It's been a month now since I returned home from Tucson, AZ and the glorious Tucson Gem and Mineral Show! I've been planning a blog post on my adventures there, but with a new jewelry line to create and set up, the blog had to wait- until now!
I've been going to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show for over ten years now, not always every year, but usually no more then 2 years apart. It's where I typically buy all my stone and other supplies for the year. I remember the first time going 12 years ago and how completely overwhelming it was.... fast forward to today, and it's still overwhelming. I met many people this year that have been coming as long as me- we all agree, it never gets easier. No matter how much you budget, plan, make lists- the moment you get to one of the shows (which are ALL OVER the city of Tucson), every bit of calculating goes right out the window! I don't know if it's the energy of all the people, the stones, the city... or just the total distraction of all the pretty sparkly things, whatever it is, it sure is exciting!
Over the last 12 years I've gone as a buyer, looking for deals and unique pieces to make my designs stand out. This year I went not only as a buyer, but to work as well. One of my favorite booths to shop is Silk Road Treasures, Ahmad has the BEST stuff (if you visit/order from his site, tell him I sent ya!). I first met Ahmad while working for a bead store in Minneapolis, MN way back before I had even heard of the Gem and Mineral show, he would swing through town with his trunk of wonder, setting up in a room in the back of the bead shop, and all us jewelry makers and bead collectors would oogle and drool over his treasures. Some years after leaving the bead shop job, while shopping at the gem show, I ran into a friend from the bead store days- there in Tucson, working the booth for Silk Road Treasures. After that chance encounter, that booth became one of my regular go to locations. Ahmad often asked when I was coming to work for him, it seemed I always said "next year!". I eventually worked for him at a few small scale gem shows in Minneapolis, and last fall when he asked me AGAIN about Tucson- I jumped at the chance. 2015 would be the first time working a booth at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, and within a few days I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner.
Although it was a long 18 days away from my home, husband, and pets... it was also 18 beautifully sunny days away from Minnesota's harsh winter. I got to stay with friends in the city, get to know one of my favorite cities better, meet new friends and connections... oh, and also be surrounded by beads, gems, minerals, and fossils- someone pinch me, am I dreaming? It was all fun and games, we had long days of setting up our 3 booth locations, heavy lifting and hauling, long hours working the show for 2 weeks straight. Even though there was a lot of work, it was still a fabulous experience- I can't wait to do it again next year!