As I crossed into Arizona from California, I became very excited. This was going to be my first trip to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, which ran from January 13th through February 14, 2015. I had been looking forward to this trip for months! I didn’t know what to expect other than what I read on the internet.
The name, Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, is a bit misleading because the show consists of many different exhibits, not just gems and minerals. Some exhibits are located in hotel rooms or in tents large and small set up in hotel parking lots along the highway. Many of the shows are named for the historic hotels from which they originated. Then there is the main indoor show at the Tucson Convention Center. At this show you can attend lectures and seminars , and see exhibits covering topics such as the Hope Diamond, NASA Moon Rock and the Faberge’ Egg Collection. I never made it to any of those because I found that the smaller venues were so interesting that I just couldn’t pull myself away during my brief stay in Tucson.
This fascinating (and free!) event has something for everyone. There are vendors selling beautiful gemstones and jewelry, as well as rough lapidary stones. If you are interested in fossils you will find them there – everything from giant prehistoric shark teeth to Native American relics, antiques, a cave bear skeleton, wooly mammoth fur, and dinosaur eggs. You also can visit a botanical garden filled with beautiful and interesting plants and flowers. I guess you might say, if it is found in nature, you find it at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.
The main focus of the show, though, is gems and minerals. Here you will find rough gemstones straight from the mine, as well as stones that are cut and polished. Buyers also can find an assortment of beautiful jewelry with gemstones set in gold, silver and copper. The different vendors’ displays were both aesthetic and informative. I was able to examine and hold gems that I would normally only read about. My favorites were the rubies and sapphires from Sri Lanka.
The exhibitors are also friendly and willing to answer questions and negotiateprices with you. If you are a gemstone cutter, there are many exhibitors from around the world selling rough opals, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and turquoise. Of course, all of these stones also can be purchased cut, polished, and ready for your favorite setting. Since the individual shows get very crowded during the day, it is imperative to get an early start in order to find available parking. (There are parking lots just a short walk from the shows, but these fill up very quickly. There are also shuttle buses from the parking lots to the main exhibit hall.)
I was able to meet several vendors at the Pueblo Show. Garrick Beck is the owner of Natural Stones and is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has a large assortment of stones, gemstones, fine beads, and crystals from which to choose. Another impressive vendor was Jill Michelle Crozier and her husband Logan. They own HP Silver and are located in Bisbee, Arizona. One of her specialties is designing beautiful earrings, rings and necklaces merging copper and silver. Her designs are elegant and show stopping. The craftsmanship is impeccable.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s show. I used Tucson Gem and Mineral Society‘s website for information about the show and local accommodations. Perhaps next year we can have an IGS group event!