[Editor’s Note :: This article is for dealers attending the Tucson show, but it gives consumers a good idea of how things are going, and prices are rocketing this year, for some time now.]

February’s annual Arizona gathering of the world’s gem dealers, rock hounds, crystal sages, and purveyors of gems and minerals kicks off at the beginning of the month.

Prices are going up as mining declines and supply goes down, and fine goods get harder to find. As stock gets harder to replace, prices soar.

Besides the big story on ever-increasing gem prices, expect to encounter the same gemstone treatments that have been percolating for years—lead- and silica-glass–filled rubies, beryllium-diffused stones, titanium-­diffused synthetic sapphires (sold as natural stones), and cobalt-coated tanzanite (to enhance color). Not everything, however, is same same. Below we bring you five timely topics to keep in mind as you peruse the shows in search of color.

  1. Expect Sticker Shock
  2. Go Blue or Go Home
  3. Compare Prices Before You Buy
  4. Consider the Alternatives
  5. Buy Estate

See the full article at JCK Online about :: Local Color: Our Inside Guide to Gems and Jewelry in This Season’s Hottest Hues