Can You Master the Tucson Gem, Bead, Jewelry, Mineral and Fossil Shows?
My first impulse on seeing Cathleen McCarthy’s “Net Profits” headline in the latest issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist was to change it. Mastering the Tucson Shows? Who’s ever managed to do that! On second thought, I decided “mastering” works. It’s a process: you start learning to navigate this immense event on your first visit and continue honing your strategy every year you go back.
ABOVE: This pair of fantasy cut ametrines from Hallelujah Junction by Ryan Anderson showcases both the quality of material from this locality and of the faceting and carving (not to mention photography) skills Ryan Anderson possesses. Jim Landon visits the site and reports back in “Hallelujah!” in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist January/February 2020; photo: Ryan Anderson
Tucson Gem Show — PLUS
That’s the glory of Tucson and its challenge. Something you weren’t looking for always catches your eye and you have to rethink the plan. It’s widely called the gem show but Tucson is so much more. This is the place to find fossil and mineral specimens as well as gem rough and finished gem carvings, cabochons, freeforms, and faceted stones. Common varieties make perennial appearances; rarer ones aren’t just fewer but may come to market for only a few seasons.
Stock up on other supplies, too: the latest or standard clasps, mounts, jump rings, and chain. See what’s new in display forms and cases, lighting, gift boxes, and price tags. Examine trays of handmade beads, and mounds of mass-produced glass, stone, wood, shell, metal, and plastic beads. Did I mention pearls? If it’s tools or equipment you’re after, slab saws, drill bits, and hand tools for working metal or cleaning specimens all await you. Perhaps you’re interested in finished jewelry, from funky one-offs to pieces you could find at any local jewelry store or an entire parure fit for an aristocrat. You can walk all the way around huge sculptures, beaded furniture, stone tabletop lamps and tabletops, too. Plus the non-earth/jewelry continuum of stuff — rugs, baskets, clothing, hides, and more.
At Tucson, you can buy retail or, if qualified, wholesale. You can see, handle, and ask questions about the merchandise. You can meet expert artisans and scientists, tool and jewelry designers, and attend lectures, demos, and classes. Plus, you can make new business contacts and friends, and enjoy spending time with people you met many Tucsons ago.
Start Your Mastering Now
Collectively, the 45+ venues of “the” 2020 show run for over two weeks from late January through mid February. Shows are open the whole time, a few days, and somewhere in between. They’re located downtown, nearby, and in the outskirts. Just as there is no one show, there is no one way to shop, see, or otherwise experience it. There are many shows and many ways to make the most of them.
New Jewelry, Bead and Gem Contest
Did you notice the line on the cover of the 2020 Tucson Show Guide about a new contest? That’s Interweave’s first annual Jewelry, Bead and Gem Arts Awards coming to you from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Beadwork magazines. Learn more and enter at www.Interweave.com/jewelry-and-beading-competitions/.
More of What’s Inside the Latest Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist
Here’s a sneak peak of more of what you’ll find in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist January/February 2020:
Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. This post is adapted from her column, “Can You Master the Tucson Shows?” in the January/February 2020 issue.
Bone Up for the Tucson Shows
- For more on the history of the Tucson shows, visit the Tucson Show Guide website.
- For more on the 2020 mega-event, the 2020 Tucson Show Guide will be available in January for purchase at www.tucsonshowguide.com, and on site for free during the shows.
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Just like the Tucson shows, you never know what’s going to appear in the next issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist that will make your day. Subscribe and never miss an issue, or your next favorite thing.