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[Tucson 2003] Observations


All, Having just returned from the Tucson shows I would like to pass
along some observations that might be useful for those of you who
may yet attend.

  1. The Lapidary Journal coverage is very misleading. The article in
    the December issue has a nice graphic that purports to convey the
    location and dates of the shows, but it is not complete and it does
    not specify locations. For example, the Gem and Lapidary Wholesalers
    show is given the mystical location: “Gem Mall” This show is badly
    located, poorly signed and difficult of access. Since the article is
    not accompanied by a complete map it is only by chance that the
    prospective buyer might stumble onto it. Furthermore, it appears that
    the entire show is merely a jump start offspring of the main GL & W.
    show which begins at a later date in the nearby Holilday Inn. As for
    the show itself, unless you are into beads, it is a waste of time. My
    wife and I were appalled that so many people having essentially the
    same merchandise should congregate in the same venue. And, as for Gem
    and Lapidary Wholesalers, would it not be reasonable to assume that
    there might be a more balanced mix of gemstone products ? Beads are
    just fine, but they are certainly not the why and how of the gemstone
    industry !

  2. Never assume that the “official lists” of the Lapidary Journal are
    comprehensive. There are many more shows than those which have been
    listed. The little “wildcat” shows often have things that might not
    be found in the big shows and the prices might be better !

  3. The myth that accomodations might not be available is just that.
    If you go by the recommendations of the L.J. and rely upon the Tucson
    Convention Center recommendations you will not have the whole story.
    Better to go to Google and bring up alternative booking entities. We
    always stay at the Comfort Inn at Ina and I-10. We get a room with
    two queen beds for eighty bucks. The run into town is about ten
    minutes. There are two other nice motels at this same location that
    are not listed with the “official” sources.

  4. While keeping an open mind and looking at much merchandise as
    possible, it is best to go in search of specific items. It saves a
    lot of time to have specific goals. For example: this year we were
    looking for Baroque pearls, larger white sapphires and Chinese
    spessartine druzes. We found only one dealer for the pearls and the
    druzes and none for the sapphires. Many dealers had them , but we
    needed 6 mm. rounds and no-one seemed to have them. I suppose that
    larger white sapphires are relegated to diffusion enhancement. Our
    trip lasted four days and covered fifteen hundred miles…never again
    ! Driving a half ton capacity truck that many miles and hours to
    bring back ten pounds of merchandise is certainly foolish ! Ron at
    Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.


Hi Ron, Sorry you had a bad experience at the Tucson show. Perhaps it
was a timing thing. The AGTA & GLDA shows opened on Wed 2/5, the GJX
show opened Thur 2/6. There are lots of pearl & saphire dealers at
these 3 shows.

I have to agree with you though, LJ does a poor job of reporting
the shows. The best bet is to pickup a copy of the Tucson Show Guide
that covers the shows with a little more accuracy & depth. The Show
Guide is published by Colored Stone Magazine. If you subscribe to it
you’ll get a copy in the mail before the show. If your not a
subscriber, the Show Guide is available free at the entrance to most
of shows.