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 some money for spontaneous finds because these little discoveries are often what we reflect back on most at the end of the trip.
As mentioned in a previous post on Tucson Tips, the jewelers I go with every year are all about efficiency and time management, so we start our prep before leaving the house in the morning and arrive to the shows just when they open. We use instacart for sharing food expenses, we pack snacks and beverages that will hold us until dinner, and we eat when we are in transit to the next show on our hit list. While there are some food trucks or small vendors at some of the shows, they don't offer the healthiest options, so we prefer to eat healthy on the go and spend the money and time on the gemstone hunting instead.
The Tucson Gem Show is comprised of lots of smaller, self-contained shows (around 20,000 of them!). Most of my scavenger hunt supply list was found at the Kino and Pueblo gem show this year. Kino Gem Show is comprised of mostly rough lapidary material, crystals of all sizes and materials, bulk material of polished gemstones that you would find in a retail shop, and carvings of gemstones for home decoration. As one of our favorite go-to shows, Kino never disappoints.
The Pueblo Gem and Mineral show is located at the Ramada hotel and takes over the entire complex -- even the hotel rooms themselves. This is an excellent show to check out as a first timer to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show. It has a bit of everything from rough materials for lapidary, polished cabochon stones for setting into jewelry, gemstones, minerals, finished jewelry, coffee, alcohol and food. It has all the necessities.
In the photo I'm holding a sweet Paraiba Tourmaline in quartz. I did end up buying this piece and once I make it into a design, maybe I'll sell it. ;) Check out this link for more information on Tourmaline.