We’ve all heard from time to time the term Price Point. Mostly this is a trade term used in business to business talk. People in many businesses try to “hit a price point.” It is a fact that it is possible to crank the cash register more frequently with more affordable items. Unfortunately in many cases this means cheapening a product until it really is not as good as we all might want. How many products have we all bought that seem like a great deal due to an attractive price only to regret the lack of quality—clothing that lasts only a wearing or two, a water faucet that lasts only a year or two, and on and on. I’ll bet that we could generate thousands of examples amongst ourselves. Our goal with Gems At Large® has always been to put quality ahead of price. Look at the difference between the two rings in the photos. The light weight flimsy looking ring is a stock photo of what we would call a “price-point” ring. The shank is so flimsy it is what we refer to as a dental floss shank—so light weight and flimsy that a good firm hand shake would seemingly bend it into a different shape. The nice looking other ring is a Gems At Large® ring. In the Gems At Large® ring quality was the first consideration. Of course in the Gems At Large® ring cost more—it didn’t hit a price point. It achieved what we, here at Gems At Large® have come to call a Quality Point™.
There are plenty of places to buy price point merchandise. Our goal is to give you the opportunity to find and enjoy Quality Point™ gems and jewelry. Our goal is to make quality available–as affordably as we can–with our years traveling the world seeking and finding world quality gems and jewelry.
Another word important here is “value.” Value is actually irrespective of price. An item of good value is one that is priced fairly for what it is. An item may have a low price and still be a poor value if it is not even worth the low price. On the other hand an item may be quite expensive and still be a good value—if it is worth the price paid.
Andalusite is strange and beautiful and really quite hard to find in larger sizes. Andalusite is notable for a very strong pleochroism with a different color associated with each of 3 different crystal axes. Note the different colors in the gems in the photo. Also note the rough, uncut gems in the background.
For a number of years, years ago, we had a wholesale client who was anxious to buy all the larger sizes of Andalusite we could supply. His demand lasted quite a while. What a wild around the world chase he started. That first year on a trip to Sri Lanka we found one very beautiful Andalusite cut gem that was very large at over ten carats. And then—no more Andalusite in Sri Lanka on subsequent trips.
Later that year on a trip to Brazil we encountered a fellow that had some rough Andalusite. He wasn’t officially in the gem business but his main business took him by some Andalusite mines in the state of Espiritu Santo. These mines were worked as side businesses by coffee growers. Their coffee plantations were very remote and nobody visited the growers and the growers didn’t visit anybody—except for Valdomir. Valdomir sold chemical fertilizer to the coffee growers and had to visit them regularly. He was their access to the world and the man who could bring their Andalusite to the market. For a few years back then Valdomir dominated the Andalusite business and we had an exclusive with Valdomir.
One of the best things about that quest for Andalusite was getting to know the state of Espiritu Santo. The capital of that state is Vitória. Vitória is one of the most beautiful settings you can imagine. The setting is a lot like Rio de Janeiro but without the city sprawl. There are the large inselbergs similar to Sugar Loaf and Mount Corcovado, a beautiful bay and relatively fewer people.
This coming April yet another spectacular diamond will be at auction. This time the gem is a colorless stone of “D” color and is internally flawless. The auction this time will be held in New York at Sotheby’s. The gem is reported to weigh just over 100 carats and has been fashioned into an emerald cut (similar to the stone featured in the photo). Estimates of the price it will fetch are from $19 million USD to $25 million USD. If any of the recent auction results are predictive the price could well exceed the estimates. We will know soon.
A Netherlands architectural firm has designed a hotel to look like an Amethyst Geode—very much like the one in the picture. More so than we would have believed. When we found out about this we were incredulous. How would it function, how would it look (really)?
Below we have a link to a picture of the proposed hotel. We find that it looks like a true Amethyst Geode. Further investigation into this proposal is that the hotel will function quite well as a hotel and be remarkably beautiful.
The initial proposed site for the first hotel to look like this is in China. Given the building boom in China it is not surprising that the first Amethyst Geode like hotel will be there.
Gems are very inspiring to many people all over the world.
We have been singing the praises of cushion cut gems for many years. Now is appears that the world agrees as a record price for a Sri-Lankan sapphire was set on November 11 just past.
The sale was at auction held at Christie’s Geneva jewelry auction and the stone is known as the Blue Belle of Asia. The gem in question is reported to weigh in at 392.52 carats. The sale price was in excess of $17.7 million USD.
The sapphire in the photo is a cushion cut stone and looks remarkably similar in many ways to the Blue Belle. Of note about the Blue Belle is that its origin is Sri Lanka. So far in our experience truly large sapphires that are beautiful tend to come from Sri Lanka. Why? Many other sources of sapphire can tend to make great looking stones in more normal sizes but would be much too dark in giant sizes like the Blue Belle. Many large famous sapphires in museums and crown jewel collections that are notable for their size are from Sri Lanka. One such gem is the Star of India (mined in Sri Lanka) which is part of the collection of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
During our trips to Sri Lanka many of the dealers would rhapsodize about fabulous outrageously large sapphires being sold from time to time and being slipped away and never seen again. I for one believe it. Not that these occurrences are common but certainly they have happened. Just imagine!!!
The uber-rich of the world have declared large fancy colored diamonds to be the darling of their attention. Just a few weeks ago the gavel descended at Sotheby’s marking yet another sale of an important blue diamond. This time the gem came from the estate of Mrs. Paul Mellon (a.k.a. “Bunny” Mellon) . At 9.75 carats the stone was not the largest fancy blue gem to be sold lately. On the other hand the color of the gem rated the term “vivid” and is quite a bright blue. The auction took place in New York. Reports of the action were that the auction of this one piece took over 20 minutes and included at least 7 bidders. The successful bid came from Hong Kong. The Asian origin of the successful bid is no surprise as a number of successful auction winners have come increasingly from that part of the world.
The final price of the blue diamond was in excess of $32 million USD or over $3.3 million per-carat. This sale blasted away old records for the sale price of a blue diamond as well as the per-carat record for the price of any diamond regardless of color (or lack thereof).
The best Rhodolite garnets are truly amazing to see. Especially in the bigger sizes. The stone in the photo is a 44+ carat amazing gem. This particular stone was mined in Sri Lanka which produces some unexpected gem varieties in its gem gravels. “Gem gravels” you say? Yes, lots of the gems found in Sri Lanka are in alluvial deposits where the stones are truly in gravel form and all rounded and stream worn.
From Sri Lanka we’ve obtained many different types of gems: Star Sapphires (both blue and pink), Rhodolite garnets, Cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, Alexandrite, Blue sapphire, Pink sapphire, “Common” chrysoberyl, Cat’s-eye alexandrite, Andalusite, Yellow sapphire, and Spessartite (garnet). Not bad for a little Island down at the tip of India.
One more thing. A couple of the meals we’ve experienced in Sri Lanka were some of the best anywhere in a long lifetime of world travel. Our first Chai tea experience was in Sri Lanka in 1981. They are ahead of their time!