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[Tucson 2001] Do and Don'ts

Hmmm…Just read Farooq’s response to David Re: purchasing Mexican
Fire Opal from Tucson. I’m getting ready to head to Tucson in
February for the Gem and Jewelry show – my first show.

Any other “do and don’ts” type tips for first timers like myself?

Thanks much!


Bet you’ll get lots of responses on this one. Here’s a recent
experience. The buyer at our store got a ruby from one of our
regular suppliers. I got a look at it later, and mentioned to her
that this was a good example of Hmong Su (?) and that I wasn’t
perticularly fond of these and questioned the integrity and
durability of the stone. They had no idea what they had and were
shocked that they had purchased a “fixed” stone. Of course, they
never believe I know what I’m talking about (just a bench jeweler,
you know), so they showed it to their GIA trained gemologist who
confirmed that it was, of course, Hmong Su. These rubies look very
nice without looking too close. They are really a sort of
glass-filled specimen, heated in a matrix of flux which fills the
flaws of an otherwise unusable stone. I’m not going to list all the
boogers out there you need to watch out for, just throw in this one
and let the others on the forum join the fun.

I too Am getting ready for the Show as a Dealer (2001 is going to be
my second time ) , I too would like to read other peoples comments on
this matter , but here is my 1/2 cts worth…

Do -
* Book your hotel NOW !
* Join the Annual Dinner of orchid
* book your Flights early too.

Donts * Cant think of them right now

Ahmed shareek

Do’s - Go to Tucson it is the biggest, best, show in the world.

Don’ts - Do not become a victim. Every dealer in Tucson knows their
stock inside out. You may find an occasional misplaced item, but it
will be a mistake. To knowledgeably buy in Tucson you must know the
grades of goods, the current market, and the availability of the
product. Good buys do exist in Tucson, bargains do not. Know the
difference or you will be a victim.

Gerry Galarneau

I’ve only been to the show twice and can’t think of many "don’ts."
As far as “dos” go, the main one I can think of is to:

Have lots of money! You will probably spend much more than you
intend to the first time or three.


Gerry Galarneau’s comment on Tucson is quite accurate. The other
reality about buying in Tucson is that in order to truly save money
you need to have a fairly reasonable sized spending budget. In order
to pay for all the costs associated with the trip I have found that
you need to be spending at least $10,000. This is based on the
assumption that, with careful and planned buying, you should be able
to save about 15%. Airfare, hotel, rental car and meals for a week
easily chews up the $1500 you save. Of course you have to remember
that there is no place else where you will get to see as wide a
selection of material in one place and for that alone it can be worth
going, even if you only have a $500 budget. Daniel R. Spirer, GG Spirer
Somes Jewelers 1794 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140

Hi David L. Huffman: Thank you for displaying your courage in telling
the Hmong Su buyers that they been took! I wish more “just bench
jewelers” ,Ha,Ha would take more time and courage when speaking with
the general or generally nieve customers. The number of people that
don’t ask or wont ask out of fear og not “appearing” smart and
knowledgable about a product is just mind bogling. Sometimes they even
want to fight you for telling them the truth! You know, I bet if
enough so called bench jewelers told the truth to everyone, there just
might be a large reduction in ripoff artists in this field. Most of
us try to give our best and honest work and try not t deceive the
client. However, there seems to be more and more of these low lifes
crawling out of the wood work, ( kind of like cockroaches ). Again,
thank you for sayingit one more time! A good customer is an educated
customer. Not all prospective customers should look at us as vermin
just waiting to suck the money out of their wallet with
missrepresented product.

Richard Blahnik

Thanks Ahmed!

How do I join the Annual Dinner of Orchid? I’m a newbie to this

Are there any other events related to Orchid going on during the Gem
and Jewelry show that I should look for?

Thanks again,

One very good reason to visit Tucson 2001 is Rio Grande’s Catalog in
Motion. The show covers 5000 square feet (the entire ballroom of the
Tucson Hilton). The vast majority of booths are personed (politically
correct?) by the people who make the tools and equipment - the
experts. Actual demonstrations occur continuously and visitors are
encouraged to ask questions. If desired, you may even try them
yourself. Many many new and innovative items are introduced every
year. In addition to this, stones, findings, packaging/display and
closeout areas are included. All of these may be purchased and taken
with you or shipped by a UPS authorized shipper on premises. Rio also
runs classes on various subjects (contact Rio for details) and
Masters in Motion demonstrations (the masters are certified Master
Bench Jewelers) with close-up real time video displays. Again visitors
are encouraged to ask questions. Catalog in Motion runs from Feb. 2-5.
This show is a must see! Don’t miss it. The Tucson Hilton is about a
20 minute shuttle bus ride from downtown.

Ray Grossman
Ray Grossman Inc.

Greetings All,

Tucson is indescribable but we all sure try to find ways! That’s what
passion does, I suppose, motivates us to attempt the impossible. That
doesn’t mean it’s foolish to undertake these endeavors; in addition
to the rare occasion someone DOES succeed, the collective efforts
produce extremely valuable insights that can come pretty darn close
to capturing otherwise elusive comprehension.

It’s been nice reading everyone’s Tucson two-bits. Personally, I
enjoy even the thought of Tucson, so thank you all for drawing my
attention there. Some great has been shared here too.

I went for the first time two years ago and promised myself that I’d
make it there EVERY year thereafter. Regretfully, I’ve not been there
to buy (yet) but I sure didn’t come home empty handed! Actually,
‘empty-headed’ better conveys my submission to the " why go to
Tucson" list. Even though that’s not exactly the way this thread
started, a lot of those “why” reasons are certainly presented!

What “uninitiated” Tucson folk often don’t know is that the LEARNING
opportunities there are absolutely UNPARALLELED! The best informative
sources are all there along with unmatched volume of gems of every
kind. Each year gems surface in Tucson that are so rare, you may
never see them again and that sure beats textbooks any day!

This year marks AGTA’s 20th Anniversary, promising Tucson 2001 will
be the best show ever. I sincerely cannot wait! If anyone out there
isn’t sure if it’d be worthwhile making the trip, I have to say that
I’ve NEVER heard of ANYONE who regretted going! Many of us do wind up
"converted" though, in the sense that Valentine’s Day isn’t what we
first associate with February anymore…it’s Tucson! Consider
yourself forewarned - haha!

People aren’t over-inflating the hotel issue though. They do book up.
If you must wait or suddenly find that you can make it at the last
minute, check with hotels that AREN’T on the lists given in the Show
Guide. I found many of them on the Internet, through the Tucson
Chamber of Commerce and related tourism sites. You’ll have better
luck though you may have to stay a few miles further away from the
main shows. It’s not that big of a city so we’re not talking
unreasonable distances.

Both years my trips were last minute. The first year, the airfare to
Tucson was astronomical without advanced purchase. I was desperate
though and found out that I could fly into Phoenix for less than half
of the Tucson fare. I rented a car and drove the pleasant hour and a
half highway stretch south. Coming from cold climate, it was great to
do 70mph with the windows down! This turned out to be such a positive
thing - no changing planes, the fare was affordable, my car rental
was cheaper and I arrived two hours earlier than if I’d flown
straight in anyway!

The second year I stayed at a hotel closer to the Tucson airport. I
was hesitant to do that the first year because I didn’t know the area
but it’s actually fine. There are several decent hotels that tend to
have a few rooms left.

Good luck, hope Tucson is as great for everyone else as it is for me!


Hi Gang,

Depending on which of the shows you’re going to Tucson for (some
are the 1st week, others the 2nd, still others for both) there
are manyy things to see. This year the Tucson Gem & Mineral
Society show (the one that started it all about 50 years ago) is
featuring Russian minerals. In addition to the menerals & rocks
there will be a display of original Fabrege eggs.


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