Last week I traveled to Tucson for a four-day trip with some work colleagues to check out the annual gem show hoping to find inspiration for our jewelry design.
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is a widely-popular international event, where vendors set up shop for two weeks every winter. Rather than one main show, there are around 40 different locations around town to visit. The shows take place in giant tents where there are rows and rows of booths, at hotels, and at resorts and exhibition halls – with vendors scattered both indoors and outdoors. There is an impressively wide variety of products offered – rocks, fossils, gems, minerals, jewelry, beads, and meteorites.
This trip marked my first trip to Arizona. As a native Texan I can definitely stand the heat, but the one thing I noticed was how dry it was! By the end of the trip, my skin was peeling and flaking Rango-style. Despite the dryness, the terrain and scenery is beautiful with varying types of cacti and rolling hills. The hotel where we stayed sits on top of a hill and has a spacious outdoor patio with a gorgeous view of the cactus-speckled hills and the city below.
The shows were somewhat packed, and there was definitely a lot to take in. My inspiration mostly grew from learning about new stones I hadn’t heard of and seeing different global styles of jewelry – like Indian and Tibetan pieces. As far as color goes, I loved the richly saturated, tangerine oranges – in the form of light carnelian, orange chalcedony, and jade – as well as the vibrant jewel tones, displayed in rough ruby, sapphire, and emerald. And you can never go wrong with a nice blue, like icy kyanite, rich apatite, and punchy azurite.
We got our hands dirty and walked our feet off, but all in all, it was a great trip!