Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2020 Tips

This year I went to Tucson with a list of specific stone material to acquire.  I was mostly interested in smaller slabs vs the year before when I was looking for larger rocks.  Before my trip I created a scavenger hunt list with photos and descriptions.  Pro tip: Share lists like this with any jewelers you travel with so you can help each other find what you're looking for.  There's so much to look at it's hard to see it all so the more eyes, the better. All of the jewelers I travel with came prepared with a wish list but we always set aside...

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Looking for Sun in Rainy Oregon (Sunstone mining)

With Oregon so close to our home state of Washington, we decided to plan a camping trip around a visit to The Spectrum Sunstone Mine in Oregon.  Most of the Sunstone mines are located down around Plush, Oregon, in the middle of what feels like a vast, Road Warrior wasteland.  It is, in fact, a desert, and (surprise!) Oregon has them. The drive to several mines takes about 2 hours off the main road on a dirt and gravel backroad riddled with potholes.  NOTE: Do not take your nice car on this excursion.  I confess our camper van was somewhat nicer before the trip....

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Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2019 Tips

It's time for my annual pilgrimage to hunt for shiny things at the Tucson Gem and Mineral show! Seriously, I have a countdown app running all year long that I reset the day I get back from Tucson.   This year my shopping list consisted of 50% rough material in rock form and 50% everything else.  Now that I have started teaching lapidary classes at BARN, I was on the hunt for a variety of materials I could bring home, slab, and use in my classes.  My autofeed 12” slab saw is currently occupying one of the bathrooms outside of my studio...

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Denver Gem and Mineral Show 2018 Tips

This was my first time to the Denver gem and mineral show which is held every year in September.  This show is considerably smaller than the Tucson Gem Show and because of this, I’d recommend trying this one on if you're worried about getting overwhelmed by the Tucson show (trust me, it happens). The Denver Mineral Show is similar to Tucson in many ways. There are lots of different venues at both shows and they are broken up by different areas of interest.  My main focuses were on rough rock and lapidary material but I did find some finished gemstones, crystals, and some...

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Montana Sapphires: Tips for digging at the source

I love digging for rocks.  Our first trip to Gem Mountain in Phillipsburg, Montana did not disappoint!  The facility offers many tables and chairs for sorting, some in the sun and others in the shade.  They allow dogs so our trusty Rhodesian Ridgeback came along for the fun and got to visit with other dogs while basking in the sun.   Gem Mountain has a great set up with lots of staff available to answer questions.  They are also happy to give demos on the best way to wash the gravel and gather all the sapphires into one place in the...

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