Tucson Day 1 With Peggy Li Creations

I've made it to the promised land, the mecca, the superbowl of gem shows -- the Tucson Gem Show that runs annually every Jan-Feb and draws hundreds of vendors (and shoppers) from around the world.

I rolled right off the airplane and since it was too early to check in to the hotel room, decided to (duh!) hit some shows! Gotta get those great new gemstones for Handmade Jewelry by Peggy Li Creations.

I started with the J.O.G.S show, which is at the Tucson Expo Center. Large, sprawling, and smelling of BBQ from the food tents set up outside, I breezed through the registration (remember to register in advance!) and got to walking down the aisles. This show was a bit of a mish-mash of items, from finished jewelry to gemstones to mineral displays and smaller booths of handcrafted items. The most interesting booths to me was a booth with vintage ivory components and another featuring diamond-encrusted pendants and jewelry. Now, I realized quickly that one of the hardest things to do during the show will be to recognize "quality" from not-so-quality. But I don't want to stick with the vendors I normally shop with, so I remembered to pick up a lot of business cards and catalogs.

Next, we hit the GJX(after stopping for lunch at the In-n-Out). Here the registration booth was quite alert, asking for ID and making sure we displayed the proper passes before allowing us inside. GJX definitely had a higher level of products than the JOGS show, and (yay!) a lot more beads. Some familiar faces were here so it was nice to see if they had anything new. Hot sellers? Premade gemstone chains and more of the oxidized, diamond encrusted beads. Hmm.

After picking up a few goodies at GJX (my first purchases of the day!) the next stop was gonna be the GLW show at the Gem Mall, but we somehow hit a wrong turn and ended up at what I later realized was the Tucson Electric Park show. Now, it is exactly what it sounds like -- sort of a big flea market show for gems. The highlight here was definitely a big tent filled with amethyst and citrine geodes (some up to 5 feet tall) and fossilized tree trunks -- amazing!

We did make it, with an hour to go before shows closed, at the GLW. Now, this show was two huge tents and tons and tons of vendors! Lots of tables of beads and chinese turquoise, Bali beads (watch out for those silver plated styles). We barely had time to walk through both floors quickly, so I think I'll have to go back.

Whew! The feet were just about to start hurting, but we checked in to our hotel and just had time to get out to our dinner to Jax Kitchen (get the hanger steak -- amazing!).

Tomorrow? GOLF! Thursday -- the Holidome, the show that promises to have the biggest finds.