The Tucson Gem Show. It is the name used referring to a multitude of large gem shows, along with a satellite of smaller gem shows that take over Tucson around the last week of January and the first week of February. It’s the biggest to do of the gem show world, and the largest convergence of crystals and gems from around the planet. About 65,000 people visit for the show, and has an economic impact of about 120 million dollars.
Can anyone go to the Tucson Gem Show?
The majority of the shows are free and open to the public, some are geared to wholesale buyers. Most of the places have retail and wholesale pricing, so if you are connected to a business in the industry, you’ll want to obtain a local tax permit from the state of arizona.
What is the Tucson gem show like?
In a word, it’s overwhelming. The magnitude. It is impossible to see everything. You will see more than your eyes can handle, and way more than you’ll be able to afford. Many of the shows are along the I-10 corridor. As you drive through Tucson, you’ll see all the giant tents and structures set up just for this annual event. And within town, there are several dormant warehouses that open up for these two weeks only. It’s just crazy.
The atmosphere is pretty wild. People come from everywhere to buy and sell. Brazil, Russia, Madagascar, Finland, Columbia, Italy, Mexico, China, southeast and central Asia, India, and all over the continent of Africa. The buyers that show up are an eclectic mix of rockhounds, Geologists, new age hippies, celebrities, jewelers, artists and people with the money and space to buy and transport an 8 ft tall amethyst geode back to wherever they came from. As a lapidary artist and jeweler, I usually attend to obtain my supply of raw stones and crystals to use throughout the year.
Immense displays of enormous crystal clusters fill parking lot sized tents. Other temporary structures harbor immense displays of tiny gemstones, cut and polished for the jewelry trade. Enormous fossils, petrified dinosaur bones and trees fill up other tents and buildings. There is also the ‘African village’, an area set up about the size of a city block, that features artwork, textiles, drums, sculpture and handicrafts from all over the African continent
It’s an experience like no other. And if you have any interest in crystals, minerals, fossils or jewelry, it is a recommended experience to see at least once. Bring some good walking shoes, because even though there are shuttle buses going between various locations throughout town, there is still a lot of ground to cover.
When to go
By the last week of January, there are plenty of shows open, and continue through the first week of February, and start to wrap up around the second week. Daily, many of the shows open up around 9 or 10 am, and close for the day around 6 pm. After a long day of checking out the shows, Tucson is also a dynamic town with many great places to go check out in the evenings, And the Sonoran desert is an amazing backdrop to the city and this event with regional and national parks close by. Click here for some suggestions on what to do in Tucson!