My life as a coloured gem liquidator

Bryan Pavlik
ICA Director
Interview with Bryan Pavlik, ICA Director
Mr Pavlik started out buying and selling cut gems, then added gem cutting to his skill set with a stint at the famed cutting centre of Idar-Oberstein. Eventually, he turned to liquidation of others’ excess and unused gem materials. Now, he travels the world to seek gems that, for one reason or another, haven’t sold, and matches these “unwanted” products with the right buyer.

Mr. Pavlik states that knowledge is essential to a successful liquidation business. He uses his cutting knowledge to help him to determine whether a stone can benefit from recutting, making it smaller, but also making it more marketable by eliminating distracting inclusions.

Market knowledge is also important. He tells of buying a quantity of fashioned tanzanite that a seller in Eastern Europe had been unable to sell for ten years. Mr. Pavlik bought the stones at a bargain price, recut them to improve their appearance, and resold them in the United States, where tanzanite was in demand, for a profit.

Turning to talk of the market, Mr. Pavlik explains that, while the US was once the biggest gem market, China, India and Russia are expanding rapidly. In addition, the American and European markets are highly saturated at this point, so everyone in those markets is looking for the next level of stones: spectacular specimens, especially untreated stones of any kind.

He says that this is where knowledge and disclosure come in: When you can explain to a customer the price difference between a treated and untreated stone, and even among different levels of treatment, the customer will understand what he can afford, making him more likely to buy.

He also says that brand names and certification are extremely important to today’s gem buyers, especially in China. All of these factors will lead to an increased need for trained gemmologists. The next decade, he says, will be the decade of the gemmologist, but only the best ones with the most up-to-date skills.

Mr. Pavlik tells the interviewer that he is starting to limit his participation in gem shows in order to concentrate on other areas of his business. The next stage will be investment in high-tech identification equipment. True to his personal pursuit of knowledge, he will also learn how to use it to enhance his own business.

Mr. Pavlik has been involved in many areas of the coloured gemstone industry, including mining, buying of rough, gem cutting, dealing in loose coloured stones and mineral specimens, jewellery, gemmological laboratory work, appraisals for the Austrian Government and liquidations. During his interviews, Mr. Pavlik discusses the liquidation business, the global gem market, current market fever and global gem shows.