Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show 2009

These Venetian Murano glass beads are so beautiful!

These are just a sampling of some of the lovely gemstones I am planning to use in my newest designs. I purchased these stone from Lilly's Bead Box at her tucson booth and you can find her on etsy.

I just returned from my very first visit to Arizona. The purpose of my trip was to attend the Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show to purchase gemstones and gold and silver findings for my handmade jewelry. Today I will write a bit about the show itself and will continue to add photos and information over the next week or so. For those of you who have never been, it is a must see and for those of you who have been , I will offer my insight and personal opinions on what to avoid and what not to miss.

Needless to say,this show is extremely overwhelming and scary for a first time visitor like me. Here is what I learned from my experience:

1. Don't get to the show too late. I arrived after many of the bead shows were already over. Although I may have gotten better bargains at the end of the various shows, I felt that I missed seeing the best of the gemstones,beads and lamp work beads.

2. Be very wary of fakes. There is so much cheating going on. For example, many beaders, including myself, are very fond of Karen Hill Tribe beads. I discovered while I was at the show that some unscrupulous dealers are selling "Karen Hill Tribe" which are not fine silver and some are even silver plate and over lead.

3. Know your stones and ask the dealer questions. If they can't give you an answer or guarantee quality,walk away.

4. Double check totals. Have a calculator with you.

5. Have a budget set in your mind and keep careful records of exactly what you spend each day. It all adds up quickly.

6.Be wary of the vendor that calls you over to his booth and then changes his price because you walk away.
7. Try to purchase items you can't find at local shows or stores

8. Leave time for sightseeing because Tucson has some wonderful attractions.

I will be showing you some awesome photos of my travels in Tucson and also photos of some of the mineral oddities seen at the Main Event show which is held on the last weekend of this amazing 2 week event.