How Will the Covid-19 Surge Impact Supply Chains for Pearls and Gemstones in the Near Future.

How Will the Covid-19 Surge Impact Supply Chains for Pearls and Gemstones in the Near Future.

Last week I read a report by Stuart Robinson, the VP of Gemworld International about how he sees the impact of the pandemic on the fragile supply chains of the gemworld. It's not good...

This recent surge of the Covid Omicron variant will be the big story for the Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show coming up on February 1, 2022. Tucson, as it is familiarly know, is the largest gem show in the world. It was canceled in 2021 and in the meantime, the other large gem show, Hong Kong has been curtailed because of quarantine and for the political unrest there.

I have gone to Tucson for 18 years, and rely on the supply that I can visually buy when I am not able to personally go to all of my sources around the world. There are 40 different shows that can have as many as hundreds of vendors in each of them, all around the entire city of Tucson. It is an overwhelming display of what the world has to offer.

At this point, travel is limited from overseas, from which most of the vendors and many buyers come.

As well, the mining and international buyers to mining locations have been disrupted. Now there are shortages from East Africa, which has become a major source of important gemstones in recent years. The miners have left to find other work and the longer it takes international buyers to come back, the fewer miners return. East Africa is now the most prolific producer of colored stones and what is happening there is happening in Asia and the rest of the world. Hence, prices are strong and availability is scarce.

The other market, and more important to me, is the impact on the pearl industry. Unlike the gemstone market, if the mining stops, the stones are still there. But with pearls, the industry lost an entire cycle of implanting mollusks for pearl production. There will be a shortage of fine pearls in the market until 2025 because two harvests were lost because of Covid. The most dramatic shortage will be in the saltwater pearls...Akoyas, South Seas, and Tahitians. Freshwater will have a similar shortage, but it will be more dramatic with the marine pearls.

Consequently, I will be investing in pearls beyond my usual "buy" for the year. I will be looking for the most beautiful and lustrous pearls to have in stock for you. I will try to anticipate my need for gemstones and stock up on those, as well. If I see something I like, now's the time to get it. It might not be easy to source later.

What would you buy?

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