[Tuscon 2015] Show Planning

I’m planning on attending the Tuscon Show this year for the first
time and would love some input into planning for the best experience
since this will likely be a one time event for me, given the distance
and cost of attending. I’m recently retired, so have the time
finally. I find myself returning to my artist roots, as trained in
college but spent my professional career as a professional clinical
counselor and art therapist.

Therefore, I do not have a business license (maybe in the future?)
which would gain me access to some shows. I got the show guide but
this appears to be more of an advertising list and isn’t very helpful
to me in figuring where it might be best to put my time and efforts.
Maybe I need to read it differently?

My interests are in seeing what’s new in tools & demonstrations,
perhaps a workshop (where do you find out about these?). and of
course shopping for gems & cabs. Any practical tips and insights into
how to make this productive and fun would be greatly appreciated. I’m
not even too sure about what I should be asking about. If I didn’t
ask, answer anyway!

Is anyone else planning on attending? I’m also interested if you
have attended in past years, how it helped with your work when you
got back to the bench. What should I be open to in developing my
skills and work?

Peggy K.

Hi Peggy,

I will be following as this will be my first trip to Tucson as well.
This is my birthday gift from my husband (I will celebrate while
there) so I am extra excited! I have wanted to go for several years,
but it never worked out before.

Best regards,
Donna W
Huntsville, AL

Therefore, I do not have a business license (maybe in the future?)
which would gain me access to some shows. 

Print yourself up a good quantity of business cards which clearly
show your involvement in the jewelry industry, Most shows only
require a business card for registration.

The “Whole-sale only” shows have more strict registration
requirements - the worst being the AGTA show, The GJX show seems to
be easier and the JCK show requires copies of invoices showing
jewelry related purchases.

My interests are in seeing what's new in tools & demonstrations,
perhaps a workshop (where do you find out about these?). 

The JOGS show is probably best for courses and workshops. They have
many scheduled.

You can register for the show online and also for the

Jogs Show - Free Online Registration Open Now
Only takes 5 minutes. Register Now!
VIP Access - Dates: Jan 29 - Feb 9

The AGTA show also has a lot of seminars - but it will be a lot
harder for you to get into that show

and of course shopping for gems & cabs. 

You will find gems & cabs at just about any of the shows.

Come by and see us in the GJX show in Booth # 205 - Lowe Associates

  • Brasil February 3 - 8th for all of the Brazilian colored stones
    and also Persian Turquoise. The GJX show is probably the best
    one-stop show in Tucson.

You can find stones, findings, diamonds, some beads, and already
made up jewelry. And it is right downtown.

Other good shows for loose stones are the Riverpark show and the 22nd
street show (free parking here) - and all of the motel shows west

Best regards,
Robert P. Lowe Jr.

Lowe Associates - Brasil

What sort of tools are you looking for? Larger scale tools and
machinery can be found at the Kino Gem Show. They have everything
from machinery dealing with large rough down to faceting. There are
also sellers of bench tools inside the main tents. You can also find
rough material at Kino, but not as much as years past.

The real action takes place before AGTA & GJX across from I-10 at
the motels along the access road. Many of the dealers from these
larger shows buy material that first weekend at these venues. My
favorite is the Pueblo Show. You’ll find all sorts of gem material,
rough and cut. You don’t need credentials for these shows, and
bargaining is a must with most of the dealers. But be prepared to
buy more than a small amount; most of these folks prefer to sell in
bulk (for rough), especially early on in the shows. And if you don’t
want a lot of material, see if they’ll let you pick through their
piles - just be prepared to pay more. Inside the tent at Pueblo
you’ll find some very good dealers of faceted stones and cabochons.
I find that if you don’t get to certain dealers early, their best
stuff is already sold - but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot
left! Be sure to wander through all the motel rooms where individual
dealers set up.

Most of the other peripheral shows are a mishmash of vendors of
finished stones of various qualities, finished jewelry, gem beads,
tools, etc. Some of these also require credentials - refer to your
guide. You just never know what you’ll find at these shows.
Sometimes I go to the JOGS show when looking for turquoise or coral.
I think there are also classes at that show.

And, finally, there is GJX & AGTA. You do need credentials to get
into these 2 shows. GJX is my favorite - the quality and variety of
gem material exhibited here is phenomenal.

Your trip will be one of discovering a whole new world. You’ll see
materials you’ve never seen before, and if being in this environment
doesn’t inspire you to make jewelry, nothing will! I will also say
that I’ve made some remarkable friendships with dealers, and really
look forward to seeing them year after year. The best thing you can
do is talk with them - they are very generous with their knowledge.


I am also attending the Tucson Gem show this year for the first
time. I do have a license and would like to know where to spend my
time for the best experience. I will be there for 2 days. I feel
fortunate to have the flight, hotel, and a friend to attend with.

Thanks for your advice
Jean Menden

Hello Jean,

It would help if we knew your attendance dates. There are so many
shows with different dates during the two and a half weeks. Of those
shows that do run most of the time, I like JOGS, G&LW (Gem Mall),
and although it is a shorter show, the Holidome Show(which has moved
from the motel). You can easily spend an entire day in each venue, so
there go your two days! AGTA and GJX are Feb 3-8, and should be on
the list if you are there during those dates. With your limited
time, do consider what you will lose with traveling between shows.
The shuttles are great, so check their schedules (which do change)
and plan your attack.

The Tucson Show Guide is online - just Google the name. When you get
to your first show, there are hard copies of the Guide available.
Even though the Guides are heavy, they are worthwhile references. I
like to take a small rolling backpack stocked with healthy snax and
water so I don’t have to stop for meals. Also take good walking
shoes (Burks for me), an umbrella, and a cross-body purse with lots
of dollar bills (tips for the shuttle drivers!).

As years ago I used to live in Tucson I went to the shows regularly.
There will be a lot of walking involved so wear comfortable shoes.
Two days is barely time to see anything, but can be done if you plan
ahead as to whichvendors you want to see.

Some of the vendors have sub-marginal gems, so watch for stones with
flaws, and even scratches. Bring your loupe.

It is an exciting experience, bring lots of money, as you will have
an opportunity to get some really fine stones. I did find that some
of thevendors, who did not require documentation that you were in
businesshad some really excellent buys. So if time permits, check
them out also. Alma