Back Home from the Tucson Gem Show

Desert Landscape
I went from 19 inches of snowfall to this. What a transition!

February is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only is Valentine’s day just around the corner, but it always means that I get to make a trip out to the Great American Southwest for the Tucson Gem Show. Read on for more, and take a peek at my favorite finds this year!

A strand of lapis lazuli pendants.
One of my unbelievable finds this year. A stunning strand of lapis lazuli pendants plated with gold around the rim. Swoon!

If you’re not familiar, the Tucson Gem Show is pretty much any jewelry maker’s dream. It’s the largest show of it’s kind in the entire world, and it’s a fantastic place to meet vendors and take a look at their products. The crazy thing about this show? it quite literally takes over the entire town of Tucson for a couple weeks. Every convention center, hotel, and basically any free space is utilized to make room for all the vendors and their clients. This year the main shows were taking place from about January 31st-February 15th.

Crystals Beads and Brass Beads in Gold and Silver
A beautiful collection of pastel crystals, large, iridescent trapezoid crystals, and sparkling brass beads. I can’t wait to create beautiful spring and summer jewelry using these!

I’ve always had some familiarity with Tucson, primarily because I’ve had family there my entire life. For a while, I was living in Phoenix and the Gem Show was just a short drive away, which was great for my early days as a designer. It did, however, spoil me. A lot.

Beautiful amethyst druzy beads.
Large amethyst druzy. Perfect for making statement necklaces, or perhaps even bold rings. Super excited to play around with these!

After moving out to Chicago back in 2008, I quickly realized my options were fairly diminished as far as vendors went. The southwest just had so many mines, and vendors in general, even without the Gem Show, that I had an amazing selection to choose from. After moving to the midwest, I realized that I needed to make sure I was able to head out there annually so I could get the best materials for my work.

Gorgeous druzy barrel beads, both large and small.
I can only say that these were the Best in Show. I’ve never seen anything like them, and this was the most gorgeous strand to boot. I can’t wait to use these stunning gems!

One of my favorite parts about the show? It’s a great time to recharge and get inspired! Not only are the gorgeous gems, beads, rocks and minerals a fabulous site to see, but the scenery is truly breathtaking. I’m lucky enough to have family that lives among this gorgeous desert background, and it was always a treat heading out to see them after the shows.

Dinner Table and Reflection
My last night in Tucson before heading back to a winter wonderland. Dinner in the foothills with family and a lovely reflection of the setting sun off to the side.

Now that I’m back in Chicago, I’m really inspired and ready to get things going for the new year. I’m moving locations at my Andersonville Galleria space, which I’m really excited about! I’ll be doing a bit of painting, and of course, getting things ready for spring. Expect to see all these beautiful specimens I’ve shown here in upcoming collections this year.

Have you been out to gem and mineral shows before, or is there something that you’re interested in hearing about from my desert adventure? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you. Post your comments below.