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.
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
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 !
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.
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.