Tucson Gem Shows– Here We Come!

January 27th, 2010 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG


Every year for the first two weeks in February, gem dealers and buyers from all over the world converge on the small desert city of Tucson, Arizona. The annual Tucson event has become the Mecca of colored stones, fossils and gem minerals where dealers display such sophisticated and extremely valuable gems like this matched suite of Imperial Jade– valued at over 100,000 dollars

Imperial Jade Suite

to exotic and rare objects of interest–some of the dealers from Russia have been known to display complete fossil mammoth skeletons. Museum quality gems and objects abound. The work of award winning designers, jewelry makers, sculptors and gem cutters are featured at the top shows. The latest technologies are showcased. Buyers also can see truckloads of mineral, gem and fossil raw materials, table after table of beads and pearls, and tribal art and objets d' art from all over the world. The variety and quantity of goods are truly astounding.

The original show, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, still going strong after 56 years, was for serious and not so serious mineral collectors and attracted rock hounds and lapidary dealers from all over the USA. Other shows have sprung up like mushrooms to occupy almost every hotel, motel, and open lot in the city. Because the high value of some of the merchandise creates real security concerns, the best shows are open only to bonafide members of the jewelry trade.

Tucson provides a stage for dealers to introduce exciting new gem finds and treasures–in recent years, South America, Africa and Central Asia have been the stars of the shows. Tucson is also the marketplace where prices of colored gemstones are compared and pretty much set for the coming year.

This year we'll be looking to reestablish our connections with some of the fire agate miners in Arizona. Fire agate has long been a favorite, and my new ring has attracted a lot of attention. Early in my career, I published an article in the GIA journal, Gems and Gemology, Spring issue, 1979 entitled “Fire Agates of Deer Creek”

Deer Creek Fire Agate in 18K Gold

Deer Creek Fire Agate in 18K Gold

Other favorites we will look for include fine turquoise, the garnet family, spinels, moonstones, and of course opals. And of course, we'll see fabulous things we've never seen before! Look for some great new pieces later this year.

Your intrepid treasure hunters, Kaye and Jim, will be attending to buy, mingle and just plain ogle. but we also shop for clients. In past years, we have located many fine stones at the Tucson Show, including the exquisite gems shown below. Besides the thrill of acquiring truly special treasures, our clients enjoyed participating in designing a truly wonderful jewel.

Here is a wonderful 4 ct. Padaparadscha sapphire and the custom ring a loving husband designed, with our assistance.

4 ct PadPad Ring

And here is a fabulous Pigeon's Blood ruby, and the ring in which it now resides.

Pigeon's Blood RubyPigeon's Blood Ring

We also uncover exquisite estate items at Tucson, like this wonderful Kashmir sapphire ring from the 20's.


Our extensive network of contacts and close relationships with many of the best dealers at Tucson, along with our expertise, taste, and keen eye are at your service. As members of the American Gem Trade Association, we have privileges at the best shows with the best dealers. Please give us a call if you are looking and haven't found the gem of your dreams–the treasure trove we'll see in Tucson holds the one you've been looking for.

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One Response to “Tucson Gem Shows– Here We Come!”

  1. Robyn Hawk Says:

    That is such an ingenious use of the inconsistent shape of Fire Agate – beautiful!


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