Hi, I am Jerell Reichert. I am a designer/goldsmith at Jewel Envy. I am also a Gemologist, FCGMA – Fellow of the Canadian Gemological Association.
While most people at this time of the year think about The Superbowl and its commercials I think about Tucson. I lived in Scottsdale Arizona for ten years. Late January and early February, buyers and sellers converge on Arizona for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. Tucson Gem and Mineral Society (established in 1946) has been the host to the show since 1955. It has become the largest show of its kind in the world. There are over 50 individual venues and 3,000 + vendors. The AGTA –American Gem Trader and the GJX- Gem and Jewellery Exchange open Monday after Superbowl. These shows are strictly wholesale while others are open to the public.
Vegas, Hong Kong, Basel, and Miami have major jewellery shows, which are also wholesale or to the trade and concentrate on finished jewellery and watches. While, Tucson is focused on designers and makers who are looking for materials to incorporate into their jewellery.
So you might be wondering if smaller jewellers have access to the same material as large manufacturers. The truth is custom jewellers can incorporate materials that are in short supply while large companies have to standardize their offering, and there might not be enough material to roll out an entire line. Unlike clothing, where fabric can be manufactured, once the mineral deposits from a mine are used up… they are gone. Designers from Jewel Envy attend the same shows as designers from major jewellery brands and because our lines are produced in short runs we can offer more unusual options for materials than a larger brand may be able to offer.
For example- I purchased Sleeping Beauty Turquoise briolets 15 years ago for a special piece for a special client — my mother. It is a distinct robins’s egg blue, almost free from webbing and veining inclusions. The Sleeping Beauty mine in Globe Arizona is now depleted. It takes a long time for major companies to get materials through the supply chain — from when they bought the material to when it reaches the market. I saw the same turquoise used by a major brand 13 years after I first saw it at the show.
How do I know it is the same material : I saw the owner of the major brand at my supplier.