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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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