Every year gem, jewelry and fossil hounds flock to the Arizona city in search of the newest finds and 2017 is no exception.
JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show is one of the leading Jewelry events in North America for all jewelry industry professionals and it is one of the key jewelry markets in the world. The Show got off to a strong start on January 29th, and will be running all the way until February 6th, 2017.
For jewelry and gem hunters and related businesses, the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show is an absolute must to attend. The Show brings together international and national dealers who are direct source jewelry manufacturers, miners, stone cutters, carvers, jewelry designers and importers from around the world.
Online boutiques, gifts shops, TV channels, jewelry stores come to the Show to replenish their stock with the latest and greatest products, many of which are only available during the winter JOGS Tucson Show.
When and Where: The 2017 JOGS Show runs from January 26 to February 6, 2017 at the Tucson Expo Center. The best days to come are January 26 – 29, 2017, as the Show hosts a shorter-duration SuperStart Pavilion which is only available during the earlier part of the Show.
The Tucson Expo Center boasts thousands of free parking spots, and is a main shuttle hub for the gem show shuttle routes. If you are already attending the AGTA Show, you can even take a free limo ride from AGTA to JOGS! In addition to free parking spots and shuttles, JOGS offers a free Champagne Brunch from 1-2PM daily and free wine and snacks at 3 PM daily
Highlights of the Show: The JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show includes dealers from all around the world, hosted in the 155,000 Sq. feet indoor expo center.
The Show has large domestic and international Pavilions:
- Amber Pavilion
- Southwest Pavilion
- Top US Turquoise Pavilion
- Indonesian Pavilion
- Nepal Group Pavilion
- Silver Pavilion
- Gemstone Pavilion
- Stone/Mineral Decor Pavilion
- Giant Killer Clam Shells, big enough for a small adult to sit in!
- Beautiful Gemstone Art Sculptures by Perry Brent Davis
- Huge Amethyst geodes cut in half to reveal their inner treasure, you must see these!
- Gemstone Decor Designers that create decor for luxury homes and luxury stores, and have brought entire bathtubs made from gemstone
- Rare stones including extremely large rough Aquamarine from Hunan, China, pink watermelon-like Rhodochrosite from Argentina, and Opals from around the world
- Expensive gems and jewelry as well, including an emerald jewelry designer whose jewelry has been worn on the red carpet in Hollywood by celebrities
Tickets and Entry: Registered buyers with a Tax ID and business related buyers can attend the Show free of charge, and guests can buy tickets online before the Show or at the door.
The JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show brings approximately 40,000 visitors to the Tucson region annually and generates tens of millions in direct spending, making it one of the largest US annual events both in visitors and dollars generated.Read more →
As I sat down with Emily Miller and Kate Richbourg from Jewelry tools, the sounds of the nearby jewelry making classes were rich with hammering and instructions. The classes available at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry show ranged from beginners classes to experienced metalsmithing seminars, each class taught by instructors flown in from around the country. “These are instructors that have written books, that teach on the national scene, and they all converge here, with Jewelry Tools as the sponsor.”
Jewelry Tools is the host of the intimate jewelry making classes at the JOGS show, but their main focus is providing good quality materials and good quality tools sold by knowledgeable jewelry enthusiasts. Between Emily and Kate, two of Jewelry Tools’s representatives, they have 50 years of collective experience in the industry.
“One of the things that our company has as a big draw is that customers can come and see things they’ve never seen before, and we can explain to them how to use it.” Jewelry Tools carries a wide variety of tools, including trusted brand names like Lortone and Wubbers.
At their booth and online you can find pliers of all sorts, hammers, files, gauges, rotary tools, wooden jewelry benches, and supplies for all types of crafting including bead stringing, enameling, metalsmithing, casting and carving.
“A lot of times a customer will buy a tool then not know what to do with it. The cool thing about coming to Jewelry Tools, especially at the JOGS show, is that we have people to demo the tools. So even if you bought a tool from Jewelry Tools before, you can come on down and see the tool in action. We sell a lot of great tools, but we also provide a lot of education.” The show isn’t the only place you can see Jewelry Tool’s products in action – while browsing their website, you’ll find videos under most products explaining exactly how they work, how to use them, and the pros and cons of the different varieties available for purchase. Each video is professionally filmed and narrated by Kate Richbourg, a professional jewelry design teacher.
“Jewelry making tools of all sorts come in different qualities. Sometimes the quality is about the size and the refinement of that tool, sometimes that quality is about the durability of that tool, sometimes its about the hand grip and how it feels in your hand and how it will help you make your pieces. There are times when it’s important to have tools that protect your body too. Safety glasses, hearing protection, tools that are more gentle on your hands and wrists with good ergonomics.”
At the show, Jewelry Tools was also displaying some of their exclusive tools that can’t be bought anywhere else, developed by artists at the company. “Eugenia Chan, metal enamelist, has created some tools. It’s kind of amazing that it’s still happening in the jewelry world, you’d think that everything’s been done. She developed a steel basket that fits into a tripod - it holds the piece very carefully between four points and allows you to enamel from below. But this basket can also go inside a kiln, so you can enamel inside a kiln as well. She also developed stencils for enameling.” Eugenia has also developed a unique enameling spatula, a bezel soldering grip, and specialty metal hole punches.
Customers at the booth ranged from the veteran to the beginner. “We have a really wide variety of customers that come, but I think it’s really cool when a beginning customers can come and they can try things out, we really have a range from the hobbyist to the do-it-yourself jewelry maker all the way up to the professional jewelry maker. And when we demo, we’re able to speak to the experience of each customer who’s here, because the two of us, we’ve been making jewelry for over 50 years collectively - so we can address really simple and easy questions for the beginner, or if you’re a seasoned professional, we can also speak to your questions as well.”
If you’re interested in opening up a world of options with Jewelry Tools, you can visit www.jewelrytools.com or call 1-866-453-6147. “That’s what we actually do – We sell the tools, and we teach you how to use them.”Read more →
It all begins with a passion for rare and extraordinarily beautiful gems and diamonds, a family trade and unbridled commitment of the Takat Family since 1955. We search all corners of the world for treasures of color wonder: gems that tell stories through the intensity and brilliance of their color; gems that become part of people’s lives so they can further tell stories of love and commitment. To do them justice, we design dreams around them, imbuing them with our family knowledge and reputation. We work closely with the most reputable and responsible partners to ensure the highest standards of quality and ethical processing.
In the hands of our trusted craftsmen, each gem is carefully considered; their expert eyes, skilled hands with decades of training further enhancing nature’s stunning color and beauty through perfect proportioned cuts and designs.
The process of creating one-of-a kind jewels is a balancing act of finesse, artistry and understanding. A jewel that bears our company name is a testament to our inspiration, love and desire that each piece finds the woman it’s meant to, and that its unique nature beckons something special in her soul, and for generations after her.
TAKAT’s jewelry has been showcased on celebrities across the United States, including Joan Rivers on The Tonight Show, Melissa Claire Egan from the The Young and the Restless, and Mayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory.
TAKAT’s company founder, Haji Nisar Ahmed Takat, comes from an ancient Indian family of precious stone craftsmen. They originate from the historical city of Jaipur, renowned for its roses, which speaks to the poetry, passion and compassion that inspires this family. He was a special man. In his blood ran a passion for exquisite color. He had heart focused on continuing the family trade and building a future for his family, and an eye for gems that would yield the most impressive results. He was also committed to doing right by his employees and clients. In 1955 he opened his first precious stone cutting and polishing business in Jaipur, and in 1976, with sons Siraj Ahmed Takat and Rafeeq Ahmed Takat joining the business, he began trading operations. Today, that original location remains as the TAKAT world flagship.
In 1994, Siraj and Rafeeq decided to explore fine gem trading on a global level, taking their father’s company to trade events around the world, attending the major fairs from Hong Kong and Beijing to New York, Las Vegas, Paris, Basel, Milan and Dubai. Soon after, the brothers established an office in Bangkok. By 2000, Haji’s grandsons were ready to make Takat a Three-Generation commitment and family business, with Rayaz and Irfan opening offices in New York and Hong Kong, respectively.
TAKAT remains a family business founded on providing exceptional gems and jewels, excellence of craftsmanship and service to its clients. Each TAKAT creation is made with meticulous attention to detail and quality, balancing a classic approach to design with the latest developments in technology. The TAKAT style incorporates timeless elegance in a wide selection of distinctive jewelry designed with daring combinations of color, precious metals and gemstones, and innovative materials.
TAKAT is also synonym of going far beyond what is expected or customary. The Takat family believes in treating all people with respect and dignity, and strives to create and foster a diverse and supportive environment in which individuals can realize their maximum potential within the company. Their motto: “Our business success is a reflection of the quality and skill of our people.” They are dedicated to building a better future for their customers and employees and are honored that many of the world’s finest jewelers and collectors trust them to source and create exclusive jewels for them.
Read more →
“Kameyab stands for quality,” Rolando tells me as he shows me the highest quality gemstone beads locked in a showcase at his booth at the JOGS Gem & Jewelry show. “We try to search for the best quality. The quality that we have – that’s what brings the customers back to us.”
Kameyab primarily sells cut stones and cabs from all over the world. Argentina, South Africa, China, Mexico, Kameyab originally started 20 years ago in a garage, but has grown quite big since including an 8,000 square foot showroom in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“The good thing about Kameyab is that we go straight to the mines, get the rough material, and do all our own cutting, which is very important for our customer to prove to them that what they are getting is the real stone.”
Rolando was happy to show me the different types of stones Kameyab had for sale. At Kameyab’s booth were heaps of cut stone beads, and piles of cabs. Their most popular stones are Larimar, Rhodochrosite, Turquoise, Lapis, and Peruvian Opal.
“If they want to learn more and want to get more experience about where the stones come from, how process works, what do you do with this, everyone at Kameyab is more than happy to explain the process on any of the stones.” Rolando explained to me that although the stones come from mines all over the world, most of them are sent back to China for high-quality cutting.
When I asked Rolando what keeps people coming back to Kameyab, he said, “The quality. The quality is one of the best points for us. We try to search for the best quality. The quality that we have – that’s what brings the customers back to us.” He says customers often start researching what makes a quality stone after visiting Kameyab for the first time.
In their high-end showcase Kameyab had a large variety of stones on display including Australian Opals, Red Corals, Sugilite from Africa, Jelly Purple Opal, Peridot, Lapis, Peruvian Opal, and Larimar. Rolando said customers especially enjoy the Jelly Purple Opal for its light color.
If you’re interested in working with cabochons, Kamyab is a great place to look for inspiration. At their booth, Kameyab has finished sterling silver Balinese jewelry made with the stones they sell, so artists can see what exactly they can make with the stones for sale.
“Many people are inspired by that stone because it’s so earthy looking,” Rolando says about a Peruvian Opal piece.
“Successfully we’re here, the company has grown so much, we’ve been in business for this long. Kameyab succeeds because our customers.”
If you’re interested in seeing Kameyab’s beads, cabs and finished sterling silver jewelry, you can visit them at the JOGS Gem & Jewelry show, or visit their website at www.kibeads.com. Kameyab Imports Inc. can be reached at 505 821 6217.Read more →
When it comes to Southwestern wear, Indian Touch of Gallup is the real deal. Omar Ayesh, representing the third generation of his family-run business, told me about how his grandfather got started in the jewelry business over 45 years ago.
“He was a trader in Gallup, New Mexico, that was driving from Denver, Colorado. He stopped in Gallup, traded some blankets for some jewelry, and one thing led to another.”
Indian Touch of Gallup’s jewelery is all made in New Mexico, a state that straddles the border between the United States and Mexico, tucked between Arizona, Colorado and Texas. “We use all natural stones, we use all sterling silver, we make sure everything is handmade, and designed, and presented from the artisans out of our area.”
Not all of the pieces that Omar sells are newly designed. Some are vintage Native American designs, including many traditional Squash Blossom necklaces from the 1960s.
Indian Touch of Gallup also sells newer versions of the vintage designs, with modern details and non-traditional stones. Omar showed me a Squash Blossom necklace made with White Buffalo, a hard-to-come-by stone which comes out of Tomoha, Nevada.
Omar’s been in the business for a long time. “My grandfather’s been doing this since the mid sixties. My father’s been doing it, and I’ve been doing it since I was 12 years old.” With a family business comes experience, and when I asked Omar what made Indian Touch of Gallup stand out, he replied, “The quality of the stone. That’s the difference. You use a good quality stone, it’s a big difference. As for as what sells the piece – it’s the stone. People fall in love with the stone, they fall in love with the piece.”
Not only are the pieces designed and made in New Mexico, many of the stones are from the area as well. “The Turquoise is from the Southwest and all around the world. Mostly American Turquoise, Tibet Turquoise, Mongolian Turquoise, Mexican Turquoise, and stones from all over.”
Indian Touch of Gallup mostly caters to wholesale buyers. “We deal strictly wholesale. We want people to come, buy, resell, and come back for more. Gift shop, jewelry store, trading post, boutique, salon, anyone who wants to sell jewelry.”
During the interview, Indian Touch of Gallup’s booth was packed with customers viewing the Native American jewelry. One of the show-stopper pieces was this butterfly wraparound necklace, inlaid with sparkling Opal.
Omar showed me some of his most interesting and popular pieces afterward. His biggest was a handmade cobblestone Kingman Turquoise cuff, designed by Wilson Dawes, which was designed to fit up to an 8 inch wrist. “What makes it so unique is that each piece is individually cut, and it gives it a very 3D modern look.”
We interviewed Mike Ayesh at the JOGS Gem & Jewlry show back in 2012.
If you are interested in seeing Indian Touch of Gallup’s jewelry and designs, their showroom is located in Gallup, New Mexico (105 W Highway 66 Gallup, NM 87301). Indian Touch of Gallup and Omar Ayesh can be reached at (505) 722-6807.Read more →
Micropavé. Peekaboo earrings. Cubic Zirconia from Switzerland and .925 silver with 24kt gold plating. These were the types of trends I found at Jewellenium’s booth at the JOGS Gem and Jewelry show.
Jewellenium’s name is more than just a portmanteau of “Jewelry” and “Millenium” – it also stands for the future-facing goals of the company.
Started in 2000, the business has been chasing trends for 16 years, without losing its focus on traditional designs.
Jamie Lee from Jewellenium showed me some of their latest at the show. The trendy pieces are created Jewellenium’s 7 designers, all from Korea.
Micropave was the first trend Jamie showed me, in an earrings and necklace set with hundreds of tiny gems. “There are normally 2, 4 or 6 prongs holding the stones, but this is 16 prongs holding a 1 mm stone.” Jamie explains that the tiny stones are so small that their jewelers require a microscope to set them.
Crystals bracelets were the second, and she says these are incredibly on trend right now. They’re stretchable, and very easy to take on and off.
Peekaboo earrings were her last. She says although the trend is starting to wane in Europe, it’s only just picking up in North America and very few vendors carry them yet. Peekaboo earrings are a play on traditional earring style, allowing a secondary piece of earring to show behind the ear. Jewellenium’s take on the new earrings has a very small earring in the front, and a large globe in the back that peeks out from behind the wearer’s ear.
If you are interested in seeing Jewellenium‘s fashionable high-end jewelry, you can visit her showroom in Buena Park, California (8382 Artesia Blvd, #B). Jamie Lee can be reached at (714) 222-0147.Read more →
Though a story of kindness and generosity, The JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry show this year will have a unique find on display – two ancient giant baroque pearls and a giant killer clam shell, which will later be up for auction. Both these special finds are being brought to the show by Volker Bassen, who dreamed of one day finding a giant pearl of his own.
“I left Sweden and came to East Africa in 1990, visiting Kenya and Tanzania after having been to Morocco and Tunisia. Africa had always fascinated me, by the age of 8 I declared to my mother that I was going to move to Africa one day!
I fell in love with East Africa at first sight, this is the true Africa I remember telling myself. It was all I had ever dreamt of and so much more. The friendliness and positivity of the people, despite all their hardships and poverty struck me and I felt a special bound and admiration for them.
I got involved with different coastal communities, helping where I could, learning to think outside the box in order to implement some rather innovative projects which I felt could improve their living standards, especially among the youth. I had always been considered being an entrepreneur by my family and friends, now I was becoming a philanthropist as well, an inevitable progression that fulfilled me, defining my personality.
Over the years I have spent close to a million U$ in public-private partnerships, promoting marine conservation, developing aquaculture projects such as Spirolina and Tilapia fish farming as well as supporting local orphanages and schools. My motto is “no one can do everything but everyone can do something”
In 2004 I met Nimu, a wonderful Kenyan woman who was to become my wife. Together we have 3 beautiful children, Samuel, Siv and Noah.
I have always felt drawn to the sea and the Indian Ocean is simply stunning with it’s unique marine biodiversity.
Here is the birthplace of the world’s larges fish, the whale shark and I have devoted much of my time to protect these gentle giants, setting up the East African Whale Shark Trust in 2005, dedicated to conservation and education.
Locally the whale shark is called Papa Shillingi, according to the coastal Digo tribe legend, God was so pleased with his creation of the whale shark that he sent his angels down from heaven to sprinkle silver coins upon it, thereby it’s name; Papa Shillingi which means ‘shark covered with silver coins’ in Kiswahili. With more than 5000 scuba dives under my belt another big passion of mine is underwater photography and filming as this gives me the opportunity to share my adventures with other people like yourselves.
The Eastern Indian Ocean also used to be home to the world’s largest clams, Tridacna Gigantea, a predecessor to today’s giant clams Tridacna Gigas which can be found in and around the South China Sea. I have been collecting fossilized specimens of these amazing giant clams ever since I first saw them back in 1990. “God doesn’t make them anymore” they became extinct around 180.000 years ago when sea levels suddenly rose by 20 meters. Since these clams were dependent on sunlight as they lived in symbiosis with an algae growing on the clams mantle, converting sunlight to sugar for the clam to feed on, they sadly starved to death as not enough light reached the algae.
Although rare, they are occasionally found deeply embedded in ancient fossilized coral reefs, sometimes several kilometers inland.
My dream was to one day find a pearl inside one of these clams having seen baroque pearls from the Tridacna Gigas clams, most notably the Pearl of Allah, also known as Pearl of Lao-Tze. Giant clams produce the biggest pearls in the world, not surprisingly, being the largest clams in the world. The Pearl of Allah, with an estimated value of up to 50 million U$, I figured that if I ever managed to find a pearl from the T.Gigantea, it would empower me to finance community projects on an even larger scale.
Then one day, 2 days after my son Noah was born I was visited by one of the Digo tribal chiefs and as custom has it, he presented me with one of the largest clams I had ever seen as a gift to celebrate the birth of my son. 4 years earlier when my son Samuel was born that same chief gave me the biggest clam in my collection with a staggering weight of 612 Kg, once cleaned and polished it weighted 355 Kg, the biggest giant clam in the world! It took us a week to clean out the giant clam as it was full of calcified lime stone, almost as hard as cement. To my surprise I found a blister pearl the size of a tomato followed by a smaller one, I just couldn’t believe my luck, 2 pearls in one clam! I decided to call the largest of the pearls ‘Pearl of Noah’ and the smaller pearl ‘Pearl of Siv’ naming them after my children. I couldn’t believe my luck, it was too good to be true but sometimes things just are I was told by my wife.
Still, I wasn’t sure if they were indeed baroque pearls, I guess I was in a state of disbelief, so I had them sent to GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in New York to verify if they actually were real pearls. After about a month I received an email from Dr Chunhui Zhou, senior researcher at GIA. He wrote to me confirming that the 2 samples I had sent him were indeed baroque pearls! He describes the 2 pearls as “very interesting and unique” and asked me if GIA could be allowed to publish their lab-report about these pearls in their upcoming scientific journal Gems & Gemology.
Needless to say I was thrilled and gave him my consent.
With 1256 carat the Pearl of Noah is the largest T.Gigantea pearl ever found while the Pearl of Siv with it’s 758 carats is the second largest T.Gigantea pearl in the world. Although not as large as the Pearl of Allah or some other baroque pearls found in T.gigas clams, the uniqueness is what defines these two pearls.
The pearls are now in Switzerland to be dated, I estimate them to be between 200.000 to 240.000 years old, making them the oldest baroque pearls ever found. Once that is done I intend to put them up for auction together with the clam they were found in. I am also auctioning off the world’s biggest clam in a bid to raise funds for a maternity ward. After all, if it wasn’t for the kindness and generosity of the Digo tribe I would never have found them. I am a big believer in karma.”
Volker Bassen also has a charity and 20% of the revenue from the sales of any clamshell (including pearls) goes towards different community outreach projects in Kenya. He supports the Born Again orphanage with 68 children aged between 5-16, a local school and a myriad of other projects related to the health and well-being of those who are most vulnerable. Some of these projects include the treatment and prevention of Jiggers, a parasite in Africa that often affects children, and his newest project, which will help allow girls and women experiencing their menses to stay in school and retain their jobs. “The stigma surrounding menses is making hundreds of millions of women suffering, we need to change that, period!” If you are interested in purchasing this amazing find, you can rest assured that a large percent of the proceeds will go to a great cause.
Luxury washbasin, every piece is unique, nothing beats it!
Volker Bassen will be auctioning off his Giant Killer Clam in Tucson. The shell of T.Gigantea is traditionally a very exciting find, as its white shell can be used to create unique works of art, and is often used as a rare but environmentally-friendly replacement for ivory. Some unique uses for the shell include turning it into either a display piece, or even a one-of-a-kind luxury bathroom sink!
Tridacna Gigas clamshell art from the Island of HaiNan. The price of these amazing carvings have skyrocketed after the Beijing Ivory Carvers Association started using fossil Tridacna Gigantea from Kenya, the perfect alternative to Ivory.
Tridacna, also known as part of the seven treasures of Buddha is thought to bring good fortune and health to its wearer according to ancient Chinese belief, perfect for making unique jewelry.
Jose Majul says inspiration comes from nature. “In my home town where 90% of the people work on silver, there are small people who are big designers and big artists. You always find something new.”
Majul Jewelry’s newest designs set in silver show fantastical creatures from the sea, from starfish to shrimps to mermaids.
Every piece is hand made in Mexico, and much of the Turquoise comes from Chihuahua, a northern Mexican state that borders Texas and New Mexico.
On display at Majul’s booth was also their new Safari collection, which included one of their most popular sets, a large silver frog necklace with a softly-shaped chunk of malachite representing the frog’s green color.
The matching set also included a cuff bracelet in the form of a frog, and a pair of earrings.
Jose Majul is no stranger to the jewelry business – his grandfather and his father before him all took part in starting the company, all the way back in 1937, as part of more than five generations of family business in Mexico.
They brought their business to the United States in 1987, where it now resides in San Francisco, California, but the heart of the business is still in Taxco, Mexico. “We are happy to have loyal customers. We have had customers since we opened the business in 1987 and we still have some – very few but we always get a new people and new customers and they always come back with us.”
Jose’s newest collection is is simple but elegant, a contemporary line made with silver, Cubic Zirconia, and pearls. By the time I had interviewed him, most of the pieces from this collection had already sold out.
In Arizona, the Copper state, Jose also sells Southwestern-style designs in Copper and Turquoise.
Majul Jewelry is primarily a wholesale business, selling to boutiques, galleries and jewelry stores. At their booth at the show they had thousands of different silver pendants on display, from abstract hammered shapes to designs inspired by nature’s creations. Every single piece is handmade, artfully blending traditional Mexican forms with contemporary designs.
If you are interested in seeing Majul Jewelery’s products, you can view them in person at our show, or visit www.majuljewelry.com. Majul Jewelry can be reached at 415 553 4108.Read more →
Matti Tikka got into the Opal business by finding an opal worth $2,800 in Australia with nothing more than a screwdriver.
“Forty-two years ago I was holidaying in Lightning Ridge. And we spent three weeks with my wife on the field. Before I left I told a Miner named Andy – “I would like to have a taste of mining.” so he was laughing, gave me a screwdriver, and there was a hole, a 4-feet hole, in old Cochrane, and he said “just dig there” so I went down.
"Where do I start digging? There was sand-band on the wall, that's usually where opal appears, and then he went away laughing you see...
"15 minutes later I'd dug a little hole, got a piece, and you know, two-thousand-eight-hundred dollars."
Matti told me about how he then brought the Opal to a cutter, and due to his ignorance of the business, the cutter stole the heart of the opal from him. Matti was a very happy man though - he was able to take all $2,800 and invest it straight into his first new car, a brand new Ford Falcoln.
"Then I told my wife - you pay rent in Sydney, I'm going to go start mining."
Matti Tika now sells natural Black Opals from Lightning Ridge at show 3-4 times a year, making the long flight from Australia to the United States. He has since found opals worth $50,000 – $60,000, though he claims he’s never found any “really expensive ones” after his first discovery.
True black opals only come from one place and that’s Lightning Ridge, New North Wales, Australia. There are claims of Black Opals from other locations, but the real thing can only be found in the Lightning Ridge mines, according to Matti. Matti owns his own mines, but he’s been reducing them over the years, and now keeps his business simple with a “couple fellas” working on one of the mines. He says good black opals are not “cracky” type of opals.
The prices for opals start lowest at blue, blue-green, green-orange, orange, orange-red and red, and combinations of those. All Black Opals have a predominantly dark background that ranges in color from dark gray to blue-black, which allows the Opal’s secondary colors to stand out. Although the prices range based on color, color preference is often up to the buyer. “Some like it blue, some like it green, some like it red, and so on,” Matti tells me.
Matti Tikka’s customers often consider buying Black Opal an investment. “They are the only stones in the world probably, in my opinion, that they never reduce the price, only increase.” Tikka Opals range from $200 to well over $100,000.
I asked Matti what an expensive stone might look like, and he picked up a beautiful blue-purple 300ct specimen. The stone shifted colors as I held it up to the light, from a dark vivid purple to a bright royal blue.
He says that because of the difference in color and cut, smaller stones with more of a reddish hue may be worth just as much as the larger blue one he showed me.
When I asked Matti about why his customers come to him, he said, “Probably pricing. My prices are really good prices because we are selling mainly to wholesalers.”
Tikka Opals can only be seen in the USA at shows Matti Tikka attends, including the JOGS Gem & Jewelry show. Matti Tikka can be reached in Australia at 011-61-7-5546-9324.Read more →
Their story was simple – their family had once owned a manufacturing factory in China, but once they moved to the United States they had to begin anew.
Siu Ming Cheung represented Chinese American Arts & Crafts at the JOGS Gem & Jewelry show, and told me a about his family’s history in the industry. “When we first moved here we tried to find something to do, we finally decided of doing our own business, which is jade.” He explained that going into and industry that was already familiar to them was a lot easier than starting from scratch. The difference this time was that everything would be handmade
“Everything here is hand made, hand crafted,” Mind explained as he picked up strands of Jade to show me. ” We have a wholesaler to buy it from Burma, then we bring it back to China, then we make a custom design.”
At their booth, they had a variety of different Jade items for sale including solid bracelets, round beads, buttons, and a few non-Jade items like hand-carved wooden ornaments and gold-plated decorations.
Ming says that when it comes to Jade, customers enjoy being able to pick up matched sets of bracelets and necklaces.
Burmese Jade is a variety of Jade called Jadeite, which is only found in Burma. Its closely-related Jade sibling is Nephrite, which comes from all over the world.
If you are interested in talking to Chinese American Arts and Crafts, please call 510 333 5762.Read more →