Tucson Gem Show could see record turnout


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The gem show got its start in 1955 as a free exhibition sponsored by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society. The event now features exhibits on regional rarities such as American Indian-made jewelry, precious stones and fossils. Photos courtesy the Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows


2010 Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase Shows

1820 Oracle Wholesale Show
    1835-1983 N. 11th Ave.
    January 29-February 14, 2010
ABC Direct East
    3301 E. Pennsylvania St.
    January 27-February 14, 2010
ABC Direct West
    355 E. Ft. Lowell Rd.
    January 27-February 14, 2010
African Art Village
    1134 S. Farmington Rd.
    January 30-February 15, 2010
AGTA GemFair™ Tucson
    Tucson Convention Center
    February 3-8, 2010
American Indian Exposition
    Flamingo Hotel Ballroom
    1300 N. Stone Ave.
    January 30-February 14, 2010
Arizona Mineral & Fossil Show
    InnSuites Hotel
    475 N. Granada Ave.
    January 30-February 13, 2010
Arizona Mineral & Fossil Show
    Mineral & Fossil Marketplace
    1333 N. Oracle Rd.
    January 30-February 13, 2010
Arizona Mineral & Fossil Show
    Quality Inn
    1025 E. Benson Hwy.
    January 30-February 13, 2010
Arizona Mineral & Fossil Show
    Ramada Limited
    665 N. Freeway
    January 30-February 13, 2010
Bead Renaissance Show
    3340 E. Michigan St.
    February 1-8, 2010
Best Bead Show
    Kino Veterans Memoral Ctr.
February 3-7, 2010
    Catalog in Motion
    Tucson East Hilton
    February 5-8, 2010
Create Your Style in Tucson
    525 N. Bonita Ave.
    February 2-5, 2010
Executive Inn Gem, Mineral & Fossil
       Show
    Best Western Hotel
    January 30-February 13, 2010
The Fine Minerals International Show
    450 N. Granada Ave.
    (next to InnSuites)
    February 1-14, 2010
GJX Gem & Jewelry Show
    198 S. Granada Ave.
    February 3-8, 2010
GLDA Tucson Gem & Jewelry
    Starr Pass Marriott
    February 2-7, 2010
Globe-X Gem & Mineral Show
    Days Inn Convention Center
    January 29-February 13, 2010
G&LW Tucson Gem Show
    Gem Mall
    4475 S. Country Club Rd.
    January 30-February 12, 2010
G&LW Tucson Gem Show
    Holiday Inn-Holidome
    4550 S. Palo Verde Blvd
    February 4-12, 2010
G&LW Tucson Gem Show
    Grant Inn
    1365 W. Grant Road
    January 30-February 12, 2010
Granada Avenue Mineral Show
    350 N. Granada Ave.
    (next to InnSuites)
    January 29-February 13, 2010
Howard Johnson Gem & Mineral
       Show
    1010 S. Freeway Ave.
    January 30-February 13, 2010
Indian Pavilion
    1243 N. Main Ave.
    January 29-February 13, 2010
JG&M Exposition / Michigan Street
    3300 E. Michigan St.
    January 30-February 14, 2010
JG&M Exposition / Simpson Street
    601 W. Simpson St.
    January 30-February 14, 2010
JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show
    Tucson Expo Center
    January 29-February 9, 2010
Madagascar Minerals® Gem Show
    Norcross-Madagascar Gallery
    January 23-February 14, 2010
    (Jump Start: January 21-22,
       2010)
Main Avenue Mineral & Fossil Show
    1223-1243 N. Main Av
    January 30-February 14, 2010
Manning House Bead Show
    Manning House Mansion
    February 2-7, 2010
    Mineral & Fossil Co-op
    1635 N. Oracle R
    January 30-February 13, 2010
Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show
    Riverpark Inn
    January 30-February 11, 2010
Rapa River Gem & Mineral Show
    292 S. Freeway Ave.
    January 29-February 14, 2010
Rio Grande Catalog in Motion
    Tucson East Hilton
    February 5-8, 2010
Rock, Gem & Lapidary Show
    1201 N. Main Ave
    January 27-February 14, 2010
To Bead True Blue
    Doubletree Tucson Reid Park
    January 31-February 5, 2010
Tucson Bead Show
    Doubletree Tucson Reid Park
    February 6-8, 2010
Tucson Electric Park Gem & Mineral
       Show
    Kino Sports Complex
    January 30-February 14, 2010
    (Tucson Electric Park RV Gem
    Show not affiliated with Tucson
    Electric Park Gem & Mineral
    Show)
    January 30-February 14, 2010
Tucson Gem and Mineral Show™
    Tucson Convention Center
    The Main Show
    February 11-14, 2010
Tucson Showplace
    1530 South Freeway
    January 29-February 14, 2010
Westward Look Mineral Show
    Westward Look Resort
    February 5-8, 2010
Whole Bead Show
    Windmill Inn
    February 3-8, 2010

If you’re interested in gems, minerals, fossils or extraterrestrial objects like meteorites, you should plan to be in the desert Southwest early next year.

That’s when the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase will be held in Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 30-Feb. 14, 2010. Also known as the Tucson Gem Show, the event is the largest of its kind in the world and is attended by thousands of rock hounds, jewelers and others who buy, sell and exhibit. Some 4,500 vendors are expected to attend the February showcase.

Yet the two-week run of the Gem Show is more than one single event — it’s actually dozens of shows taking place at the same time at nearly 50 hotels, resorts, exhibits halls and in giant white tents, all located around the city of Tucson and in surrounding towns.

More than 55,000 people visited the various shows throughout the city last year, according to Kimberly Schmitz, director of public relations and communications for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau.

While the Showcase features something for everyone in nearly every corner of town, the main event is the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, located in the downtown Tucson Convention Center on Granada Avenue during the Showcase’s final weekend. This year’s Gem and Mineral Show will run from Feb. 11-14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. the first three days, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $9.25 with discounts for active military personnel, seniors and children.

Show organizers report thousands of attendees have come to the show in past years from around the world to view the displays from museums and private collections, and to bargain with the 250 retail dealers handling gemstones, minerals, jewelry and fossils. It’s not unusual to find gold, diamonds, other precious stones, granite, glass beads, dinosaur fossils and Australian Outback opals among the offerings.

In addition, the show in the Convention Center features hands-on exhibits especially for school children.

The Gem Show got its start in 1955 as a free exhibition sponsored by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society. As the years went by, the show gained in popularity so that it had to be moved to the Tucson Rodeo Grounds to accommodate the crowds. Eventually, the show moved into the convention center to be able to handle more vendors and visitors.

Another event is the Jewelry, Gem and Minerals Expo, open at two locations during the Showcase’s entire two-week run. The JG&M Expo hosts a wholesale show featuring 10 large vendors in a building at 3300 E. Michigan Street, next door to the Palo Verde Holiday Inn, which hosts hundreds of retail and wholesale vendors. The other JG&M Expo location is at 601 W. Simpson Street, a large tent housing 100 vendors that are open to the public for retail sales.

“We try to get an assortment of all kinds of dealers,” said Clifton Porter of Upper Marlboro, Md,, the owner of the Jewelry, Gem and Minerals Expo. “Our vendors have beads, carvings, amethyst geodes, vintage and antique jewelry, and a pretty good assortment of a little bit of everything.”

Porter pointed out that the Simpson Street retail expo draws a lot of traffic from around southern Arizona, as well as out-of-town visitors.

“From the feedback we’ve received, they enjoy having a retail place where they can come and buy,” Porter said. “I don’t know that there’s another retail show in the Showcase that’s the size of ours, and also one that offers free parking as we do. Our vendors report they’ve done a pretty brisk business.”

More Images:

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A little boy peers into a sparkling geode on display during the 2008 Tucson Gem Show.

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