Tucson Arizona the Paradise of Gem and Mineral Lovers

January 30, 2019 at 4:52 pm (Uncategorized)

As I am on the cusp of yet another Tucson gem and mineral show season I look forward to seeing old friends, colleagues, and friendly competitors.

The atmosphere is both professional and circus like. On the one hand we have all the high end traditional buyers from prestigious museums, worldwide buyers from the top jewelry ateliers, and we are in giant tents with port-o-pottys. Are you getting the picture?  Coffee stands, fast food and if you are lucky someone making fresh salads. I tend to stock my cooler each morning.

In the days leading up to my particular show which is trade only and very prestigious I have time to get in my truck and traverse the far corners of Tucson for some of the retail shows selling cashmere from Nepal, purveyors of old west ephemera, Salt from Pakistan in every shape imaginable and rare and unusual minerals from the world over. The sellers are actually from the countries where the items are mined, manufactured or otherwise procured and often speak limited English. Hand gestures come in handy. There are two schools of thought when shopping for yourself or your business. Go the first days for best selection (items often sell out) or wait until the end days of these lengthy shows (some last more than two weeks) and get best prices from weary vendors not wanting to haul it all back to Timbuktu.

I used to fall into the latter category as I needed to see how much coin I had made and would attempt to consult my crystal ball on what volume of goods I may need for my jewelry business for the year. Thankfully I am mostly retired and seek to purchase gifts  for loved ones so I now prefer best selection.  last year I purchased what seemed like a wholesale quantity of cashmere scarves for my cold weather friends and family. The colors and styles made minimalist me take pause. I also procured geodes from Morocco which when tapped with a hammer yield a hidden crystal cave for my grandsons as well as other mineral specimens. I bought a much needed hand carved bench for my home and crystals for my daughter.

I’m not a big shopper so this is the big shopping trip of my year and I try to be mindful of not adding other people’s clutter but to bring a spark of joy with with my treasures.

If you have never been to Tucson for the shows you may want to put away your snow shovel and come on over. You will enjoy the massive displays of rare minerals and priceless gems even if the only thing you buy is a bag of hot candied pecans made in front of you in a big copper kettle.



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My recent travel article in Huffpost

January 25, 2019 at 2:13 am (Uncategorized)


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