorite is just blue, spectrolite has more of the rainbow colors.

    And this is charoite, comes from Russia, a really pretty stone with highly reflective fibers in the purple color. And then this is a kind of a geode quartz pendant. These are all nicely set in sterling silver. So we've got quite a few of those and some of the future pieces we have.

    Well here's a kind of a unique meteorite. These are called pallasite. It's a meteorite that has within it, has peridot. These formed within the meteorite and this is a much rarer form of meteorite and brings a little more money than most of the meteorites that we deal in. Kind of a unique piece and I believe this also comes from Russia.

    Some of the future stones that were going to have, this is a Malaia garnet and really unique color. But what's important about this stone is its sheer size. This weighs 30 some carats. It's probably going to cut somewhere between 10 and 12 carats, which for this material, is a very large stone, just really a brownish peachy color. There's a large peridot. This piece comes from Pakistan, which has produced the finest colors of any peridot on the planet. This would be a nice big stone.

    This is something I haven't cut for a while. These are iolites. Little bit like the color of tanzanite. Tanzanite has something a little special that these don't have, but these have a much better price than tanzanite does and they'll produce a nice blue color. Won't show the purple like tanzanite does. And this is a monster tanzanite. This is a piece of rough that weighs over 100 carats. Should cut somewhere between 40, 45 carats. So this is something to look forward to cutting.

    This is a variety of tourmalines. These three pieces come from Congo. This is a Brazilian indicolite. This piece actually looks much like Nigerian. Supposedly it's from Congo, but you can kind of see what the color is. And this is a really special piece. This is a big piece of crystal opal. Typically, this material does not hold up and will fracture, but my supplier has guaranteed me that this is going to hold up to cutting. So we'll see in the next few weeks just what happens with this.

    But it's gonna kind of big stone somewhere 60, 70 carat. It's going to be faceted. So the colors that are in it hopefully will reflect throughout it and it should be a really unique piece. And then here's a piece. I've cut a quartz that weighed 572 carats. So this hopefully will be it's big brother and should be somewhere maybe in the 1,000 carat range. Hopefully my equipment is big enough to do it. But the last one cut a real nice stone and you can see it on our YouTube video on how to cut quartz, I think. So we look forward to having a 1,000 carat piece out of this big piece of quartz.

    And that's kind of an overview of what we bought. We have many, many more stones in the near future that you'll see online. And I'm Steve Moriarty from Moriarty's Gem Art. More gems online and keep a lookout for the videos that will be online as we put these stones on our website. The websites are moregems.com and tanzanitejewelrydesigns.com. Come shop us on the square in Crown Point. Again, it's Moriarty's Gem Art. And I want to thank you for watching and we'll hope to see you soon.

    Jeff Moriarty
    Jeff Moriarty

    Jeff Moriarty has been in the jewelry industry for almost 20 years. His family now only owns a retail jewelry store in Crown Point, Indiana, but he also travels the world with his father in search of rare gemstones.

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