We've been in Cambodia for a fair bit of time now, part of the reason we've not been updating much.
It's VERY hot over here. Though nowhere nearly as humid as Singapore, the Sun seems to scorch through everything. It's almost as if there is a giant magnifying glass over the city, focusing the rays upon us.
Be that as it may, this is home to a unique gem - one found nowhere else on Earth - Blue Zircon.
Not too long ago, this brilliant gemstone was practically unknown in the gem world. Since its introduction at the major gem trade shows, however, demand has soared.
We are fans of blue gems and the Blue Zircon of Cambodia is especially eye-catching. With a refractive index higher than even that of diamond, it has a brilliance and fire that is unrivalled.
To get the blue colour, rough zircon (coloured anything from brown to red) is heated and then allowed to cool. As with all things in nature, this process produces unpredictable results. The resulting zircon may become yellow, colourless or, hopefully, blue.
What's special about Cambodia's Zircons is that they are the only ones that can turn blue. This phenomenon is, as yet, not fully understood.
Having been to a number of gem shows and exhibitions, we are noticing a trend that is slightly disturbing.
The Blue Zircon we are seeing now is getting deeper and deeper in colour - to the point where it looks more like London Blue Topaz than anything else. Likely, there is a new 'cooking recipe' in town and there is even the possibility of other chemicals being added to the new rough.
We much prefer the 'old' Blue Zircon, which has a slight hint of green and looks MUCH better than the over-saturated stuff we are seeing now.
It seems that, once again, someone has taken things too far. Yes, high saturation of colour is desirable in coloured gems, but there is such a thing as too much.
If history is anything to go by, there will be some disclosure report at some point (or maybe there already is one), hopefully in the near future, that reveals what this new process is and what its nature is, as well as how stable this new colour is.
That said, we are confident that 'old stocks' of Blue Zircon will rise in prices as they become more desirable than their oddly artificial-looking new variants.