Sunday, February 08, 2009

Tucson Day 3-4

by Richard W. Wise


Grim Scene at Centurion:

Centurion, the ultra-luxury, by invitation show, where retailers are put up, entertained, wined and dined was quiet. The show started Saturday and by the time we visited on Tuesday, the normally bustling venue was eerily quiet. As the picture shows, the only people visible in the aisles were the bored exhibitors.

Boom Strategy, Bust Market?

Exhibitors we spoke with admitted sales declines of as much as 90% over last year, raising the question whether a luxury selling strategy, conceived during a boom economy, can survive in a major downturn. We have attended each year for the past four, but only on day-passes. I am from New England and if I accept your hospitality, I incur an obligation. This, of course, is just what the show organizers count on---and it works, at least it did in a boom economy. Rebekah and I placed a couple of orders and did enjoy a complimentary lunch, dinner and a rollicking after-dinner show featuring the Pointer Sisters. Well I never said I was a Boy Scout.

An Evening with the Hope, Wittelsbach, Great Table and the French Blue.

No, it's not what you think. I didn't really get to cuddle with the world's most famous diamonds. What I did get to do is spend the evening with Scott Sucher and his case full of replicas. (photo below right shows the broad side of the Tavernier Blue; to the right is the narrow side. Note the tiny shards of brilliance)

Scott, you may recall from a previous post, is the man responsible for making historically accurate replicas of the Tavernier Blue, French Blue and Hope Diamonds. For those of you attending the Tucson shows, all three are currently on view at the Smithsonian Exhibit at the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Show. If you know your diamond history, you are aware that The Tavernier Blue was the original great blue diamond sold to Louis XIV in 1679 by the French merchant adventurer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.

Coming to a Bookstore Near You: the French Blue:

What you may not know is that I am currently in the editing stage of an historical novel based on the life of Jean Baptiste Tavernier. Having a chance to handle historically accurate replicas of several famous stones Tavernier talks about in his 17th Century best seller, The Six Voyages... was a treat indeed. Tavernier, the son of a map maker, had a talent for drawing. The Tavernier Blue replica is based upon Tavernier's own sketches that were published in his book. He also made drawings of the Great Table, Tuscan Yellow, and The Great Mogul's diamonds. Scott brought along his complete collection including these diamonds and a great many more.

What struck me immediately is that the Tavernier exhibited almost no brilliance. It does not have a window--it is a window. From one side, a near to perfect kite-shaped window; from the other--a larger, less symmetrical window, but a bit more brilliance.

In My Next Post:

Ever see a truly fine natural pearl necklace, well neither had I?

The ISG "Let The Science Speak" Seminar, Much ado about...

Sales at AGTA and GJX.

Stay tuned....

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

Buy it on Amazon:

No comments: