[Tucson 2012] WGS: Tucson Primer

Some tips to help you have a better show time.

As we prepare for the WGS Tour of Tucson 2012 I am reminded that we
have a lot of first timers going this year. With that in mind I
thought today we would post up a Tucson Primer for all of you
newbies and perhaps a refresher for some Tucson veterans. For while
there are few rules involved at the shows, there are some practical
guidelines that can help you have a better show. So in no particular
order, here are some helpful pointers to assist you with your show

Lunch with Alan

A few years ago I was having a quick lunch at one of the big round
tables at the back of the AGTA Gemfair. I very nice gentleman and
his wife sat down beside me to have their lunch and we spent the
next 20 minutes in an excellent discussion of the industry and new
things we had seen at the show. It was only as they were leaving
that I realized I had just had a nice, personal sit down lunch with
Alan Hodgkinson and his lovely wife. Wow! Had I won the Texas State
Lottery I could not have asked for a better First Place Prize. And
yet here we were just having a casual lunch. You know…me and my
friend ALAN HODGKINSON! When you go around the various Tucson Gem
Shows, you never know just how many industry rock stars you may find
yourself having lunch with. Stay alert.

Fight the Urge

Tucson is a great time to see old dealer friends, but remember that
there is a protocol about how and when to meet and greet. When you
see someone you know at their booth and they are pitching a stone to
a customer, that is not the time to stop by for a chat. This is
business. These dealers have spend literally thousands of dollars to
set up shop in these show booths. If someone is working with a
customer you should fight the urge to stop by and say “hello”. Come
back later. Even if you are shopping and want to see a gemstone with
a dealer who is already working with someone, don’t interrupt. When
they get finished with that customer they will give you the same
courtesy of working with you uninterrupted.

Learn How to Fold Stone Papers

Although few stones are in papers at the show, you will occasionally
have someone hand you a gemstone in a stone paper. Nothing will show
you up as a novice faster than having to fumble around opening the
paper, and God forbid that you don’t know how to fold one back up.
This may seem like a simple issue to many but it is a serious "tell"
if someone is new to the business. You should be able to refold a
gemstone paper even with your eyes closed. This is so important that
I am bringing stone papers for everyone to practice with on our
Tuesday night orientation. Don’t Use Tweezers

Colored stone dealers generally don’t use tweezers at a show. Why?
Because they know that you and I are going to be there. Customers
have a tendency to get nervous when holding a stone with a tweezers
in a crowd, and squeeze too tight. One of two things can happen: (1)
The stone is held so tight that it flips out of the tweezers and out
into the crowd in the aisle, and traffic will have to stop while you
get down on your knees to find the damned thing. Embarrassing!
or…(2) The stone is held so tight that the tweezer puts tiny chips
on the girdle. Either way, use your fingers. Diamond dealers don’t
like fingers because skin oil is hard to clean. But colored stone
dealers don’t use tweezers because they have seen far too many times
the very thing that you are worried about when holding gemstones
with tweezers in public.

Its OK to Look At Name Badges

As you walk through the show you will notice everyone looking down
at your chest. They are not checking out your endowment, they are
looking for your name to know who you are. Wear your name badge
where it can be seen and get used to looking at name badges. It is
not rude or improper. Its why those name badges are issued at the

Remove Your Badge Between Shows

Nothing says: "I am carrying like wearing an AGTA Gemfair
badge or other show badge around the streets of Tucson. And while
you cannot throw a rock in Tucson without hitting an undercover cop
during the shows (just a metaphor, don’t try this) its still just
wise practice to take off those show badges when you walk out the
show door. You can always put them back on before the next show. It’s
Wholesale, Lady!

Many of the shows are wholesale only. That means…buying multiple
items as in a “flat” of specimens. A “flat” is like a box top with a
layer of specimens. Many dealers will sell gem and mineral items “by
the flat” only. If it says “by the flat” then it means just that.
“Wholesale Only” usually means that the dealer will only sell in
bulk lots with a minimum purchase. Other dealers may sell you what I
call “onezies”, meaning just one of the specimens. Don’t be afraid
to ask if someone will sell you a “onezie” of something. But
understand that many of the wholesale shows and dealers are there to
sell to retail dealers and are not interested in selling onezie
items to individuals. No profit in selling onezie items if you have
prices based on selling wholesale numbers. Be aware of where you are
shopping and act accordingly. But don’t be afraid to ask. Work the
shows, work the dealers, but understand the business of wholesale.

Check Out The Swimming Pools

The first year that the guy who found the South American source of
the Olmec Blue Jade came to Tucson he was set up on a folding table
at the swimming pool of the Super 8 motel. He had put a bunch of
specimens in a 55 gallon barrel and flew it to Tucson but had no
place to show. Most people walked past him without knowing what they
were really seeing and he sold cheap. The next year the world media
reported on the find and the guy was a millionaire and his goods were
a fortune. Don’t be afraid to check out the little out of the way
places for unique finds. One year I found some of the finest
Australian chrysoprase at the African Arts Show at the very end of
the freeway. That was the only booth the guys could find. I got a
huge chrysoprase rough for $45.00. Next year, I could not even
approach something like that as the guys were rich and famous. Same
with our big muscovite plates. I got those for $1 a piece. You never
know what you will find in those little hole-in-the-wall p laces
around Tucson. If You Want It, Buy It

If you see something you feel you want to buy, buy it. Don’t think
to yourself: “I will think about that and come back”. Why? (A.) With
so many shows and so many dealers you most likely will not remember
where it was and (B.) If you do find the dealer again the item will
most likely be already sold because someone else was not so
indecisive. If you want it, buy it. These shows move fast and slow
decisions usually mean no decisions.

Don’t Smoke At the Show Doors

I hate it when people stand around the entrance to the shows and
create a fog of second hand smoke for me to walk through before I
can get into the show. Nobody wants to breathe second hand smoke
trying to enter a show. And when the signs say to go outside if you
want to smoke, it does not mean just to clear the front door. It
means go at least 20 meters outside the door and make sure you are
down wind. If it were up to me “Go Outside to Smoke” would mean “Go
Out into the Sonoran Desert to Smoke” somewhere. But then I don’t
wish second hand smoke even on the rattle snakes. I would rather
endure being around someone after a big night of frijoles at the
Mexican restaurant than around someone smoking a cigarette.
Seriously. Don’t stand around the show entrance doors smoking. Move
away. Far away. No…a little farther, a little more, keep

Avoid the ATM’s

Avoid the ATMs outside the shows at all costs, and I don’t use that
"cost" term lightly. The show ATMs will only give you a maximum of
$200.00 and charge you up to $6.00 per withdrawal. YIKES! Either
take plenty of cash or else take a really nice 10 minute walk over
to the downtown area banks and use their ATMs for a fraction of the
cost. Those ATMs will give you maximum per withdrawal amounts and
only charge a couple of bucks usually.

We will cover more in our World Gem Society Tour of Tucson 2012
Orientation on Tuesday night at the Holiday Inn on Grant. Until
then, I thought I would just get you juiced up a little bit with
excitement. This is going to be the best Tucson Gem Show week ever.

To contact the World Gem Society please use this link: Contact the
World Gem Society

Coming Next: The World Gem Society Tour of Tucson 2012 Registered
Gem Dealer List.

This is LAST CALL for dealers to sign up to be included in our WGS
Registered Gem Dealer list of Preferred Tucson Vendors. If you are
already signed up no further action is required. If you are not on
the list and are interested in joining us please use the following
link: World Gem Society Registered Gem Dealers

Remember: The World Gem Society is helping to sponsor the AGTA
Gemjammin event. This is a worthy cause and a great night to kick
back with some great music and ice cold BEvERages. Plan on attending
on Thursday night. The World Gem Society gang will be there. Click
on the Gemjammin icon at left to learn more.

2012 World Gem Society. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. We encourage sharing as
long as all copyrights are left intact.

Best regards,
Robert P. Lowe Jr.
Lowe Associates - Brasil
Gemstones, Rough, Specimens
Tucson - Jan 31 - Feb 5, 2012 - GJX booth # 205