If you love rocks, fossils, gems, people and the desert then you need to take time to visit the Tucson Gem Show at least one year. The gem "show" is actually a series of shows that run from the end of January to the 2nd or 3rd week of February.
This year there were 43 different shows that spanned the entire city of Tucson. They ranged in size and set-up from the relaxed atmosphere of the Miners Co-op show (about 30 vendors with pop-ups, tents and motor homes selling in an open field in the north part of Tucson) to the more sophisticated and LARGE wholesale shows like GJX, Gem Mall and Holidome (with hundreds of vendors in what appear to be permanently placed "tents" that are the size of very large warehouses). If you have a wholesale license you really have to visit these large shows. I have never before seen plates of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and who knows what else lined up on tables sparkling up and down every row of the show. Most of these shows don't allow pictures but I was able to get this picture at one of the more relaxed shows, with the cooperation of the seller. Imagine this replicated over and over again as you go up and down the rows of vendors.
On the other end of the spectrum is the rock (a/k/a rough) used to create the gorgeous cut and polished gemstones I use in my designs. You'll find rough at just about every show in Tucson. It ranges from the small nuggets of emeralds and rubies to large chunks of semi-precious gemstones like amethyst, tiger eye and lepidolite. A lot of the semi-precious gemstone rough is stored and sold from buckets and big metal barrels. Here is just some of the rough I've seen in Tucson over the years:
|Tiger Eye Rough|
If you like to see the remnants of plants and animals from millions of years ago come to Tucson! I know our planet has a lot of things hidden inside because the supply of fossils at the Tucson shows has never diminished in the years I've been going to the show. Here are some of the cool fossils you can find in Tucson:
Although gems and minerals are the focus of the show there is always lots more to see. Here are some cool metal sculptures:
You can also find items for home decor such as gemstone bowls and a table top made from rock. That is my mom standing next to the table top for perspective.
So, if you have some free days in February next year take a trip to Tucson and see all the amazing beauty and bounty that mother nature provides for all of us who love gems!