Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tucson Gem Show--JOGS 1

"For two weeks every winter, the world meets in Tucson as it becomes a bustling, international marketplace of buyers and sellers at the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase.

"The legendary Showcase has grown from a 'club show' to a major show for collectors and enthusiasts from around the country and the world. Showcased here are over 250 of the best gems, minerals, jewelry, lapidary and publication dealers from across the US. Also displayed are items from private collections and renowned museums worldwide, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

"The main event of this two-week showcase is the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show which packs downtown's Tucson Convention Center over the final weekend. This show attracts thousands of treasure hunters from every corner of the globe and is open to the public.

"The 'Gem Show' is much more than a single event at one location. As a result of the interest generated by the original show, satellite shows have proliferated all over the city. These shows cater to the interests of the growing number of people coming to town. ...(T)housands of participants and attendees (gather) at more than 40 sites around town...with dozens of shows taking place at the same time--in giant white tents, at hotels and resorts and at exhibit halls.

"There's something for everyone at the many open-to-the-public shows--from gold and diamonds to granite bookends and glass beads, and from fine specimens of dinosaur fossils to opals dug from the Australian Outback.

"Together, the original show and the satellite shows make up the Showcase--one of the largest and most popular events in the gem and mineral world, attracting an estimated 55,000 people to Tucson in a two-week period" ( events/gem-show/).

We were not aware of the Gem Show's schedule when we planned our stay in Tucson, so we had to do a quick review of the shows open to the public, the type of merchandise (gems, minerals, fossils, or "other"), and the locations of the shows. We began with the JOGS International Exhibit, one of the largest, both in number of dealers and variety of merchandise.
The first booths we came to had displays of Russian amber stones and jewelry. With permission to take photos granted, I photographed the articles shown in the first six photos above. Moving on, I realized I would have to be more selective on the number of photos, given that there were hundreds of display areas in the Tucson Expo Center.
Some display areas had large arrays of merchandise; other merchants operated out of small booths.
Because some of those attending the show were buyers, the displays often featured large numbers of merchandise,
such as this display of carved animals and
this display of perfume bottles.

There were two displays that caught our attention out of the several dozen in the center. One was Cross-Cultural Creations.

We spoke briefly with Ben Chaffee and Alex Zinn during two stops at their display area. They travel extensively to Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to purchase the items shown in these photographs.
If I followed Alex's discussion, I believe he said that the Hmong people, a semi-nomadic tribal people that since ancient times have called the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia their home, produced much of the items in these photos.
As their web page notes: "Each of our jewelry products has a story of its own" (
But there were other products with stories to tell, so we continued our "tour" of the international merchants.

1 comment:

BettyRussett said...

Happy Birthday, Chuck!! Eager to see your Birthday dinner!! Betty Russett