Gemstone and jewelry trends are usually predicted by what is “hot” at the major gem shows held throughout the year in North America. Each year’s forecasting cycle begins with the annual AGTA Gem Fair in Tucson. The 2010 Tucson show confirmed what most in the gem industry already knew – a slumping economy would make cost the decisive buying factor for retailers, consumers and wholesale loose gemstone buyers alike.Popular top selling loose gemstones at Tucson were the predictable affordable gems such as Quartz, Topaz and Garnet. Tourmaline and Spinel were forecast to do well throughout 2010 too. Garnets, which have long been the poor man’s substitute for ruby, are always a natural choice for budget-conscious designs. Yet surprisingly, “go green” jewelry inspired by Pantone’s Fashion Color reports has introduced some interesting and very affordable gems back into the market. Dyed green Quartz, Tsavorite Garnet, green-colored Idocrase and heat-treated Amethyst are attractive and affordable gemstone jewelry choices for the “must have” eco-friendly look.At the recent JCK Las Vegas show, some designers included low-end jewelry lines – starting at $300 and up – in the prestigious high-end Couture show. This June 2010 show did not reveal a “hot” fashion or gemstone trend as has happened in other years. The mid-year forecast is that ready-to-wear and wholesale loose gemstone success stories will continue to be determined by budget-minded shoppers. Even bridal jewelry has seen a surge in popularity for modestly priced topaz engagement rings in lieu of far more expensive diamond solitaires.As the 2010 season rolls into Fall / Winter colors and textures, competition to capture the consumer’s attention and pocketbook will continue to push affordability over exclusivity. As more designers and jewelers diversify to accommodate lower price points, the market should see a refreshing interest in lesser known, yet very beautiful natural gems.Learn more about affordable Jewelry and Loose Gemstones at Anil B. Dholakia, Inc. – gem merchants since 1950.