Are people influenced by the names of gems? I believe we are. And sometimes we're influenced in a negative way.
Call it poor image, perception, or just plain forgettable, bad-name baggage often travels with some gems… and it's difficult to overcome.
A gem with a name that evokes a mental image of low quality and low prices definitely suffers from an image problem.
is a prime example. The old Bohemian Garnet, popularized a few generations ago, is what many think of when Garnet is mentioned.
The Bohemian Garnet tends to be dark red, with little play of light inside the smallish stones.
Many new gem varieties of beautiful Garnets are now available in the market. And, they are available in an amazing array of colors.
Think of a spectacular sunset. Those are the colors of Garnets. Pinks, purples, reds, oranges, and greens predominate. Several unique varieties of Garnets are available at
suffers from a perception that it's a fake jewelry stone... but it definitely
When a jeweler talks about gem Zircon, customers often hear the words Cubic Zirconia . Customers already know that is a man-made, artificial stone.
Most customers aren't familiar with the natural gem Zircon.
Those who are aware of this gem know it to be a brilliant and lively gem. It is a secret weapon in the battle to wear gorgeous and affordable jewelry.
Several gems have names that are all to forgettable. While it is possible for the natural beauty of a gem to eventually overcome a clumsy name, it takes time and marketing effort.
Examples of gems that have overcome a difficult name are Alexanderite and Tanzanite.
is a unique and VERY expensive gem named for Czar Alexander II.
What makes it unique is… it changes color! The gem appears green in daylight, and red in artificial light.
is named for the country Tanzania, where the gem was discovered.
Even with Tanzanite's fabulous blue-violet color, it's taken 20 years of intense marketing for the gem and jewelry industry to make Tanzanite a name to remember.
Tourmaline is another great gem family with a difficult name. In this case the name comes from an ancient word meaning "mixed precious gems."
To me, that is more understandable than a name meant as a memorial to someone or some location.
All of this brings me to Liddicoatite, my example of a poorly named gem in last month's AZGem Gems.
Liddicoatite is named for a gentleman who greatly advanced the science and professionalism of the gem industry.
Liddicoatite is a beautiful blue variety of Tourmaline, with many good jewelry qualities.
The late Mr Liddicoat is absolutely deserving of the honor of having a beautiful gem named after him. However, jewelers avoid using the name of the gem, and revert to a generic "Blue Tourmaline" label in their marketing and in-store promotions.
The name does nothing to complement or describe the gem.
Tucson Gem Shows
Each year in late January and February the major gem dealers, miners, cutters and associated crafts from all over the world assemble in Tucson, Arizona.
The Tucson Gem Shows offer gem professionals the chance to make new contacts, renew old contacts, exchange news, and of course, buy, sell, and trade into the wee hours.
While there are a few shows open to the public, they are mostly selling fossils, meteorites, and rocks. The major shows are open to members of the trade only.
We'll be there taking delivery of gems previously ordered, renewing contacts from around the world, and generally engaging in the sport of buying, selling, and trading gems.
From what we're hearing, the hot gem will be the recently discovered Exotic Pink Tourmaline currently available at
As always, we'll be making the good deals necessary to bring you true gems at wholesale prices... and even lower.
As we grow, we buy in larger and larger lots, forcing prices down. We then sell at lower and lower prices… and we're all happy.
Gem Show Highlights
Next month we'll give you a glimpse inside the major gem shows. It's truely amazing.
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