gemstone market report

by rm weare & co

During our recent trip to the cutters in Bangkok our buyers spent the time walking around with a look of shock and incredulity on their faces.
The reason for this was the increase in prices in the top three precious coloured gemstones. We have become accustomed to the ever increasing prices asked for fine quality ruby but the...

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rock and gem magazine issue 61 autumn 2013


price increases for sapphire and emerald in all qualities came as a real shock.
The reasons for the increases vary depending on the stone but the major cause has been the increase in demand from the Chinese market.

One of our biggest ruby cutters has said that the requirements they have from just three of their Chinese mainland customers takes the majority of their stock to the extent that they don't need to deal with anyone else, and only deal with USA and European customers to keep open a wide customer base.
In traditional Chinese culture the colour red is seen as symbolising happiness, good fortune and joy and so makes ruby very popular.

Where customers are unable to afford rubies they seem happy to go for other material which has also pushed up the price of stones such as rubellite tourmaline.

In Chinese culture green gifts are given to parents as the colour is traditionally associated with longevity, harmony, vigour and vitality. The demand for green stones such as Emerald has also pushed up the prices of green tourmaline, Tsavorite garnet and green diopsides.

The causes for the price increases in sapphire are different; whilst the demand from Asia has increased it is more the availability of stones to the Thai market that has led to price inflation. Sri Lanka is holding onto their production and is heating stones.

The heat treatment of corundum is a skilled process that's secret has been closely guarded by the Thai industry; Sri Lanka is now heating Ceylon stones and will now mine, heat, and market their own material potentially completely bypassing Thailand.
The Thai cutters are now looking to sources from Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, and new sources emerging in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The reduced supply of Ceylon material in Thailand is also due to the increased price that the Sri Lankan dealers are now asking.


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