ICA CEO Message

Posted By: Douglas Hucker News,
Douglas Hucker

During the course of each year, we typically find ourselves and our activities influenced by annual events.  Religious holidays, New Year celebrations, national holidays and such.  They have been engrained into our DNA and all, or most, have traditions associated with them.  After having an uninterrupted record of attending the Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows for several decades I have to say that the same phenomenon inhabits my psyche every year as early February approaches.

I am certain that many of you feel the same.  The allure of attending the most incredible industry event entirely focused on colored gemstones and gem materials is something that gem enthusiasts find irresistible.

We love getting up close and personal with our favorite gemstone treasures, perusing aisle after aisle of gems brought in from every far flung corner.  We delight in new discoveries.  Remember the first time you saw a Paraiba?  Purple garnets?  Alexandrites from Brazil?   The shocking allure of Tanzanites?  Flaming red Spinels and the emergence of teal gemstones as the hottest of trends?  That is not to ignore the opportunity to admire endless displays of our standby favorites ruby, sapphire and emerald. 

Tucson is unquestionably the place to see what is new, what is hot, and what is the availability of our trusted standards.  For gem lovers the excitement is palpable and the experience moving. But working the shows as a professional requires discipline and planning if it is to be a financially successful experience.  With that in mind I would like to offer some simple guidelines that help avoid the sensory overload that can occur.  For Tucson veterans these may seem obvious but give them a glance.  For newcomers, these tips can turn a fun but relatively unproductive trip into an enjoyable and profitable one.

Rule 1:  Plan

Before making your, trip ask yourself what kinds of purchases could strengthen your success in the coming years.  If you are a retailer that does significant manufacturing for your store or have a robust repair department plan to fill in on the basics that fill those needs.  Your most profitable discovery may be new sources of calibrated replacement gemstones. 

Not sure what colors will be hot for 2024-2025?  Go to https://www.fashiontrendsetter.com/v2/ and click on Trends.  Yes, we have all learned by now what the Pantone "Color of the Year" is but unless you intend to have a store full of peach fuzz you need to see the entire range of color palates that the fashion industry will be using for the next 18 to 24 months.

Review your inventory for the price points that are strong as well as those that seem to be missing, coordinate with the colors that will be trending and then visit www.gemguide.com for invaluable pricing information for most of the major gemstones.

Rule 2:  Buy Sensibly, but Buy

The most common mistake, or regrets I hear from buyers attending Tucson is about ”the one that got away.”  When you are in the midst of arguably half of the available gemstones in the entire world it is easy to assume that they will be there tomorrow, and worse yet, they will be available after the show.  The supply and price you have been looking for will be unlikely to be duplicated on demand with a quick phone call or email after the show.  Do not let the exquisite selection at the shows fool you into thinking that gemstones are like electronics on Amazon.  If you find what you like, what you need, make the purchase.

Rule #3:  Understand Lighting

Whenever possible, judge the gemstones you are considering buying by the kind of lighting that is in your store or office.  Most warm colors like reds, yellows, browns, and oranges will be most attractive under warm incandescent lights.  The cooler color of blues, greens and teals will appear best under cooler white, fluorescent light.  Exhibitors understandably try to light their cases with light sources that will enhance the appearance of their gems.  Try to view the gems you are considering under a variety of lights to best understand how they will appear in your place of business.  You might consider purchasing a penlight that can provide both kinds of lighting.  Also, when selecting a single or a few gems from a parcel, make sure to remove the gems that interest you and view them individually to best see how the color holds up when not drawing color from the rest of the gems in the parcel.

Rule #4:  Deal with Trusted Sources

All ICA members sign a precise Code of Ethics and adhere to stringent ethical practices in their businesses.  If you want to be sure you are dealing with a trusted source, work with ICA members.  Visit our website www.gemstone.org/events/  and find the ICA members and their booth numbers at the GJX Show and at the AGTA GemFair Tucson show.  Follow us on social media at #ICAMember, #ICAinTucson, and #ColorTheWorld for continued posts and reels sharing the experience of Tucson.  Always ask questions and be sure that the commercial documents you are provided with at point-of-sell include the details as they were presented.

Rule #5:   Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

I know this may seem frivolous, but you are going to be working in the Sonoran Desert.  The beautiful mid 70’s temperatures and sunshine are wonderful in Tucson in February,  but it comes at a cost.  Dehydration can be a real problem if you don’t up your water consumption during the show. Bring a water bottle (and chapstick) with you.  Use them continually during the show and I promise you will feel better and perform better.

For you veterans, I look forward to seeing you, either on the show floor or at the many social events that take place during the show.  For you newcomers, if you see me, please introduce yourself and we can share some gem show stories, or email me at doug@gemstone.org.