The show was quieter than usual. Trade dealers think this is because the local population is nervous about the current influx of political and economic refugees to this part of southern Germany. Anyway, the result was a good buying environment for those with money to spend and Helen was able to find a superb selection of coloured gemstones and opals for her customer commissions. Ably assisted and accompanied by Idar opal dealer Mannfred Weitz, she secured some magnificent pairs of opal earrings and loose opals. She also saw, for the first time, the newly reported Ethiopian black opal material, and bought some rough for her collection. The walnut sized nodules of Ethiopian black opal are held in a loose light grey tuff matrix and are clearly natural and not artificially coloured, unlike the dyed dark Ethiopian opal seen previously.
A number of quality silver jewellery dealers had excellent unique gem and fossil set pieces which were competitively priced for repeat customers with cash in hand. Moonstone is in short supply and so Helen purchased a number of striking pieces which will not be easily replaced. Her favourite purchase is a delicate bracelet of tiny opalised ammonites in silver. The best gem has to be a pink sapphire from Sri Lanka with striking golden brown rutile needles. This is a very rare specimen and would make a lovely centre piece for a ring, if it isn’t snapped up first by a mineral collector.