Tucson Gem Show 2020 Recap

If you spent any time on social media last week, I’m certain you saw a number of posts about the gem and jewelry shows that were happening in Tucson, Arizona.  I was fortunate enough to be able to take a few days off from my “day job” to spend some time taking it all in.

In past years, I’ve only been able to spend part of the weekend in Tucson and as a result, I always felt a bit rushed.  As a result, I was only ever really able to visit one of the multiple gem and jewelry shows that were happening.  Typically, I only visited the American Gem Trade Association’s (AGTA) annual GemFair™ which features a bevy of colored gemstones and a ballroom full of some amazing jewelry both designer and antique or vintage.

The always wonderful, Judi Powers (left)  of Judi Powers Jewelry who I am always excited to see every year at the AGTA show!

This year was a bit different in that I had multiple days to squeeze in as much as possible.  So, although my time ran out and I wasn’t able to visit the Gem and Jewelry Exchange (GJX).  I was able to stop in at the JCK, ATGA GemFair™ and JOGS shows.

Just a small peak at the sales floor at the AGTA GemFair show in Tucson.

First stop, the American Gem Trade Association’s annual AGTA GemFair™ at the Tucson Convention Center.  One of the things that I really enjoyed this year at the AGTA GemFair™ was the Grand Ballroom which featured the finished work of designers from all over the world.  I was very excited to meet some of my bucket list designers such as Eve Streicker of Original Eve Designs, Almut Belote of Almut Belote Jewelry, Suzy Landa of Suzy Landa New York and Kimberly Collins of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems among so, so many others!

One of Suzy Landa's incredible Boulder Opal Rings.  A Bucket List pieces for certain!

The gem show portion of the show was still held on the main floor and featured more than 300 exhibitors with not only the newest gem finds but also classic gemstones and pearls from all over the world.  The special exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution was on hand again as well - in addition to their offering of learning experiences and educational opportunities.  And, of course, the immensely talented Angie Crabtree was front and center as well with her collection of gemstone paintings, pillows and cell phone cases.

I picked up this this opal rough at the JOGS Show for The Mr.  It's his favorite stone & this rough has just the colors he  loves the most.

But when it comes to the gems….Oh. My. Goodness.  I went with a list of the gemstones that I was interested in purchasing but, as usual, ended up with more than I was originally intending.  If you were looking for high-quality stones for custom pieces or unique specimens, then the GemFair™ was the place to be looking.  One of my favorite booths was Rare Earth Mining and Robert Bentley Gemstones.  I picked up a perfect little bit of Dumortierite in Quartz for my personal collection at Robert Bentley and some plume agate on onyx at Rare Earth Mining.

An amazing bi-color Imperial Topaz rough from Noelle Habib Gems.  Needless to say, I simply HAD to come home with this beauty!

Second stop, the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show.  This show had a wide variety of items from finished products that were ready for resale at varied price points to fossil and mineral specimens for collectors.  Of course, there was also a wide selection of loose gemstones and opals to choose from as well.  I picked up some fabulous rough opal and pyrite beads.  I was also excited to visit with Jake from Elite Fine Jewelers and see their amazing collection of antique and vintage jewelry.  If you intend to visit the JOGS Show in the future, my recommendation is to get there early as parking was a bit lacking or to take one of the many shuttles to the show from the area hotels.

Honestly, I am still thinking about this fabulous antique find at Elite Fine Jewelers!

Our final stop was the JCK Show at the Marriott Star Pass Resort.  Well worth the stop!  It was a fantastic show with some fantastic designers and lines.  One of my personal favorites was Dana Busch Designs.  Dana's work features stunning agates and jaspers matched with gemstones in a fun, flirty and bold way.  Some of my favorites were her Ocean Jasper and Azurite/Malachite Earrings.  I also completed adored Petra Class Studio and Adel Chefridi.  Both of whom I have admired for years.  In fact, if you would like to read an interview that I did previously with Adel, please click here.

The Multi-Sapphire Pendant in Gold from Adel Chefridi is one of my Bucket List necklaces.  I love the playfulness
of the colored sapphires in the pendant.  It's ideal for daily wear - going from day to night seamlessly!

Although Arizona is now my home state, I have always wanted to experience more of it. Tucson has some beautiful views and is home to some stunning tourist attractions both educational and artistic.  I highly recommend taking some time to see the sights – especially if you’re visiting from another part of the country.  Be sure to carve out a bit of time for sightseeing!

I highly recommend the burgers at The Hub Restaurant & Creamery when visiting the AGTA show.  It's not far from
the Convention Center &  has the best industrial-boho vibe!

So, what are my take-aways from this year’s gem shows in Tucson?  First, there is never enough time to have your brain befuddled by beauty.  Second, at least double whatever the number of business cards are that you believe is reasonable to take with you.  Third, be prepared to walk – a lot.  Comfy shoes are a must!  And finally, use the networking opportunities that being around like-minded individuals provides.  I am a bit of an introvert and tend to become shy and a tad overwhelmed in large groups of people.  I have to really push myself to engage.  However, get me in a small group of people and I’m a seemingly different (more outgoing) person.  So my final piece of advice is this:  Be like the brightly colored gems you will find yourself surrounded by - Bold!

One of my favorite places to eat when in Tucson - The Silver Saddle Steakhouse!

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