When I say the Gem Show I am really not stating it correctly because the “Tucson Gem and Mineral Show” actually consists of 45 gem and/or mineral shows happening all at the same time in Tucson. It is the LARGEST colored gemstone show in the WORLD! When driving around Tucson, you see tents everywhere, with few spaces for parking. What that means is you pick the show(s) you want to go to and find a parking place near by and walk the rest of the time.
My friend and I started at the AGTA (American Gem Trade Association) Show at the Tucson Convention Center. This show is THE show and not open to the public. The benefit of getting into this show was that once you had a badge from them, you could then get into any of the rest of the shows easily. It ended the next day so it had to happen then or wait until next year. This is the show where you find all of the “high” (and I mean HIGH) end stones and jewelry. Row after row of diamonds, rubies, sapphires etc. Frankly if you were looking for a specific stone, say an emerald, and you didn’t have anyone to recommend a vendor, you would be shopping all day long in just that show because there were so many vendors and literally tons of stones to choose from. This picture shows just part of all of the booths that were there.
I was very excited to actually see and touch Red Beryl! I had only read about and seen pictures of Red Beryl. It is very rare and very expensive. It is mined in Utah and current market pricing is approximately $10,000/Carat! The gentleman I spoke with was surprised that I knew it to be Beryl and not Rubies. He said he was getting tired of explaining to buyers the difference. Of course I read the little sign in the case stating it was Red Beryl! I did take his card, a girl can dream can’t she?!
I did see a ton of turquoise beads, but 99% of them were extremely to small for Gem Lady Treasures collars. I did find a couple of strands of 10mm square Sleeping Beauty Turquoise that was incredible, however at the price he wanted, it was not even close to the price I needed to keep our collars at their current prices. The Sleeping Beauty mine is located in southern Arizona and from what I understand it is currently closed. Depending on who you ask, it is either all mined out or just closed. What makes Sleeping Beauty Turquoise so wonderful is the beautiful blue color and the complete lack of matrix (veining) in the material.
Another booth that I had a lot of fun at was full of ‘necklaces’ made from rough gemstones that were partly polished. The stones were graduated and threaded. They would need to be re-strung with knots in-between the stones (to protect them) and then a clasp added. She had so many different and beautiful colored gemstones. She could tell that I was a gemstone lover at heart and started showing me her really good stuff (read: $$$$$). She pulled out an Aquamarine ‘necklace’ and I fell in love. Aquamarine is my birthstone so I have a great fondness for the stone. This necklace was a beautiful deep blue, a far cry from the washed out blue you so commonly see. It was very difficult but I left the necklace with her – but I did take her card!
On our way out, we stopped by a small exhibit of The Smithsonian Muesums National Gem Collection. A couple of displays that caught my eye were a dish full of Natural South Sea Pearls and my fav, The Logan Sapphire. This 423 ct sapphire from Sri Lanka is one of the largest faceted sapphires in the world. It is surrounded by 16 ctw of diamonds. A true beauty!
In our next blog is the Gem and Jewelry Exchange (GJX) Show!