Gems in the Desert

Twice a year buyers, sellers, collectors, and window-shoppers flock to Tucson, Arizona by the thousands to participate in the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show.

The Gem & Mineral Show is one of the largest shows of its kind.  The event takes place twice a year, but the larger show commences in late January and early February.  There are areas that are only accessible to licenses buyers and sellers, where other shows are free and open to the public.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which shows you want to visit.  Luckily most of the shows are open for a week or two which gives you ample opportunity to stop at several of them.  We have put together a guide to some of our favorite shows to help you decide where to start.

Wholesale Shows

All of the Wholesale Shows require registration prior to entering their buildings.  Many of them will allow you to preregister which will save you precious shopping time later on.  Be sure to visit their websites to see the requirements for registration prior to visiting.

JOGSGem dealers and  miners bring their best rough materials, cabs, best quality of cut stones, minerals  and new discoveries from Russia, Brazil, USA, Thailand, India, Madagascar, Africa, Colombia, Australia, Canada, China and other countries, attracting gem hunters from around the world. 

G&LW– This show is my personal favorite because of its wide array of high quality beads, findings, pendants, and everything else jewelry related.  G&LW Trade Shows are produced in many major trade centers across the United States for the convenience of wholesale buyers. For the past 43 years G&LW’s multiple show venues have been, and continue to be, a top gem & mineral buyer destination. G&LW exhibitors enjoy world class personal service and exposure to the best customers in the business

Gem & Jewelry Exchange– This show features a display of products such as gemstones, jewelry, gem carvings and/or related lapidary equipment and packaging.

Public Shows

22nd Street Mineral, Fossil & Gem Show The 22nd Street Show is notable for its tents that stretch along 1/4 mile of I-10 near downtown. Inside the Main Tent you’ll find 300+ dealers offering an appealing balance of minerals, gems, fossils, dinosaurs, meteorites, jewelry, beads, and art. To its south, the smaller 21,000 square foot SHOWCASE tent is a finer experience with wall-to-wall carpeting, full climate-control, larger booths, high-end stage lighting, 10′ high modular art walls and a spacious lobby with an exhibit of dinosaur skeletons by Dinosaur Brokers and meteorites by Aerolite Meteorites. The SHOWCASE is a space with heightened elegance in a less-rushed environment that is ideal for mineral, gem, jewelry and fossil dealers who offer better material than in the Main Tent.

Kino Gem & Mineral Show– This is a favorite to many local Tucsonans because you can see so many things in one place.  The show hosts vendors that sell everything from geodes to fossils, baskets to fountains. Basically, if is made from a rock, gem, fossil, or mineral, you will see it at this show.

Mineral & Fossil Co-op– This has always been a favorite of my boys (and me).  They have fossils, trilobites, geodes, furniture and sculptures made from fossils, and full dinosaur skeletons.  Definitely one to add to the list of “must sees”.

Sonoran Glass Art ShowThe Sonoran Glass Art Show in Tucson features art glass beads, jewelry, sculptures, supplies, and more during Tucson’s Gem Show. Explore the booths of local, national, and international vendors. This is the only all-glass art show in Tucson, now in its fourth year. Sonoran Glass School hosts the show on its campus and invites you to watch live glassblowing in its adjacent studio during business hours.

For a list of shows that are both public and wholesale, visit here.

For answers to FAQ’s, visit here.

Be sure to visit ArtFire’s jewelry and beading boutique for high quality supplies and our Pinterest board for some gemstone decorating and jewelry making inspiration!

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