Tucson - 2011

Published On: 11-18-2011 03:08pm

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I spent last Friday, Monday and Tuesday at the Gem Show in Tucson and had a fantastic time spending my money.  I am one of the lucky people who live within driving distance of this nirvana for jewelry designers.  The only problem is I don't have enough money to see all that I want to see.

We went to the Gem Mall on Tuesday and it is huge.  I had maybe covered 50 to 75 feet of the first tent and I told my husband that we had to leave and he wanted to know why when there was so much that we hadn't seen.  I told him that I had very little left from  my shopping budget and I just realized that I can't just look.  When I see something that I want and it's in my price range, I have to buy it.  If I don't see it, I'm okay.  When it comes to stones, centerpieces, and pearls, restraint is not a part of my vocabulary.  I also cannot buy just one strand - I have to have multi strands, because I may need them and the price is usually better.

We had decided that we would only attend wholesale shows and that we would not attend on the weekend when there would be more people and I think that was a good decision.  On Friday we hit Howard Johnson's where I had great luck last year, and I hit the same places this year and they were, once again fantastic. I ended up spending the whole day there and did more damage to my credit card than I had planned but got some fantastic things.

Monday we went to the Bead True Blue Show and I was so dissappointed that we left after about an hour.  Not only were the prices high, but the dealers wouldn't give wholesale and the show was advertised as wholesale.  They wanted me to spend $300.00 to $500.00 and then they'd give me 10 to 30% off. I did not attend any "bead" shows last year and I'm not sure I'll try another, but one of my vendors did say the Best Bead Show did a good job.  I cannot afford to purchase at retail and then sell at wholesale to the shops that I am in.

We hit the Grant Inn show Monday afternoon and that more than made up for the bead show.  I bought so many great things, and I was wearing a necklace that I'd made from the stuff that I'd bought Friday, and had 3 vendors that went bonkers over it.  Made me feel really good, cuz they do see quite a few pieces of jewelry.  Found keishi pearls so my daughter can finally get her Christmas present, the web site I buy them from has been out of them for 4 months and I sold the one she was to get....very bad mother. But - good business woman! ! !

Tuesday we went to the Gem Mall and I've already said what happened there, but boy did I do allot of damage in 50 feet.  Found some incredible things, some new vendors, and some fossils I've been looking for.  We left here and went back to HoJo's and I got what I needed there and even returned two necklaces I'd bought to pull apart for the pieces, and the vendor was so nice about it, I was really impressed.  I did not see how shiny they were til I got home and I don't do shiny.

I have to say how much help my husband has been with my whole jewelry endeavor but especially the gem show.  First of all, he drives and I navigate and that's probably not totally neccessary in Tucson, but it helps. Once we're in the shows, he carries a shoulder bag and carries my purchases and takes them to the car, if needed.  He scouts ahead of me and finds things he thinks I'll like or need, I primed him on needs on the drive down, and he did an amazing job of finding what I needed.  He was also the one who found a great new cleaning product that shines metals and is safe for soft stones and pearls. 

I'm hoping I can get my husband to go back for one more day next week, I have a few pennies left from my budget and there's a few things I really NEED to go with what I've already bought.  I'll head back to the Gem Mall or the Holidome and hopefully, I won't get way laid with something fantastic and can stick to my shopping list. I want to get a couple more strands of things I really like too - they go with anything and are light, for me, a perfect combination.

These are some of my overall impressions.  Everything I read, says check prices, take notes and return to buy...I really feel this is wrong.  I know my prices that I pay with my regular vendors, and I know a good deal.  The show is too big to do all this roaming and pricing. If I see a good deal, I buy then and there. If I see something I HAVE to have and it won't be too pricey for what I plan to do with it, buy then and there. In two years, I have not made a monetary mistake, although I did pay $4.00 more for a strand of decorated Nepalese agate beads at one place...and then bought 4 more strands at the vendor that had them cheaper.  I carry a list of things I need something to go with.  I don't buy "everyday" items, I did that last year and realized that I could get almost the same or a lesser price at Fire Mountain and we didn't have to lug them around.

I saw tables with so much bling that I couldn't even look at them...my cataracts don't like allot of light.  I saw necklaces and beads that were made before Christ was born - I didn't even ask the price, but they were incredible.  I bought mammoth fossil beads, and as soon as I get a picture of the first necklace I did with them, I will post it here.  I bought ostrich shell beads, which was the bead used in one of the first necklaces ever made. I had an absolute ball and the best burrito I've ever tasted in the food court at HoJo's.

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