This past weekend we drove out to Tucson, AZ to attend the Gem and Mineral show that is held annually. It is a quite amazing show of anything to do with gems and jewels, it is the place to see a $3 million gem Colombian emerald crystal all the way to Coprolite (petrified Dinosaur excrement)!
Gem and mineral dealers from all round the world travel to Tucson to exhibit their wares, trade and meet potential clients, from the bead stringers to some of the world's finest jewelers, who send their buyers to scour for the best the world has to offer. For us at Passion it is important to stay on top of the market in colored stones and as new finds occur all the time, being in Tucson allows us to know what is what, so that we can bring you the best in quality and value. We find sources for the fine unheated Sapphire and Ruby that we like, and other superb colored gems from round the world. We made an important new contact and acquired a stunning natural color (un-heated) cushion cut gorgeous Burma sapphire together with a killer natural color yellow sapphire that is emerald cut and looks like a $150,000 canary diamond! These two gems will be made into lovely rings for our Passion Collection and some lucky people to enjoy in the knowledge that their beautiful sapphire is very rare. Less than 1% of all sapphires available are unheated and natural color.
Heading east across the Sonoran desert:
Driving out from Solana Beach, one gets to see how arid the South West of the USA really is. Without the water from the mighty Colorado river, this would be one of the most inhospitable place to live in the entire US. However it provide for some stunning scenery along the way. I don't think I've driven in a straight line for so long!
Yes, the giant Saguaro cactus let's one know "We're not in Kansas anymore"
Once one arrives it is time to plan where to go and who to see of the regulars and then where to go to scout out new sources. From the main convention center where the AGTA is housed, the leading colored gem trade organisation, to the motels across the 10 freeway, where minerals and lower profile dealers and traders exhibit in motel rooms, beds are pushed up on their side and stored against a wall, while gems, mineral specimens or jewels are displayed in the rooms.
We also found a great source for in-expensive multi strand gemstone necklaces, that will make excellent gifts for under $200. Come on in or call as we bought many strands, the value we saw in them is great.
Sunrise in Tucson, looking East from our hotel:
And looking west towards downtown and the major show location:
Having attended this show for over 15 years, this year proved to be a first in terms of the cold weather! Usually at this time of the year it is a lovely 75'-80' by mid afternoon, not so this year! When we left yesterday it got up to 40' from 29' in the morning. I got a couple of images from friends this morning and it was all of 19'!!! I think that is probably a record low for Tucson, fountains froze and I pity those outside exhibitors, who will be suffering today in the freezing breeze that is blowing, Brrrr.
Picture courtesy of Doug Mays, thanks!
As we headed back to Solana Beach, we discussed how much we enjoy this unique annual show, the new sources and the lovely gems we bought that we now get to create beautiful new jewels around!
The sun setting over the mountains just East of Yuma:
The Sonoran desert does provide lovely vistas:
I hope you enjoyed this little desert adventure with us, stay tunes for pictures of the lovely gems and minerals we picked up.