The legendary Tucson Gem Show is the second largest and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world, and a great celebration of all things gem, mineral, fossil, and jewelry related.
Living in Tucson, twice a year I am excitedly waiting for this extravaganza for buyers, collectors, and enthusiasts. Three Butterflies LLC, my handmade jewelry company, benefitted many times from the rare finds and unusual stones from these wholesale venues.
It is also a crossroads of cultures and languages. Thousands of vendors are selling ancient and modern things that sparkle and shine for every budget and taste. The first show in late January and February 2020 was what we always excitedly wait for. 40+ venues, thousands of vendors opened up for the excited buyers selling incredible stones and minerals.
The Fall Show in September was very different. The world was changed by a pandemic. The Gem Show was changed by it too…. Instead of 4 big tents (w/approx.. 800 vendors/tent), they had one tent halfway filled with socially distanced vendors. The loud, crowded, and exciting tents were quiet and somber with very few people looking. It was sad to see everyone with masks and gloves, being afraid to touch things…. but that’s the way it had to be. The other venue, which was also open, had a half-filled wing, instead of the 4 huge wings they used to have. Instead of spending days of looking and buying at the show, we spent 3 hours altogether in both of these wholesale venues.
It was worth looking at!!! We still have unusual finds!
We found a beautiful blue Afghan Lapis. Our regular sales source was there. He was telling us how hard it is to get good quality stones and how this virus changed mining… We believed him. Prices were up everywhere on almost every stone and minerals!!!
I found great quality Amazonite at a good price and some very unusual Krobo glass beads from Ghana Africa. These Krobo beads have a very interesting pattern. It is a beautiful vintage batch from a local estate sale. I can’t wait to work with it!
The best find was Kyanite. Up to now, Kyanite was more of a collector’s gem than a mainstream gem. Its color will be the color of 2021. It has a fine greyish-blue tone, which is often inconsistent with lighter and darker color zones and streaks. There is no Synthetic Kyanite! Be careful not to scratch Kyanite gems as they are quite soft for a gemstone.