AZGem Gems
July, 2005

The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company
and other visitors to the website who subscribe.


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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.


Semi Precious Gem Stone


Semi precious gem stone... what exactly is it? How precious is precious, and at what point does it become only semi precious?

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines precious as:

1 : of great value or high price
2 : highly esteemed or cherished

Many jewelers (and even a few gem stone dealers) tend to define a semi precious gem stone by that first definition.

In their world only a diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald are precious. All other gems are "only semi precious."

Some other jewelers will expand their view of the precious gems category to include tanzanite and tsavorite. Again, this is based on price.

I much prefer the second of Webster's definitions. By this definition all gems are precious.

A gem stone is generally (and loosely) defined within the industry as...

A stone that is rare, beautiful, and durable.

Most gem dealers never use the terms semi precious gem stone or precious gem stone.

Diamond dealers usually specialize in the diamond field, and only occasionally buy or sell a  colored gem.

Colored gem stone dealers deal primarily in the other gems, collectively known as, you guessed it... colored gem stones.

So we tend to think and operate in terms of diamonds and colored gem stones, rather than precious and semi precious gems.

Some gem dealers specialize within the broad colored stone field. A specific dealer may trade only in sapphire, ruby, and emerald. Others may specialize in tanzanite, or amethyst, or pearls, or another gem.

And just to throw in another wrinkle... not all colored stones are stones. Pearls, amber, and a few other colored gem stones are organic.

When you think of gem stones by Webster's second definition, that is  as highly esteemed or cherished items, all gem stones are precious.

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Industry News...


Below is a press release from the International Colored Gemstone Association...

New Corundum Discoveries Reported in Madagascar

New York, July 27, 2005

ICA Ambassador to Madagascar, Tom Cushman, reports that Madagascar is once again the site of new corundum discoveries. Word has been out on a discovery of a new source for a very rich color pink sapphire since last December and now Cushman reports that a new ruby discovery was found in the Andilamena mining district.

Andilamena has produced ruby since 2000 and is most recently famous for the “ruby star” material so often being lead glass filled. For the first two years the Andilamena rubies were mined from the riverbed and adjacent banks. In late 2003/early 2004 shaft mining reached the level of the primary deposit of the “ruby star”. The March find was the primary deposit of another type of ruby being found in Andilamena. This ruby is usually small, dark red, well-formed, hexagonal platelets. “This deposit contains much more gem quality material than the “ruby star” and should be appearing in quantity in the marketplace right about now”, stated Cushman.

Another new corundum find about 100 km south of Mahajunga was recently reported, however, its quality and quantity were not appraised at the time of this report. ICA member Vincent Pardieu, director of the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences Laboratory in Bangkok, and member of the ICA Communications Committee, is currently in the field in Madagascar visiting the new finds and studying the gem material found. He has plans to publish his findings when he returns from his tour of Madagascar and other mining areas in Africa.

Cushman reports that Ilakaka/Sakaraha is still producing in quantity but the industry has matured a great deal since the big rush a few years ago. Reports from the Service des Mines state large quantities of both pink and blue sapphire are being exported from the Ilakaka region.

Speaking about the mining situation in Madagascar Cushman said, “There seems to be no end in sight for new corundum deposits and production”.

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Tom is a longtime gem dealer who has been living and working in Madagascar for several years.

We see and visit with Tom at the Tucson Shows each year. We've also bought gem rough from him. We have in stock several nice morganite gems from this rough.

Tom was planning to retire as a gem trader after last February's show and lead the development of a gem cutting industry in Madagascar.

Tom is one of the goodguys. We wish him well, and hope to see him in Tucson in 2006.


Jewelry Dealers

This is maybe the slowest time of the year for jewelry sales. Birthdays and anniversaries are about all that's driving sales.

But, you should be busy. Now is the time to build inventory. The holiday season will be here by the time you take a little vacation and get your inventory built up again.

After all, most guys buying for "her" prefer to choose a piece of finished goods from your inventory, rather than have you make up a custom piece for them.


Jewelry Dealers Program

Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?

Do you enjoy talking with friends and co-workers?

Take a look at our great Jewelry Dealers Program.

Carolyn Doyle

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The Dorado Company
P.O. Box 8232
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-8232