I have already written Caitlin about this show and thought some others might be interested. My husband and I drove about 2+1/2 hours to Franklin, North Carolina. This is a beautiful part of the country. It's in the Appalachian mountains and the famous Blueridge Pkwy is nearby. I had no idea that until the late 1800's or so there were many mines in and around Franklin. They mined Rubies,Sapphires,Garnets and Moonstones in North Carolina. A lot of these mines are still open for tours and mining if an indiv. wants to mine for his own gems. In fact a gem quality ruby was mined by an indiv. in 1993. It was 1040 carats. In Franklin there are numerous shops that sell nothing but gemstones.. We drove to the Franklin for a wholesale gem show. I didn't expect a big show or a big crowd but I was impressed. The place was packed. It looked like the vendors were selling a lot..There were about 175 dealers. There was quite a price range for semi precious gem stone beads and pearls. There was even one vendor who sold loose diamonds. There weren't as many pearl dealers as there were gem stone bead dealers. In fact the selection of pearls was poor and over-priced,IMO. However I have to stipulate that my visit was a whirlwind tour. I only had about 3 hours in the show and that was not enough time to get an honest impression. It appeared to me that the focus was on semi-precious gem stones (with the exclusion of pearls). Citrine,quartz, garnet,peridot I happened upon a wholesale dealer who is based here in Atlanta. I was impressed with her and her merchandise. Her company's name is "New Century Wholesale,Inc.
Most of the dealers don't have web sites. I suppose they do most of their business thru trade shows.
As I said there was quite a variance in the prices and probably the quality.
There were 15mm shell pearls for $15.00.(16inches) good luster.Others sold for $25.00 at another vendor and they weren't any nicer..
-FW,8+1/2 peacock ringed pearls for $7.00. (poor quality)
-6mm button pearls,nice luster $4.00
There were some large pearls,nearly round for $90.00 a strand. I didn't have time to examine but they didn't look like $90.00 to me. The luster wasn't that great etc.
-large(12mm) ,of faceted rondells and balls,rutilated quartz,smoky,lemon $10- $12.00 each
6mm faceted balls of aquamarine,garnet,citrine $10.00- $12.00
amethyst ? (not sure) $8.00
I saw 7 or 8 small Tahitian gray pearls.(not pretty)
It's hard to say how good the prices were. I am sure there are websites that sell for the same or less. Then again, it's nice to see the merchandise in person before you buy. I have no idea about the quality of the colored gem stones. Several places had prices that were astronomical . Perhaps they had better quality. From a brochure I got the following websites. They were at the show. There was a lot of buying.