Behind the Scenes at the Tucson Gem Show

Gemstone shopping and sourcing has surprisingly been one of the hardest parts of my job. Don't get me wrong, it's also the best part, but finding reputable and responsive suppliers, high quality stones, strong customer service, and regular availability has proved to be tougher than I ever would have anticipated. Over the years i've built relationships with several suppliers, however at the end of last year I was feeling like I could use more and expand my sources. So on a whim I booked a flight to Tucson for this year's gem show.

If you're in the jewelry business, the annual gem show is the place to be. The entire city is dedicated to it, and people travel from all over the country and around the world to attend. Imagine any trade show you've been to, then multiple it by 20 (there are multiple shows happening at once) and add thousands of vendors and millions of stones...that's what Tucson is like in January.

Since this was my first year attending I didn't quite know what to expect from the show. I also had to be back in DC by a certain date, so I had 24 hours on the ground when I could buy gems (insider tip: leave yourself WAY more time than this). Needless to say my visit was slightly rushed, but I managed to meet so many new suppliers and designers, and also pick up plenty of stones from my Spring/Summer collection. I ended my trip running through the airport (I had a terrible cold and slept through my alarm) with a 50+lb carry on bag filled with stones and rocks, hoping I wouldn't get stopped at security for the odd items in my bag. All in all, it was an amazing trip and I can't wait to go back next year!

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