GO 340 Gemstones & Gemology
ES 567 Gemstones of the World
Emporia State University
Dr. Susan Ward Aber, Geologist & Gemologist
Emporia State University
Emporia, Kansas USA


Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Shows 2008-present!

From Kansas to Arizona!
Tucson and Surroundings
The Shows
The Fossils
The Minerals
The Gems

The annual Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Shows have been held since 1954. Usually spanning several weeks at the end of January and into February, the Tucson gem show consists of some 41 shows at 35 locations around town in convention centers, tents, hotels, and motels. Some people were selling from RVs, while others were in established Tucson businesses like the Mineral and Fossil Co-op. In 2008, there were 985 dealers printed in the guide representing 49 U.S. states and Washington D. C., as well as 30 countries in 2008.

Check out a video of 2010 opening of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows (TGMS) at the Tucson Convention Center.
This is the high end side show... can you tell?!

If the embeded video does not play, go to YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jZnyywTzWH8

The high end focuses on diamond, emerald, pearl, ruby, sapphire, tanzanite, topaz, tourmaline, and more... unmounted or set in wonderful metals, strung into beautiful necklaces. At other shows, there was anything from amber to zircon and ammonites to trilobites. Available materials were rough, tumbled, polished, and faceted, as well as natural, synthetic, stablized, reconstituted, dyed, bleached, irradiated, heated, oiled, waxed, and sprayed. Prices were determined by the gram, kilogram, pound, ounce, carat, specimen and strand and ranged from 50 cents to millions of dollars! This is an incredible event for wholesale and retail dealers, and some shows are open to the public at large.

Check out a video of 2011, the Brazilian Booth

If the embeded video does not play, go to YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alARpyiBx6I&feature=related

Tucson is warm in the winter and cactus is the natural vegetation. However, just as the shows attract local to international visitors, Tucson's array of vegetation includes palms and orange trees! The gem representation was equally rich. There was amber to amethyst, alexandrite to agate, ammolite to ammonites, andesine sunstone to anthill garnet, apatite to aquamarine, aventurine to azurite...and we have not even got out of the A gems... there was beryl to boulder opal, bronzite to bloodstone...carnelian to charoite, calcite to chalcedony, chrysocolla to chyrsoprase, chrysoberyl to chrome diopside, citrine to coral, copper to coprolites...demantoid garnet to diamond, dinosaur bone to drusy crystals...emerald to enhydro quartz...fluorite to fire agate, fossils to fluorescnt minerals, fire opal to fulgurites...garnet to gold...hematite to herkimer diamond...idocrase to imperial topaz, iolite to ivory.

Check out a video of 2012 selections from Hershel Friedman, Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom. The samples came from only four shows...the main TGMS Convention Center Show, the Westward Look Show, the InnSuites Show, and the Pueblo show.

If the embeded video does not play, go to YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VPwJbWPN8mg or to Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom, http://www.minerals.net/mineralvideos.aspx

There was jade to jet to jasper...kyanite to kunzite...lapis lazuli to labradorite, lepidolite to larimar...malachite to moonstone, mother of pearl to mammoths, meteorites to marcasite, moldavite to morganite... obsidian to onyx, opal to orbicular granite...pearls to pyrite, petrified wood to pipestone...quartz-single crystals, clusters, dendritic, geode, gold bearing, healing crystals, stalactitic, singing bowls, synthtics, spheres...amethyst, citrine, rock crystal, rose, rutilated, smoky, white... there was rainbow calsilica, fluorite, hematite, moonstone, labradorite...rhodochrosite and rhodonite, ruby to rubelite tourmaline...sapphire to salt, sandstone to scrimshaw, seraphinite to serpentinite, shark teeth to shells, shiva lingams to silver, spinel to staurolite, sphalerite to sodalite, sugilite to sunstone... talc to tiger eye, tanzanite to tourmaline, topaz to tektites, tsavorite to turquoise...ulexite to unakite...variscite to victoria stone...watermelon tourmaline...yogo sapphires to zircon...whew! Some of my pictures follow to display the variety in environment and gem alike. I highly recommend that you attend one of these great shows in the future! Check it out...

One more view of Tucson treasures from the shows... Mineral Oddities from 2009!

If not showing, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rSFMl8wa_Q

Every year I step out of the airport, it is always obvious I am not in Kansas anymore - often I go from blizzard to desert! In 2008, we had a local contact who provided tours and information about the area. Tucson is located in a valley called the Tucson Basin, which is surrounded by mountain ranges including the Tucson, Santa Catalina, Rincon, and Tortolita Mountains.

Image to the left is outside Tucson International Airport. The image to the right is over the wall of the Santa Catalina Mountains, a view from the place we stayed. Images by S.W. Aber; photo date 1/08.

Joy, our guide provided
comfortable accomodations,
transporation, and
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

The neighborhood.
Image by S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

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The Shows

Whether you are in Tucson for five days or fifteen, and each day is a wonderful experience visiting the shows. It is a feast for the eyes and ears. Below is only a sampling and you must see it for yourself someday!

Moroccan tent selling amethyst geodes.
Image by S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Image by S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Susie under an orange tree
at one of the many shows.
Image by S. Kelley; photo date 2/08.

Banded iron tiger eye makes a
great picture on anyone's wall.
Image by S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Iron tigereye is a natural
landscape and worthy of these
attractive frames. Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Sculpted pieces were
created with natural
specimens. Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Artists were carving
in marble... Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

...and an Alaskan was
carving in soapstone.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Natural rough lapis
lazuli could be purchase...
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

...and cutting or grinding
machines were ready for
action. Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

While rough lapis lazuli
was for sale, it was also
used in displays. Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Strands of finished
beads were everywhere.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Denis and Jackie
specialized in exotic
shells and came to
the show from their
home in the Phillipines.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Catlinite or pipestone, ready
for carving. Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Tent sales offered a wide
variety of specimens from
the doubly terminated quartz
Herkimer Diamond...
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

...to amber. Image by
S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Prices varied from under
one dollar to thousands of
dollars... Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

...in every color,
style, and composition
you can imagine!
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

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This page originates from the Earth Science department for the use and benefit of students enrolled at Emporia State University. For more information contact the course instructor, S. W. Aber, e-mail: esu.abersusie@gmail.com Thanks for visiting! Webpage created: February 2008; last update: November 19, 2012.

Copyright 2008-2012 Susan Ward Aber. All rights reserved.