For the past five days Nancy, Susan and I have been walking miles of aisles through the many shows that comprise the annual Tucson Gem Show, the biggest gem show in the world. Every year the population of Tucson about doubles as people come from around the globe to buy, sell and trade gems, jewelry, minerals, fossils, artifacts, antiques, collectibles and every imaginable thing. There are miners, cutters, manufacturers, retailers, designers and more all converging on this sunny city. This is one of the few places where you can see people in business suits mixing with folks in fringed buckskin boots or colorful velvet dresses or saris.
Some of the highlights of our trip have been meeting with other folks in the biz that I only see here to trade stories, ideas, referrals and more. One of those referrals was to an amazing pearl supplier from Japan. This guy is an ethnic Indian, born in Tokyo, and he is the one that the other pearl vendors buy their goods from. I was able to get some incredible Acoya, Tahitian and South Sea Pearls from him at outstanding prices. I look forward to many years of sourcing top quality salt water pearls from this man.
Because everyone is concentrated at these various shows it is a golden opportunity to shop and compare and learn. Susan and I will be returning with so many design ideas and gem inspirations! For the first time, I purchased onyx carvings from Steve Walters, a very talented gem carver. These black drusy sculptures just cry out to be included in unique jewelry. I have admired his work for years and I can't wait to show them to you.
Every year there are new exotic materials introduced by the various bead manufacturers. Many stones I can identify and then there are some that are so obscure that I can't place them, even after 25 years experience in this field. Obscure or not, they are gorgeous! There were lots of banded and figured agates, jaspers and onyx out there made into dramatic and stylish beads and pendants. On the high-end side, we purchased stunning faceted beads in aquamarine, all colors of sapphire, emerald, pink morganite, lapis, kyanite and more.
Most of these items will only be revealed when we include them into a finished piece of jewelry. However, for a very limited time, since we are so excited about this trip and want to show off our goodies, a selection will be on display. This will be your opportunity to pick out your favorites and work with us to design something special. Or you can pick up exquisite materials and make something for yourself. These gems, beads and pearls will only be on display for two weeks so come early for the best stories and selections.
We also purchased some small collections of unique jewelry. Special treasures from around the world that include hand-made silver and ebony links, ancient roman coins set with gems and labradorite pendants from a Dutch designer. Soon to come will be new designs from Barbara Heinrich and Michael Sugarman.
That sums up some of the highlights. Feel free to drop by the gallery and ask any of us about our trip. We'll be happy to share our many stories. Be sure to ask about our coyote encounter or the Gem-Jam at The Hut or the Spectrum Award Dinner where Susan received her design award from the American Gem Trade Association!