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Thursday, March 17, 2011

I haven't been writing much of late but when I'm already working seven days a week to get my jobs done, I can't seem to justify a lot of time writing as well. Hmmm.......which is more important: getting the customer's jobs done or writing on the blog??? I guess it depends on whether you're reading me or buying from me. But I am still here. I did get one of the new opals mentioned in my last post made up into a ring and a picture of it is here. The new opal beads and black keshi pearl strand (also pictured) are also both strung and ready to go.

I was recently informed by my diamond supplier that prices on all of the range of goods I sell have just gone up (again). It is another indication of just how rare the goods I sell are getting. More interestingly however is this. I used to get a lot of people in complaining about how De Beers was a monopoly and all diamond prices were falsely inflated. They all seemed to think that in an open market the prices would collapse. Well as it happens De Beers now controls less than 40% of the market and no longer is holding a monopoly on diamond production and sales. And yet, not only haven't prices collapsed, they've been fairly steadily going up (with the exception of a slight dip at the beginning of the recession). I have to conclude that the prices De Beers charged were not falsely inflated. Of course when you think about the fact that a ton (yes 2000 lbs) of rock has to be removed to just end up with about a carat of diamond material it becomes pretty apparent that the pricing is there for a reason.

Speaking of pricing, gold has continued to stay at extremely elevated levels (around $1400/0z). I was previously of the opinion that this was a temporary increase and that eventually it would begin to drop. While I still believe the price will come down a bit at some point (say if the economy improves, the Middle East calms down and Japan survives its latest woes) I no longer believe it will ever return to the levels it was at a few years ago. Now hopefully (and because I consistently lose when gambling or investing in the stock market---oh wait that's the same thing) I will have just jinxed gold prices and they will plummet shortly. But I wouldn't count on it. The bad news about this is that, well yes, everything is more expensive. The good news is that everything you already own is worth more! I am actually anticipating more increases in the jewelry industry across the board. Better sapphires and other colored stones have gone up significantly as well. Due to various practices in the industry becoming more common (sustainable mining practices, better pay for miners and laborers associated with the industry, stricter environmental laws) things are just simply going to cost more. Not necessarily a bad thing that these things are taking place but neccesary if we want the planet to survive. And for those of you who want these things to be taking place please note they do cost more money so you need to be prepared to pay more.

My occasional assistant Jason got a very nice picture of the boulder opal in the ring but, trust me, it looks even better in real life. The black keshi pearls pictured are the closest thing you can get to natural pearls these days. Unlike Chinese keshi pearls, these pearls start entirely spontaneously after the large oysters have been implanted with bead nucleii to start making cultured salt water pearls. The Chinese keshi pearl process is a little different and done purposely to create those "keshi" pearls. The South Sea process is entirely random and there is never a way to know if a secondary keshi pearl will form.

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