Destinations

Live from Tucson, Ariz.: A Trio of Bill Gangi’s Biggest AGTA GemFair Tucson Sellers

Tucson, Ariz. Feb. 6, 2020. Longtime gem miner, cutter, and dealer Bill Gangi, of Gangi Gems, is (not surprisingly) having another gangbuster show at the American Gem Trade Association GemFair Tucson. Gangi, from Franklin, N.Y., routinely brings some of the most uncommon gem and mineral materials to shows, which is why he has such a devoted following (including yours truly). This year’s inventory includes a trio of relatively low-cost specimens that can help create big looks for a small investment.

For starters, Gangi cut up agatized dinosaur bone that had been sitting in his safe for 40 years. Once he dug in, he realized that some of the material was actually transparent chalcedony in the cell structure, making some of the rocks “look like a fishnet stocking” under light.

“The matrix around the cells is usually black, but we found some that was red and yellow,” he says. “We have some of the rarest colors this year.”

Further enhancing the dino display of freeform cabochons, calibrated shapes, and matched pairs are a tower of genuine dinosaur eggs, courtesy of a collector friend. The dino material, which has no treatment, was found in Moab, Utah, is upwards of 120 million years old, and has a triple keystone price of $6 per carat.

Next, Gangi has Gibeon meteorite fragments that have been forged, milled, rolled, and etched. This lot of largely funky sword-like silhouettes—some bent, some thin enough to serve as bezels—was acquired from a longtime buyer of Gangi’s larger samples. A well-known men’s jewelry maker who has been working with Gibeon meteorite for 20-plus years sold the dealer his scrap on request. Gangi’s idea: make the funky shapes available for resale. All the inventory is originally from Namibia, has been acid-etched to highlight the Widmanstätten lines—unique patterns that occur in iron meteorites—and has been forged by heavy-duty equipment from the auto industry. “We even have matched pairs,” says Gangi proudly.

Pieces are available for $12 a gram triple keystone.

Finally, Gangi recently purchased 126 pounds of watermelon tourmaline rough. The tourmaline is surrounded by feldspar and quartz and is sourced from northern Brazil. “It is stabilized because it’s too included to facet into fine gems, but it’s the color and patterns that everyone loves,” he says.

Finished pieces for sale include low-dome cabochons and cushion shapes. Originally, Gangi thought he would have it all cut in time for the show, but reality interfered with his ambition. He has sold much of what he brought—several thousand carats—with only several hundred remaining. On his bench at home? Some 400 hundred pieces that will yield hundreds of pairs.

The triple keystone price per gram is $6.

Gibeon meteorite fragments that have been forged, milled, rolled, and etched are $12 a gram triple keystone; email bill@gangigems.com for purchase.

Dinosaur freeform cabochons, calibrated shapes, and matched pairs are $6 per carat triple keystone; email bill@gangigems.com for purchase.

Gibeon meteorite fragments that have been forged, milled, rolled, and etched are $12 a gram triple keystone; email bill@gangigems.com for purchase.

Gibeon meteorite fragments that have been forged, milled, rolled, and etched are $12 a gram triple keystone; email bill@gangigems.com for purchase.

Watermelon tourmaline low-dome cabochons and cushion shapes are $6 per gram triple keystone; email bill@gangigems.com for purchase.

Watermelon tourmaline low-dome cabochons and cushion shapes are $6 per gram triple keystone; email bill@gangigems.com for purchase.

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Destinations

Live from Tucson, Ariz.: Robert Bentley’s Newest Gemstone Treasures

Tucson, Ariz. Feb. 5, 2020. Offerings from literal rock star gem dealer Robert Bentley, known for his bold chunks of gems largely sourced and always cut in Brazil, didn’t disappoint. On opening day of the American Gem Trade Association’s (AGTA) GemFair Tucson, happening Feb. 4–9 at the Tucson Convention Center, the New York City–based dealer had myriad vibrant and super gemmy varieties of material available for purchase to the trade-only crowd of shoppers. (Booths were slammed yesterday!)

Among the treasures? Boulderesque strands of opaque orange chalcite mined and cut in Brazil with no treatment. With druzy-kissed dustings of crystals peppering the large, flat beads, the strands make a striking statement of unabashed color and understated sparkle. Triple keystone prices per strand start around $840.

A couple of Elizabethan-type collars of unpolished quartz leaves mingling with randomly placed dumorterite presented another powerful necklace option. “It took me a few years to arrive at how I wanted to cut the quartz,” says Bentley. He is pleased with the result. “It’s solid and delicate—like a mineralogical hug.” Triple keystone prices per strand are $3,600.

Finally, four randomly faceted strands of bright blue lapis from Afghanistan remain for sale out of the six that the dealer brought to the show. Again, Bentley sat with this rough for a while—a year and a half—before he decided how his Brazilian factory would cut the gems. Some beads are smooth while others had rough edges for contrast. “I didn’t know what the yield would be,” he says of the strands. As is often the case with buying rough gems, it’s hard to gauge exactly what volume and quality will make itself known. Triple keystone prices per strand start at $5,070.

“This is the year of the Nancy Pelosi necklace,” adds Bentley. “Big, empowering, and fearless strand designs that require minimal interference when the gems come out of the ground.”

Strands of untreated orange chalcite mined and cut in Brazil start at $840 triple keystone; email robertbentley3@me.com for purchase.

Strands of untreated orange chalcite mined and cut in Brazil start at $840 triple keystone; email robertbentley3@me.com for purchase.

Elizabethan-type collar of untreated, unpolished quartz leaves with dumorterite start at $3,600 triple keystone; email robertbentley3@me.com for purchase.

Elizabethan-type collar of untreated, unpolished quartz leaves with dumorterite start at $3,600 triple keystone; email robertbentley3@me.com for purchase.

Randomly faceted strands of untreated bright blue lapis from Afghanistan that are cut in Brazil start at $5,070 triple keystone; email robertbentley3@me.com for purchase.

Randomly faceted strands of untreated bright blue lapis from Afghanistan that are cut in Brazil start at $5,070 triple keystone; email robertbentley3@me.com for purchase.

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Destinations

Live from Tucson, Ariz.: Debra Navarro’s Watu Jewelry Is Gorgeous and Gives Back

Tucson, Ariz. Feb. 4, 2020. Jewelry designer Debra Navarro unveiled a trio of new additions to her Watu jewelry collection at The Select Show, which took place at the Westin La Paloma, Feb. 2–3. (She is now moving on to exhibit at JCK Tucson, Feb. 5–8; find her at booth DC17.)

Watu features rough gems from East African gem miners that are hand-chosen by the Wichita, Kan., resident. All stones are set in 18k recycled gold, and five percent of each Watu purchase benefits Gem Legacy, a nonprofit that facilitates vocational training and education in East African mining communities.

Watu is Swahili for “people,” and for Navarro specifically, it is those people in East African mining communities in places like Kenya that have touched her life through firsthand visits. So she named Watu jewelry for them, and many of the rough, unfaceted gems feature a Tenda cut or a flat facet that means “doing good to someone.”

Additions to Watu include a unisex lapel pin, pendants with colored stone accents instead of natural-color diamond ones to further enhance gemmy centers, and a massive showstopper bracelet.

All styles in Watu aim to remind wearers that gemstones do good for many around the world. “Consumers can take part in changing people’s lives,” Navarro explains.

Lapel pin in 18k recycled yellow gold with tourmalines, $3,850; email debra@debranavarro.com for purchase.

Lapel pin in 18k recycled yellow gold with tourmalines, $3,850; email debra@debranavarro.com for purchase.

Pendant necklace in 18k recycled yellow gold with pink spinel and pink and colorless diamonds, $4,815; email debra@debranavarro.com for purchase.

Pendant necklace in 18k recycled yellow gold with pink spinel and pink and colorless diamonds, $4,815; email debra@debranavarro.com for purchase.

Bracelet in 18k recycled yellow gold with scapolite, green garnet, spessartite garnet, pink spinel, and aquamarine, $23,000; email debra@debranavarro.com for purchase.

Bracelet in 18k recycled yellow gold with scapolite, green garnet, spessartite garnet, pink spinel, and aquamarine, $23,000; email debra@debranavarro.com for purchase.

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Destinations

Live from Arizona: Eliko’s New Pinkish-Purple Flat Baroque Freshwater Pearls (Plus: More Maki-e Pearls!)

Tucson, Ariz. Feb 2, 2020. Aziz Basalely of Eliko Pearl is known for his eye—and his monthly trips to Asia—for unusual pearls, so some rare and stunning recent finds now en route to the AGTA GemFair Tucson shouldn’t surprise many.

On his most recent buying trip to Hong Kong, just a couple of weeks ago, Basalely came across uncommon flat baroque shapes of freshwater pearls that were bigger than quarters. The color was unique: pinkish-purplish overtones, a first for the veteran pearl buyer who first saw this shape and size in white just a few years earlier.

“They are similar to the souffle pearls that came on the market a few years ago and probably have a similar production,” he says. “The nucleus is a flat disk, and I’m guessing—it’s hard to get accurate information from sources—that they would take six to eight years to grow.”

He has 15 lovely pairs for Tucson as well as a Wilma-Flintstone-size finished strand.

“I selected these out of 700 to 800 pearls,” Basalely adds. “These were the only quality sufficient to be used in jewelry. Many of the others had blemishes or indentations; after so many years in an oyster, the pearls do get damaged.”

Find them fast at the Eliko booth #1306 at AGTA. Pairs are $900 to $1,200 triple keystone (retail), while the strand is $1,900.

And fans of Eliko’s mosaic or Maki-e pearls should prepare for an epic shopping frenzy: there will be 110 individual Maki-e pearls available and 109 pairs, ranging in price from $360 to $4,500 triple keystone (retail). Most are $600 to $900 triple keystone (retail).

Flat baroque-shape freshwater pearls with pinkish-purplish overtones in sizes bigger than quarters, pairs range from $900 to $1,200 triple keystone (retail); email mail@elikopearl.com for purchase.

Flat baroque-shape freshwater pearls with pinkish-purplish overtones in sizes bigger than quarters, pairs range from $900 to $1,200 triple keystone (retail); email mail@elikopearl.com for purchase.

Finished strand of flat baroque-shape freshwater pearls with pinkish-purplish overtones in sizes bigger than quarters, $1,900 triple keystone (retail); email mail@elikopearl.com for purchase.

Finished strand of flat baroque-shape freshwater pearls with pinkish-purplish overtones in sizes bigger than quarters, $1,900 triple keystone (retail); email mail@elikopearl.com for purchase.

A shot from the Eliko office in New York City: some 110 individual Maki-e pearls and 109 pairs are available, ranging in price from $360 to $4,500 triple keystone (retail). Most are $600 to $900 triple keystone (retail). Email mail@elikopearl.com for purchase.
A shot from the Eliko office in New York City: some 110 individual Maki-e pearls and 109 pairs are available, ranging in price from $360 to $4,500 triple keystone (retail). Most are $600 to $900 triple keystone (retail). Email mail@elikopearl.com for purchase.
A shot from the Eliko office in New York City: some 110 individual Maki-e pearls and 109 pairs are available, ranging in price from $360 to $4,500 triple keystone (retail). Most are $600 to $900 triple keystone (retail). Email mail@elikopearl.com for purchase.

A shot from the Eliko office in New York City: some 110 individual Maki-e pearls and 109 pairs are available, ranging in price from $360 to $4,500 triple keystone (retail). Most are $600 to $900 triple keystone (retail). Email mail@elikopearl.com for purchase.

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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