The Tucson Gem Show

The Tucson Gem Show is the world’s largest venue for gems, beads, fossils, and minerals. The show takes over Tucson for three weeks starting in late January, and attracts more than 50,000 buyers and sellers from all over the world. Those statistics hardly describe the event though.

There Are Acres Of Dealers with tables piled high with diamonds, sapphires, beads, and jewelry supplies. It sometimes makes me suspicion just how rare some of these things really are. One thing does hold true from year to year though, high quality and rarity do command premium prices. In a venue this big, it becomes easy to learn and see the difference between high quality and medium quality.  I use this show to acquire most of the beads and supplies that I will need over the next year. I complement these with the beads I acquire in my travels throughout the year.

The Only Way To Work Through This Show in a reasonable amount of time is to choose a few of the better dealers and shop with them every year. As they get to know me better, they are more inclined to show me their most interesting merchandise. Sometimes, my husband will scout the outlying dealers hoping to find something unusual for me to look at. Every year there is a new mineral that seems to be popular. This year the mineral of choice was Ethiopian opal. In the past, most popular opals were found in Australia, but there are other opals found in other countries. The most interesting Ethiopian opals to me are the ones that flash a brilliant orange-yellow fire. I was fortunate to purchase a few strands of those beads and can’t wait to make them into special necklaces.

As I Write This, I am sitting in front of the piles of beads I bought this year, and can’t believe how much work is ahead of me. But, I’m already looking forward to doing the same thing next year.


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