I’ve never been to the annual February Tucson Gem and Mineral Show but I’ve heard many stories. I’m wondering, just how good is it really? Would any International Gem Society (IGS) members be willing to share their reviews of this event? What did you buy or what did you see that you wish you could have bought?
Get to Know Your Vendors at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
I’ve been to the Tucson show several times. Be careful, it’s very addictive! I’ve purchased two new colors of topaz, already faceted. One was labeled “glacier blue,” a very bright blue, deeper than Swiss Blue. The other was teal colored. I also purchased some lab-created emerald and several odd lots of faceted stones from vendors I’ve dealt with before.
Going to the show enables me to meet people face-to-face, which really means a lot for future purchases. I love visiting with people I’ve done business with before. Once I know the people I’m dealing with, my online/mail purchases are so much easier. I’ve also taken a faceting class there. There are many classes offered at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. They fill up fast (and so do the hotel rooms).
Be Ready to Track Down the Best Prices
I’ve been going to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show regularly for the past 15 years. I facet and I buy both rough and cut stones. It’s a very big show so it really helps if you know what you want and can stay long enough to search for the best prices. The prices are not as good as going directly to the mines in Asia, but since I don’t want to travel now, Tucson is the next best thing. Prices can be very good to very expensive for the same things. I’m always trying to track down the sources if I’m going to buy quantity.
From Mammoth Tusks to Amethyst Chunks
You won’t believe what you’ll see until you actually go to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. The whole town is taken over by gem dealers, buyers, rock hounds, mineralogists, and geologists. Tucson is two weeks long and sports 25 shows with over 20,000 vendors. You’ll find everything. I mean everything, from a matched pair of 8′ long fossilized mammoth tusks to amethyst chunks the size of your fist. The finest emeralds, rubies, and diamonds, all at below wholesale prices. Tucson is the gemstone trading center of the world for those two short weeks. Most people plan a year ahead of time to make sure they have a place to sleep. Every hotel, motel, or dirt lot is turned into vendor space during the day and sleeping quarters at night.
Douglas LeGrand, GG
More IGS Member Reviews of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
- A double review, one by a professional gemologist who has attended Tucson many times and one by an amateur at the show for her first time.
- IGS member reviews of the 2002 show.
- Jeff Graham shares his Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in-depth reviews from 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
- IGS member Richard Edley’s review of the 2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.