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Tucson gem's show

Anyone, This may sound like a stupid question, but is the gem show in
Tucson (in Feb. '02) a large event? We do not have any of the nice
large gem shows in my area. Are shows like this worth traveling to
from more remote areas of the country?


 Is the gem show in Tucson (in Feb. '02) a large event? 

With more than 25 venues, it is the largest in the U.S. and probably
rivals those of Europe or Asia.

 Are shows like this worth traveling to from more remote areas of
the country? 

Absolutely (although, if you’re not a qualified wholesale buyer, your
access to some of the biggest and best shows will be limited).


    Anyone, This may sound like a stupid question, but is the gem
show in Tucson (in Feb. '02) a large event?  We do not have any of
the nice large gem shows in my area.  Are shows like this worth
traveling to from more remote areas of the country? 

Dear Blaine, The Tucson gem Show is the largest gem show on this
planet earth. Second comes the Hong Kong show. At Tucson 2001 there
were 28 locations ( hotels and tents ) And A lot on the way side too.
I do a yearly trip to Tucson from Sri Lanka … Well thats 12,000
Miles from my home … I guess you could say its a trip worth while.
Hope to see you there in 2002 Ahmed shareek

Blaine, You will get a torrent of replies. There is not “one” show, but
a series of shows. Some are strictly “for the trade” dealers only,
others are open to the public.

I can personally only liken it to the largest candy shop I have ever
seen. I rarely have enough money but go anyway. For me there is
nothing like it.

For someone who is looking for stones or rough without fancy booths
and hotels, there is always Quartzsite. This is earlier than Tucson
and also in Arizona. Many of the larger dealers set up there first
then go on to Tucson. Many of the dealers in Tucson purchase stock at
Quartzsite and then sell at Tucson at much higher prices.

Personally I do both and enjoy both. If you could be more specific as
to what you would like to find, you will get better answers. Rock &
Gem, Lapidary Journal and Gem & Minerals all cover both events and
publish schedules for both. HTH Teresa

Blaine, You will find a wealth of in the ORCHID Archives
covering the February Tucson Gem Shows. I will attempt to quickly
tell you the unique things about Tucson. Tucson is a Gem, Mineral,
Fossil, and Jewelry Show. Tucson is not a Rock and Gem Show. About
80% of the shows are wholesale only. Tucson is an industry based
show. If you want a rock and gem show, go to Quartzite. It will
take at least 5 days to see all the shows at Tucson. New happenings in
Tucson 2002. G+LW starts the Gem Mall. Behind the Holidome a new
structure with a lot of parking. Congress Street Expo is rumored
almost closed. Intergem is the last hold out and it is rumored that
they have purchased land near Oracle to put up a new facility. GJX
did not get the required permits to build their new building in time
for Tucson 2002. They will build as soon as they can get the permits.
How many more changes? I am a dealer at Tucson. If you have any
further questions after the archives fell free to contact me offline.
I will help as much as I can.

Gerry Galarneau

Hello Blaine, Yes, the Tucson G&M shows event in Feb is large. I was
awed the first time I went. The second time was better because I
knew just HOW big it is. Anyway, every hotel, motel, fraternal
organization, and meeting hall is filled with vendors. It’s
difficult to find a place to stay! Cultivate friends in the area so
you can sleep somewhere! Vendors come from nearly every continent;
I’ve not seen any from Antarctica! You will see everything from
tools to cutting rough to faceted gems to finished jewelry to
"junque." A great place to compare and tryout tools. (Rio Grande
sponsors an event for its customers with just that in mind.) By all
means, GO - but remember to make all reservations (or friends) well
in advance. If you go, make it a point to attend the Orchid dinner
and meet many of the great members who generously share their
experience and knowledge. Judy in Kansas - and it’s a long way
between my little town and Tucson.

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936

Hi Blaine,

 Anyone, This may sound like a stupid question, but is the gem show
in Tucson (in Feb. '02) a large event? 

It’s the largest group of shows in the world.

Actually it’s not 1 show but about 23 different shows. The shows run
for 2 weeks, some start the last week in Jan & close the 2nd week in
Feb. Some open & close at different dates within those general
bounderies. The shows are held in the Tucson Convention Center,
numerous ho/motels around town & some are held in large tents set up
for the event. There are some shows that are only open to people in
the gem & jewelry trade & others that are open to the public. There
are free shuttles that make the rounds of most of the shows. It’s
best to pre register for any show that offers that option.
Gernerally, the following items are required for registration: a copy
of a business or sales tax license, business cards or company letter
head showing affiliation with the gem/jewelry trade &/or membership
in a trade organization eg. MJSA, AGTA, JA etc.

Basically, anything that is used in the gem & jewelry business can be
found: rough, cut stones, finished jewelery, tools, beads, & lots of
other stuff.

The weather is usually nice, temps in the 60’s & up. However,
sometimes there’s a good storm that’ll blow down some of the weaker
tents & leave puddles all over. Motel space is at a premium during
the show. If you’re interested in attending now is not to early to
make motel reservations.

There’s a list of the different shows, locations, dates & exhibitors
in every issue of Lapidary Journal. There’s also an online list at:


Blaine, the Tucson show is one of the largest shows in the
world…dealers from all over the world attend and people from all
over the world come to the show. I have been going to the show since
1976 aand always enjoy it. You can really get some excellent buys
there, especially if you buy in lots. You might want to go with
someone else and club together to buy certain items in lots. I live
in San Jose, California so it is not such a long drive for me
compared to some of the other more remote areas…but it is well
worth it, at least I feel it is. Have fun if you go, Kelly

Hi Blaine, I have been to many Tucson shows, both buying and selling.
It is my Mecca. The reason i am writing is because i live in Namibia
now, and have not been to Tucson for about 4 years. I am missing the
friends that i have made through out the years and only wish it would
be more feasible for us to bring mineral specimens from here. We
would have to shut down our business to take about a month for
shipping our rocks and setting up before the jump start, to do the
show to the precious end and then to pack up and fly back. Sigh. If
you are ANYWHERE in the United States…it is worth the flight or
the drive to attend the World’s largest gem and mineral show! Have
fun! (It’s a must) Best Wishes, Karen Johnston

All, There is a “wild card” floating about in ‘"show space’" this
coming January. The current issue of Lapidary Journal has a two page
spread advertising a new show to be held in Laughlin, Nevada. It is
obviously a collaboration between the Clouds ( Quartzsite) and the
Casino Hotel operators. As most of you will recall the Cloud Show
folded in Quartzsite because of a state mandated freeway right of way
issue. There was an attempt to relocate the Cloud vendors to the
Gardens space near the Tyson Wells Show and it is apparent that this
move was not as successful as hoped. It will be very interesting to
see whether this ploy will work. Quartzsite has suffered from being
"loved to death" and has broken all world records for traffic jams. (
Tongue in cheek…) On the other hand, Lauglin has a dozen huge
luxury hotels that have been mostly empty during January with the
result that rooms could be had for a pittance…sometimes even free
! For those of you wanting to attend both the Laughlin show and
Quartzsite, combined, they make a scenic and affordable loop trip out
of Los Angeles. Ron @ Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.