Posts Tagged ‘Tucson Gem and Mineral Show’

What Can You Find at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show?

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Rather than write about it today, I thought I show you some of the myriad of things you can purchase at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  It will be a gorgeous weeked and the last weekend of this year’s show to get out an “window shop”.

72 Degrees Today…Wander the Gem and Mineral Show and Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

The sun is glinting off of the huge mesquite and eucalyptus trees providing little lacy patterns against the azure sky.  It’s a perfect day for combing the Gem and Mineral Show, temps about 72 degrees, warm enough to wander about without a cumbersome jacket, and comfortable enough to want to stay for hours.

The frontage road which parallels I-10 is awash in all types of vendors from throughout the world.  They arrive with huge trunks and crates of goods and spend days setting up their displays.  After all, this is the largest Gem and Mineral Show in the world, emulated by many.

It’s history is fascinating, a dream of a small group of mineral and rock enthusiasts.   They got together for an exhibition which was free to the public, and the rest is history!

Arizona is a state famous for its minerals, most particularly, copper.  But the mountains of the Grand Canyon State have yielded silver and gold, and turquoise-the minerals most often depicted in the Old Wild West movies because of their assumed value.  Those of us from Arizona know of the Bisbee mines and the Morenci mines because of the employment they provide for miners, and we hear of other mines because of the controversy environmentally by groups which oppose them.

But the lands of Tucson have yielded blue azurite from Ajo, a blue copper mineral which fades in the sunlight, and related to the verdent malachite.  The red-yellow-orange colors Wulfenite from the Red Cloud Mine in La Paz County are a favorite of collectors because of the deep red color. Turquoise from Kingman has the greatest value and the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe is one of the world’s most important producers of turquoise.  Stunning quartz from New River  and from Pima County, Vanadinite,  with red hexagonal crystals is considered a secondary mineral.  Used in jewelry and industry, these minerals not onlyt radiate their own beauty, but have found usefulness in products we use daily.

This is an opportunity to see the minerals “up close and personal”.  The variety, colors, and shapes are astounding.  There are minerals from all over the world, enjoy Tucson weather, wander and marvel!


University of Arizona Mineral Museum

History of the Gem and Mineral Show Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Minerals of the Sonora Desert Sonora Desert Museum

A Million Beads to Choose From…Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Professional beaders from around the world flock to The Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson every year.  An array of strands in assorted colors and sizes line the tables where people scrutinize the pieces, matching one color with another, or combine separate beads to determine whether they are aesthetically pleasing side by side.

The artists see in their mind’s eye what they will create.  Talk is sometimes animated, at other times, silent…the silence of quiet deliberation.

The translucency of the faceted beads or the opaqueness of the cabochons is given undivided attention, as well as the weight and the type of bead.

Seed beads are numerous and intricate pieces of jewelry or accessories are displayed illustrating the patience and hours necessary to complete the beadweaving.

Beads comes in all materials; ceramic and pottery beads, crystal and glass beads, plastic and metal beads, beads of organic plant materials, beads of metal or stone, and most famously, pearls.  Of course, beads at one time were used in many civilizations as a currency.

Handmade lampwork beads are unique and there are never two of the same.   Jeff Barber, the artist who created the lampwork beads shown below, explains that the glass is melted on a rod with an oxygen propane torch, and wound onto a stainless steel mandrel.  “The bead is created from the inside out” and then placed in the kiln.   Barber specializes in glass art beads.

The metal beads are illustrated in the metal necklace below.  Most fascinating was the Buddah with the German vintage glass beads which formed a crown about his head.  Delicate replicas of fruit were threaded together to form this intricate headpiece and the colors were vibrant.

Fastings and findings as well as beginner beaders kits are also available.  All types of clasps in all price ranges are sold.  The Beaders shows are located at Windmill Inn, St. Philip’s Plaza, the Doubletree Hotel at Reid Park, and at Kino Veterans Memorial Community Center.

Beads can be found in many of the other shows which are not exclusively devoted to beaders.

Pick up the Tucson EZ-Guide, the small version of the Tucson Show Guide, which is nearly one inch thick , check the free shuttles from show to show, and enjoy!

Click on each photo to see an enlargement.


Gem and Mineral Show Is A Can’t Miss Event!

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Unbelievable colors, pales and pastels to vivid amber yellows, deep turquoise, grayish spring greens, coral roses, beeswax, and more are on view for all to see at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  It is as if the entire Pantone color chart is represented with nature’s hand in charge of the painting.

Students of geometry will be spellbound by  the crystalline structures, far more than high school geometry takes us.

Tetragonal, orthorhombic, triclinic structures are on display with a multitude of other shapes and sizes. The sheer beauty of these minerals is breathtaking.

As I grow older, I understand why I should have paid attention to the geology sections of science, or geometry theorems.  Strange names identify the minerals, and I was stunned to find Gypsum in so many beautiful colors.

A novice, such as I, tends to think all Topaz is yellow, but au contraire…there is purple, there is red…as well as the spectrum of yellows and deep amber.

The connoisseurs of the minerals at Westward Look are experts; they know their minerals, where they come from, where else in the world the minerals are found, the grade of the mineral and they talk with authority to each other and buyers from throughout the world.

The event I attended at The Westward Look, off of Ina Road, featured six pods, each with six rooms of stunning minerals in all colors, shapes and sizes.

This one small show is being replicated throughout the city with 43 shows all over Tucson.  People come from all over the world to buy, sell, and trade gems and minerals.  Most shows end February 7.  There is free shuttle between the shows.  The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is the largest show of its kind in the world.

To see the crystalline structures of these minerals better, click on the photo.


Crystal Structures

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Dealers at Westward Look – click on website to see array of beautiful minerals

Preparations underway for the Gem and Mineral Show…

Monday, January 17th, 2011

White tents dot Tucson in preparation for the Gem and Mineral ShowPPThe

The big white tents are beginning to dot the city;  from Palo Verde on the south side of town, up through the Frontage Road along I-10, to the center of town across from the Tucson Convention Center.  Preparations are underway for the Gem Mineral and Fossil Showcase.    The show, which takes over the city, brings vendors and buyers from all over the world.   Tucson truly becomes a melting pot.  Language students are in their glory!

This year’s theme is Minerals from California.    The main show at the Convention Center will feature colorful multi faceted minerals and gems from the state speculators flocked to during the gold rush.  Incidentally, Tucson was made a part of the Gadsden Purchase because it was the best route to California for those with gold rush fever.

Begun originally as a local show in 1955, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show has grown to become the largest show in the world which other shows wish to emulate.  The Showcase has grown up around it.  Many of the “shows”  allow only professional buyers with tax identification numbers.    Buyers from throughout the world are here to buy and sell precious stones and minerals which will become part of investor collections, part of a precious piece of jewelry, or a museum item.  Millions of dollars change hands.

Hotel rooms become the bartering place including the very upscale resort hotels here in Tucson.

But the fun shows welcome the general public and the flavors represent all parts of the world.  If you spent the entire time the show is up and running, you could not see everything.  African art, beads from throughout the world, fossilized plates, huge piece of crystal, delicate rings with gemstones, diamond earrings, rugs, crystals, meteorites… on and on.   It’s an education unto itself!

Grab a comfortable pair of shoes and get ready.  The Showcase opens January 28 and will run through the second week of February.  The Gem Mineral and Fossil Show at the Convention Center opens February 1o through the 13th.  This show will dazzle, but the fun is at the many and varied Showcases in the big white tents.  And there is “show food” too, but don’t forget your bottle of water, this is after all, Tucson!

road from

One of Top Five Worldwide Mineral Museums….

Thursday, January 21st, 2010


A sheet metal worker quiety assembled specimens of minerals during his lifetime as an avocation, and donated the extensive mineral collection to the University of Arizona.  Hubert C. Monmonier was instrumental in putting the Arizona Mineral Museum on the international platform, donating a collection conservatively valued at eight million dollars, according to Mark Candee, curatorial museum specialist.

One of the top five mineral museums in the world is located on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson at the Flandrau Science Center on the lower level.  The Mineral Museum is 115 years young and originally was housed in the Geo-Science and engineering buildings.  It was originally established to showcase the minerals from Arizona, also known as the copper state.  More than 2500 pieces of minerals are currently on display.

The Museum is a research museum and has an extensive database with the DNA of thousands of minerals.  Technology today is such that an ruby from Burma  can be distinguished from an ruby  from India or South Carolina, Candee said.  The University of Arizona has one of the best labs in the world for identification and ten to fifteen new minerals are identified each year.  The Museum works in conjunction with the space program in an effort to determine the DNA of “space materials”. 

The best minerals from Bisbee and part of the private collection from the Graham Family will be on exhibit for six months beginning February 6. Additional minerals from the Smithsonian will also be displayed.  American Indian jewelery, made with local minerals, are also on exhibit.

 Minerals in today’s economy are definitely not loosing their value, Candee said.  All one has to do is look at the price of gold, silver, and platinum.  Those may be the most popular investment minerals for the general public, but people who know minerals invest in them for capital appreciation as well as their beauty. 

Rare and amazing minerals are on display at the Museum and for those lay people, wandering around the Gem and Mineral show, with eyes open, will provide a brief on the multitudes of minerals, their colors, facets, and pricing. 

A trip to the Mineral Museum on the UofA campus may be in order after touring the show, as well as spending time at the Main Show February 11 – 14 at the Tucson Convention Center. The theme is “Gems and Minerals”., verry appropriate!

of A Mineral Museum:

Tucson Gem and Mineral Society:  

Tucson Hosts World’s Largest Gem and Mineral Show…

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

More than 100,000 people who sell or trade gems and minerals have begun descending upon Tucson for the world’s largest Gem and Mineral show. 

With more than 6,000 dealers spread throughout the city, Tucson will become a mecca for the international world to examine specimens, gemstones, and jewelry.  It has been called “the swap meet to millionaires and billionaires, those connoisseurs of minerals” by Mark Candee, curatorial specialist at the  University of Arizona Mineral Museum.

There will be 44 shows ongoing in Tucson motels and hotels, and tents are now going up to house the huge shows such as the shows off of I-10 on the Frontage Road, the Tucson Electric Park show, and the show off of Palo Verde called the Holodome. 

This show began 56 years ago in a Quonset hut at the Rodeo Fairgrounds and has grown to become vast contributor to Tucson’s economy,  bringing  more than 150 million into local  business coffers.  “It is our Christmas” said Candee. 

The original show with 10 to 12 dealers was put on by a volunteer organization to showcase mining and minerals from the Bisbee-Tombstone area.  Since then, internationally renown museums and private collectors vie for the privilege of being represented at the “Main Show” , held at the Tucson Convention Center downtown, February 11 through 14.

 Many shows are “wholesale only” and appropriate documentation must be shown including tax exempt status information.  Gemologists and jewelers from throughout six continents converge on these shows to purchase millions of dollars in gems and minerals for their respective companies, such as Tiffany’s.

But the general public can attend many shows – and if a person began the first day and tried to see every show within the three week period, looking ten hours a day, that person would not see everything!  Tailgate shows spring up throughout the city, and locals feel that electrical excitement when gem show comes to town, 

Shuttle services are avaialbe throughout town transporting people from one show to another which helps with traffic movement.  The Tucson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau can answer many questions about the Gem Show.  Googling “Tucson Gem and Mineral Show” brings up a myriad of websites.

Perhaps the highest compliement paid is that Munich Show in Germany, which is Europe’s largest show, strives to be known as “The Tucson Show of Europe”.


The Official Guide to the Main Show :

The Tucson Show Guide:

The Pueblo Show:

JOGS Show:

Gem and Mineral Show You Tube Videos:

So What’s The Draw To Tucson? (2)

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Although Tucsonans enjoy all types of events throughout the year, January and February are the high note months for locals and winter visitors alike.  Several events take advantage of Tucson’s balmy climate and put Tucson on the international stage.

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the largest gem and mineral show in the world, moves into Tucson at the end of January and runs until February 15.  Huge white tents dot areas of the city and the Gem and Mineral Show literally is throughout the city in most all hotels and motels, especially those along the I-10 corridor.   Unimaginable beautiful gems and minerals, muti facets in brilliant colors are on display for sale by vendors from six continents, just not Antarctica.

Not only are gems and minerals on sale, but beautiful beads for beading afficianados.  Middle Eastern rugs, African art and masks, artifacts indigenous to the areas dealers are from, beautiful weavings, and high quality “junk jewerly” line room after room of motels where courtyards are turned into international marketplaces. If you are a gem or mineral dealer- or a geologist – this is your show. 

The “Main Show” at the Convention Center is slated for February 11 through the 14th where fine specimens of minerals and gems are exhibited.  This is the show for collectors  and dealers from throughout the world and boasts a rare find to see so much quality in one area.

February 25 marks the Tucson Rodeo Parade, the beginning of “La Fiesta de los Vaqueros”, or in local parlance, Rodeo Days.  Rodeo is huge in Tucson, so huge that there is no school!  During  Rodeo day, people sport their cowboy hats, shirts, jeans, and of course, beautiful – often hand made – leather cowboy boots!  It’s tradition! 

The Rodeo Parade is the longest non motorized parade in the United States.  Rodeo draws riders from throughout the world and is a huge draw for locals as well as visitors.  The Rodeo Museum will be open where memorabilia, including old carriages, are on display. 

Spring training begins at the end of February and an afternoon in the ballpark with the sounds of cheering, the organ blaring the familiar tune cuing for home team cheering, plus the smell of hot dogs permeating the air add up to a grand afternoon.  The Colorado Rockies play at Hi Corbett Field and the Arizona Diamondbacks strut their stuff at Tucson Electric Park.

Golfing fans have Accenture Match Play which  starts February 15 and runs until February 21 at the Ritz Carlton Golf Course.  Again golfers from throughout the world compete for the “last man standing” championship.  This world class event will be televised and once again, Tucson will be on the international map.

Next week I will blog about each one of these events in depth.  Book your reservation and plane ticket to TUS and come to know and understand why we love Tucson!  Remember, each of these events is outdoor!