Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tucson 2009, The View From The Desert



by Richard W. Wise
©2009

The first Saguaro emerges from predawn darkness, looming above me like a giant being from another planet. The sun rises over Gates Pass. Last night we sat on the porch of our adobe, deep in the Sonoran Desert, with Orion twinkling overhead, listening to a coyote chorus. Today the show opens at the old Pueblo Inn, the traditional first day of jumpstart at the 2009 Tucson Gem Show. (image left; through the front window)

Gem Ruby From Winza

For a Saturday opening, traffic was disappointing, it was brisk enough, but the fact that we found parking without a half mile walk told me that attendance was down significantly from last few years. Sales were few and far between. In one room a dealer motioned me outside into the parking lot and handed me a gem paper. Inside a beautiful 4+ carat ruby from the new strike at Winza, Tanzania. I thanked the dealer. “This is the first one I have seen” I told him. “This is the only one I have seen” he said with a significant look. It is a beautifully cut cushion, with an extremely clean interior and no sign of the long needle like inclusions that that are reputed to be characteristic of the best Winza gems. The stone shows excellent crystal and the color is a unique red hue, lacking both the classic purple secondary of the Burmese or the orangey hue of the best of the old Thai stones and reminiscent of neither. Is it better than Burma? Winza ruby is iron rich, which means that it lacks the UV fluorescence and thus the supercharged saturation of the finest gems from Burma, but the color holds up well, almost no change as I move back into the yellow light of the room’s interior. Winza is located in central Tanzania. Travel addicted gemologist Vincent Pardeau has posted a video showing the Winza gem fields:

Fine Aquamarine from Mozambique:

Moving on to another dealer I am shown a tray of 1-3 carat fine aquamarine, 65% tone with a bit of gray, reputed to be from Mozambique, at another booth I find two fine 5+ carat aquamarine, the first I have seen from India. The darker hue always comes with a certain amount of gray mask. Visually the best of the two shows about 10%. Aquamarine is extraordinarily rare, much rarer than its cousin emerald. In front of me is more fine aqua than I have seen in one place in several years. Stay tuned!

A Trip To The Gem Mines of Colombia

Colored Stone Magazine has just published my travelogue on a trip to the Emerald mines of Boyaca, Colombia. Visit the CS website and read it free: http://www.colored-stone.com/stories/jan09/columbian-emeralds.cfm


Visit Burma's Valley of the Serpents and learn how sapphire is mined and graded. Follow me on gem buying adventures in Burma, Thailand and Sri lanka. Visit the gem fields of Australia and Brazil. 120 carefully selected photographs showing examples of the highest quality gems to educate the eye, including the Rockefeller Sapphire and many more of the world's most famous gems. Consider my book: Secrets Of The Gem Trade, The Connoisseur's Guide To Precious Gemstones.


“Wise is a renowned author... He’s done a marvelous job of this first book
, monumental work, a tour de force...My recommendation: Buy this book”.
Charles Lewton-Brain, Orchid


whether you like to know what the best colour is in Tanzanite, or how to grade a Diamond, you will find it in this book. No other book I read before dealt with this topic is such detail as Richard Wise's masterpiece."

A. Van Acker, FGA
Amazon June 2005

"Secrets Of The Gem Trade: The Connoisseurs Guide To Precious Gemstones by Richard W. Wise is an impressive new reference for dedicated dealers and collectors of gems, gemstones, and ... pearls. Introducing and descriptively exploring each and every gem covered in the easy-to-use reference, Secrets Of The Gem Trade contains an illustrated summary of each stone inclusive of its history and general information, hue and tone, saturation, which may be noticed as the finest, an understanding of the particular gems rarity, and the caution for synthetics and how to depict them, however depending upon the stone there may be description of clarity, color fading, multi-color effect, etc. Secrets Of The Gem Trade is very highly recommended to anyone interested in gemology as a superbly organized, authoritative, comprehensive, and easy-to-follow reference."



Midwest Book Review
April 2006

Only $39.95 in paperback. Read a couple of chapters online an order: We recently discovered about a dozen copies of the out of print hardcover: $79.95 signed by the author www.secretsofthegemtrade.com.

Buy it on Amazon: www.amazon.com

1 comment:

A Fly On The Wall said...

It was great to finally meet you Richard - I have to agree with you on these Winza Rubies - exquisite!

I attended Ed Boehm's Seminar and he covered the Winza Region in it! Very informative!

Robyn Hawk
Tucson Gem Show - Live!
http://tucsongemshow.blogspot.com