Colors and Trends from AGTA and the Tucson Gem Show

Tourmaline, tsavorite, Paraiba, beryl. Druzy, rutile, slabs of agate. Specimens as big as a couch. Jewelry designers in tshirts and sunglasses, spending their entire budget in their first 5 hours at the show. Famous jewelry personalities eating tacos from food trucks. Gem deals done with a hug and a handshake crossing S. Granada Avenue. It must be the Tucson Gem Show.
Tucson View
If you have never been to Tucson–GJX, AGTA, the tents and myriad other shows–for the spectacle that is the gem circus, it’s difficult to explain the phenomenon. It is like stepping into a vortex. Your brain, literally high on color, suspends normal operation and you exist in another dimension. Time becomes strangely irrelevant. You could stay ten days and feel like you’ve been there for three. It is CISO: Color Induced Sensory Overload.

Aquamarine ring by The Rephinery

A truly incredible ring by my friends at The Rephinery, using the finest materials and the most incredible craftsmanship (the hand azuring! swoon!). 10 carat unheated Aquamarine with many precision-set ideal cut diamonds.


I confess that I was caught in the lure of hue and saturation. The only cogent thoughts I have after my whirlwind couple of days:

Color shift: ombre gems, bi-colors or tri-colors, made a big impression on me. The hues could be striking and defined, or so gradual that you questioned if there was a shift at all…

Csarite Rings

These rings by Katie Diamond and Jennifer Dawes feature The Courtney Collection’s Csarite, a gem found in one place in the world–Turkey–that exhibits an intoxicating color shift from kiwi green to pretty raspberry.


Outline innovation: more inventive cuts are definitely a thing. These are not the “fantasy cuts” from a few years ago. Modern cutting truly honors the outline of the original rough material, and makes it a piece of art.

Gorgeous, organic cutting of spectacular Brazilian gems by Tavares Gems at GJX.


Erica Courtney Earrings

Earrings by Erica Courtney in Fire Opal and Paraiba Tourmaline. Between the rarity and quality of the gemstones, and the artistry of the settings, it’s easy to have your mind blown at Erica’s booth at AGTA.


Inner dialogue: Rutile needles intersect and mesmerize. Other characteristics form a landscape to get lost in. Purity is still valued with many gems, but some are as prized for their internal structure as their hue.
Rutile Gemstone

Rutile needles form a star pattern at German gemstone dealer Hermann Grimm.


Tavares Gems

Stacks of interesting beauty at Tavares Gems.

Mostly, Tucson and the Gem Show is a testament to the power of color…

Babette Shennan Earrings

One-of-a-kind earrings by Babette Shennan featuring hand-carved Burmese Jadeite, rubellite, and pink diamonds at AGTA.


Tanzanite necklace by Robert Bentley

A jaw-dropping necklace of matched Tanzanite gems at Robert Bentley Company. I was not willing to sell one of my children to buy this.

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