Jungle-Gems.com Newsletter, May 2005

Hello from Teofilo Otoni, Minas Gerais Brasil. Once again we bring you news of the gemtrade here in Brasil, based on fact, rumor and gossip. Since my last newsletter I’ve been here in town working mostly with faceted goods for some of you readers. This month’s newsletter will therefore have more news from the praca and less mining news from the interior. The town has been generally busy post-Tucson, and we are all getting ready for August and our big Gem Show Season.

To begin this newsletter edition, I’ll give you some relevant facts regarding this years “Fair at The Source”, the XVth Annual FIPP 2005 International Gemstones Show and our XVIIth Annual Open Air Precious Stones Show, both well into their second decade. As you know from past newsletters and your own visits here, we have two shows every year in Brasil’s gemstone capital. This year, both promoters finally resolved how to work together and we will be having ONE BIG SHOW this year instead of two. The dates are Aug 23rd thru the 27th in Teofilo Otoni, Minas Gerais. To get here: book a flight to Belo Horizonte. There are various ways to get to Teofilo Otoni from Belo Horizonte. One way is to get in a taxi, right at the airport, and come direct to Teofilo Otoni (5 hours/@US$200). Most flights land in Belo in the morning hours, so the taxi is an enjoyable day-time drive through some scenic regions of Minas Gerais. There is also the less expensive and slower, but very comfortable option, of taking the “Leito Bus” (all night/@US$60). The buses are first class, with full-reclining comfortable seats. This option works well for those who would prefer to layover a day in Belo because the “Leito” only travels at night. This is also a good way to save a night’s hotel bill for those traveling on the cheap. I’ve spent many nights on the Leito; it’s not too bad even for a 6’5” guy like me. For those in a hurry, try to get the flight out of Pampulha Airport in Belo, direct to Teofilo Otoni or Governador Valadares (and taxi the rest of the way, 130km). There are also rental cars available in Belo, but I don’t recommend this option unless you are already experienced in foreign driving. When you get to Teofilo Otoni, any of the following hotels are clean, cheap, and within walking distance of the main displays of the show:

Nobre Palace 55-33-3521-5824
Lancaster Hotel 55-33-3522-3131
Hotel Capital das Pedras 55-33-3523-5400
Palmeiras Hotel 55-33-3523-5100
Real Palace 55-33-3521-3034

Oh yes, August is winter here... so we are all hunkered-down in our winter clothes as daytime temps fall into the 60’s, and night-time lows reach into the 50’s. However, a light jacket for most people is adequate for our winter weather. Below is a photo of last years’ show, taken from my 10th floor office window...

By the way, we hope to have our offices completely finished in time to receive some of you readers for the gemshow in August. Currently, we are remodeling and updating our offices and everything is “under construction”, meaning things are so disrupted, loud and dusty that we are not even working out of the office for now. But we should be back to normal by August...

Since I can’t even work in the office for now, this brings me to this coming month’s opportunity for those of you who like to obtain goods while I’m traveling in certain producing areas of Brasil. I’ll be contacting you regular clients individually, but if any of you readers are interested, I’ll be making buys for clients this month while I’m in “quartz country, Minas Gerais”. I’ll be going out to various producing minesites which have qtz clusters, Diamontina lasers, sometimes smoky qtz goods, lots of polished qtz and spheres... you know what I mean. Email me direct to the laptop at gemstone@cdlto.com.br if you want anything shipped from the mines direct to you. I’ll be on the road in other regions of Brasil as well during the month of June, stay tuned for next month’s newsletter for gemtrade related news from all over Brasil...

The praca here in Teofilo Otoni has been fun and interesting lately. I rarely get to spend so much time shopping in the praca as I have had for the last 2 months or so. Some interesting new goods include an eye-clean, decent-colored Iolite in commercial quantities. The goods are from a find so new that the owner of the cut-goods, which he bought from the producer in the praca, doesn’t even know what State the goods came from. They are trying to keep the source hush-hush. The gossip is that the site will produce more rough, and the price is expected to fall back into the US$6-US$10/ct range. Locally, they call this stone safira da agua (water sapphire). We’ll know in the next month or so if there is going to be any regular production... and we’ll probably find out where it is being produced too!

Other faceted goods of interest include a @1,000ct parcel of old production from The Morro Redondo Tourmaline mine. These goods have been put away by our friend Renato for about 10 yrs. This happens a lot, but these goods are not typical bi-colors, but fairly clean 4-color tourmaline. The range is from pink-green-clear-red, in stones mostly over 10ct/stone. The poor quality pics below DO NOT give a good representation. This parcel was available as of may 28, 2005.

There is very good news coming from various emerald producing regions of Brasil. This past month I looked at many high-end stones, some approaching loupe-clean quality with excellent color and fine crystallization. Watch out Muzo, Brasil is beginning to produce high-end emerald in quantities that any Colombian would envy.

Citrine rough: The pics below tell the story better than I could. Our friend Paulo has accumulated a pile of citrine rough to envy: 12,500KG currently for sale. The goods are from the Brejinha Bahia area, and have basically a four color range for a basic sort. Anybody interested in a pile of citrine?

There are also “piles” of other rough goods available. These goods are generally negotiated in lots of 5,000kg minimum, with an 18-20 ton container deal getting the preferred price. Goods that I looked into this month include 3 types of low-end “amethyst” all under US$5/kg, amazonite rough with fine color in big sizes (US$6/kg and 60,000kg available), I looked at a 23,000kg pile of Golden Rutilated quartz rough, mountains of rose quartz rough, jadeite rough, milky qtz, green gold, dendritic agate, and others.

Don’t forget that the tropical beaches of Brasil are for sale in a wide range of sizes and prices. Year-round beach weather at ideal latitudes with wonderful Bahian Beach Culture included at no extra cost. Attached are a couple of recent pics to remind you what you’re missing out on!

On a very sad note, one of our town icons of the gemtrade, Sr. Agenor Tavares, was laid to rest here in Teofilo Otoni on Friday May 28, 2005. He passed away at his estate in nearby Padre Paraiso. For all of you around the world who know Agenor, we regretfully pass along the news...

In closing, I’d like to remind you readers that all of the goods posted on the website are on liquidation sale, with negotiable prices. If any of you dealers are interested in negotiating multi-piece lots or even entire pages of the website, please let me know. Drop in at www.jungle-gems.com when you feel like negotiating some new goods.

Hope to see you again soon, with more rumors of the gemtrade, direct from the praca in beautiful downtown Teofilo Otoni, Brasil. ~ Kirk Bond, aka “Tomas” in Brasil