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[Tucson 2000] View from within


#1

Tucson, I arrived in Tucson after a third stop in Quartzsite. I
tandemed from Wiley Well, Quartzsite with a like minded lady I met
while rockhounding. We arrived late and stopped about 17 miles out
hoping to find a room in a new Super 8. No way, this town fills up
almost from the California border.

We made our way in early in the morning, and cognizant of the various
shows starting and ending schedules, began to make our rounds. Many
shows require wholesale registration, and at least a tax resale
license will get you the badge necessary for entry into the hallowed
halls.

There were venues to feed the appetite of all potential buyers, and
then there are those that are so mixed, it was hard to tell. The
biggies for the finished jewelry buyers are AGTA and GJX. Beaders had
a choice of at least two, Best Bead Show and Whole Bead Show. Persons
fabricating, but using some finished components were also able to find
materials at these two shows as well as many others.

Equipment and rough materials were to be found in abundance at
Congress Street, where at least two more tents were full of sellers.
Along I10’s frontage road were African dealers with wood, fabric and
brass, as well as Tribal beads which are seeing a renewal of interest.

Fossil and Mineral dealers were at the Executive Inn as well as other
locations. There was an abundance of all of these materials, and it
was hard to see buyers for all that was brought in.

55 gallon drums of every imaginable type of rough was all over the
place. Some of these had Air Freight stickers showing how they had
arrived. The freight bill was not a minor consideration. Many of these
materials will not be sold and it is not feasible to return them home.
A new industry has developed, warehouses storing materials from this
year into the next. This is also happening in Denver.

It is mind boggling to see hundreds of barrels of every imaginable
rough material. Lapis to Rose quartz. At the Howard Johnson downtown
there was a tent greater than any Circus had ever installed, filled
with Fossils. Dinosaur bones to eggs, skeletal structure of a bear
larger than a dino. Petrified wood slabs the size of a large dining
room table.

Amber was very abundant, Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Baltic, South
American, Dominican, tables and tables of it in every form
imaginable, all sold by the gram. Silver from Bali from .55 to 1.00
per gram. Turquoise from China, Pearls from every quadrant of the
World.

Unlike some of Quartzsite, there was nothing Flea Marketish about
Tucson. Nothing the purist could really complain about except the over
abundance. Certain dealers had their loyal and repeat customers. The
retail buyer, the public do not show up until today for the TGMS Show
at the Convention Center. There all prices are retail, no keystone, or
volume discounts.

Personal notes, there were some very trusting dealers there. I had
forgotten a backup book of checks and was low from the start. I saw a
couple of rings I was interested in and the dealer did not take credit
cards. He, Kenneth Huang of New York gave me the rings and asked me to
send him a check from home. Amazing, I had never bought from him
before. A rough dealer gave me some material just asking that I show
it to others and refer them to him. Just human interest events that
show the basic good nature of some of our fellow man. Quite impressive
to me.

Internet friends, I will miss tomorrows gathering at the Executive
Inn, I did want to be there, but after over two weeks away from home,
it was time to return and I left last night. Drove towards the
California Border, got tired and pulled in a rest stop and slept until
dawn. Drove the rest of the way this morning.

I did attend the gathering David Arens had arranged with fellow
Internet friends. there were some 46 of us, none known to one another
before, but all friends at the end. Some of the attendees were Dave
and his wife, Alan Revere, Amy O’Connell, Ahmed Shareek, John Scully,
Charles Lewton- Brain, Mark Liccini and bride, and more I am sorry to
say I did not write down their names. We will know one another online.
It seems we get to know one another from our posts and pretty well
know there will be meeting of the minds. this certainly happened.

Ahmed Shareek had a very difficult time in getting a Visa. He was
initially denied as US Immigration officials seem to think everyone
wants to enter and disappear. Had he been refused a second time, he
would have not been able to reapply for three years. Mark Liccini was
very instrumental in assisting Ahmed with faxes and phone calls to
validate him. They are both incredible persons. Ahmed is as sweet as
can be and his material was breath taking. Mark’s rough was gorgeous.
Everything he represents it to be. Ahmed’s son wants to go to
LegoLand, and Ahmed hopes to get longer than a 30 day visa and bring
his family along next year.

While walking around wearing my Orchid pin, I saw a dealer wearing a
badge that said “I Orchid, do you?” It was Ray Grossman designer of
the Jump Ringer. When I identified myself to him, he came out and gave
me the biggest happiest hug ever. It was so fun. The Sparkie
demonstrator gave me Orchid earrings he had designed for an earlier
show for Orchidites to find one another. These happenings can only
grow.

I saw Bob Jones of Rock & Gem, he commented attendance was down from
last year, which was not a good year at all. The messing around with
the dates, the inclusion of more tents and dealers have left several
unhappy. Some long time participants will not return. The extension of
the time without the increase of customers is not working for all. Two
to three weeks to sit in a room with your merchandise is hard to say
the least. Some changes will have to happen. The feeling is there is
too much promoter greed.

This spilled over into Quartzsite too. The Pow Wow was moved one week
earlier and shortened by one day to accommodate Tucson, this did not
work for the Pow Wow dealers or customers at all. Some Quartzsite
dealers are there from Jan 7th through Feb. 15. They are worn out.
Lets see what happens next year.

I had a great time, met wonderful people, and recommend this to
anyone that can plan it into their schedule. I slept in my van on
hotel parking lots, took showers in friends rooms, and kept expenses
to a minimum.

Same time, next year,
Teresa


#2

Wish I could have been in your pocket so to speak… I got to attend
only one show two yrs ago… My husband was " urged" to let me go
once…(We were on a golfing trip to the Boulders near flagstaff and
it was a sunny day…guess what the next day held…it poured…
Trouble to say the least…) I had a grand time but too short for one
afternoon… I could only complain about having to register at each
hotel etc… But now when one can also get to meet the orchidians that
would really sell me to push harder… I would love to meet some of
the names on the list I see… Lucky you… Wonderful description
of all going on… Thanks for the fun time with your eyes… calgang