A Primer on Colour

Coloured gemstones are the hottest thing in the jewellery world right now and will only get stronger. There are wonderful opportunities for profits at all price points. Over the next few weeks, I will dig into several different aspects of stocking and selling colour. Today we will discuss how colour fits into different price points.

“No matter which market level you sell in, coloured gemstones should be an important part of your business..”
High end (above USD 5000)
You are probably very familiar with the “Big Three” of colour: RubySapphire and Emerald. They are gaining strength and prices are rising. Look for higher profit potentials in the areas of unique or lesser-known stones.
Spinel is an up and comer in the high-end market. It comes in virtually every other colour imaginable, providing a diverse palette of colour for designers. Fine Spinel is scarce and has a price point to match. It is durable enough to last for generations. Several other stones like Opal, Alexandrite, TsavoriteTanzanite and some of the more rare gems that can fit into the high-end category. With any very expensive colour, be sure to have a proper laboratory report to document any treatments. Some treatments like heat may be acceptable but others, like Beryllium infusion, do not belong in this market.
Mid-range (USD 500-5000) 
Commercial qualities of the Big Three are holding steady with decent supplies and slowly rising prices. However, at the mid-range price points you can have a lot of fun with colour and get 200-500% mark-ups. Price points are affordable but still high enough to fit into the luxury category. The entire spectrum of colour is available in durable stones.
Tourmaline comes in every colour of the rainbow, often with multiple colours within one stone. Garnets are durable and plentiful in many different colours. Cabochons and carved ornamentals add variety and texture to jewellery designs. Even meteorites are fair game. Attending shows that specialize in colour, like the Tucson Shows in the US can open your eyes to the endless possibilities of the mid-level market for colour. Consumers at this level are comfortable with most treatments as long as they know about them. Get lab reports on the more expensive stones.
Low end (under USD 500) 
Many fine jewellers are reluctant to carry low end in the belief that it cheapens their image. But if displayed and sold properly, low end colour can enhance your reputation as a knowledgeable jeweller. This is a perfect time to discuss how treatments and make pretty gemstones stones affordable for everyone, and why fine untreated stones are so valuable. Think of it as fun jewellery, not fine jewellery. It gives the customer a chance to get interested in colour, eventually leading to a desire for better stones.
Coloured gemstones stones set in silver are really taking off. Look for big, inexpensive faceted stones such as AmethystBlue Topaz and Aquamarine. Silver and Turquoise is making a comeback, both in Traditional and Modern styling. Big chunky coloured gemstone and beaded necklaces are getting popular again. Heavy treatments and even synthetics are common and sell well but should have disclosure. Profit potentials can be quite good. Making more than ten times your cost is not unheard of.
No matter which market level you sell in, coloured gemstones should be an important part of your business. Over the next few weeks, I will discuss several ways to stand out of the crowd with coloured stones. It is easier than you might think.

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