The annual winter Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil show is one of the biggest, most prestigious gem and mineral shows in the world. Beginning in late January, gems, minerals, and fossils are available for sale at more than 40 different locations across the city Tucson. I remain a little surprised at how many people who have lived in Phoenix for years, if not their entire life, have never been to this incredible event.
Each year brings a slightly different blend of vendors and products. Last year’s large (3 to 4 feet across) agate slices were nowhere to be found. Neither were the labradorite table tops that I was planning on pricing. This year there were some particularly nice fossil stone table tops which I didn’t bother to price.
Last year there was one lone vendor selling jewelry from Pakistan. I bought one of these necklaces for less than $20 (I can’t remember if it was $12 or $15). Months later I was walking in Scottsdale Quarter and did a double-take. The EXACT SAME necklace was on a mannequin in the store front. I had to look. Their price — $100. This year necklaces like these were plentiful from many vendors.
This year I pearls were on my shopping list for completing a necklace I started last year (don’t ask). I noticed these stunning strands at checkout (the photo does not do them justice) and asked how much. The multi-colored strand I liked most was a mere $2,600. The beautiful gold strands were $2,500. A similar strand of natural gold South Sea pearls is available for $4,999 at ThePearlSource.com, so $2,500 is a smoking deal. Too bad it is WAY out of my budget this year.
Last year there was only one vendor selling the onyx light boxes. These are made from ~2mm slices of onyx that are glued together and have a light fixture inside. This year there were a good handful of onyx light box vendors, one with these sphere and checkerboard variations. The 4 foot boxes run about $350. Maybe I’ll buy one next year…
The beautiful piece of rough ruby in zoisite next to the fossilized bamboo was tempting.
Tables of Clear and Smokey Quartz
Table of Malachite
Big Chunk of Rose Quartz
Beautiful Amber Specimens From a New Vendor
Cathedral Citrine (if you’ve got $10,000 to blow)
The rock and mineral displays literally go on for miles. My photography skills with a smart phone don’t do justice to so many of the awesome pieces. If you live in Arizona, or are visiting the last week of January or the first week of February, take a day trip to Tucson to see some of the most impressive rocks and minerals in the world.