I made my first visit to the Tucson Gem Show this year. The Tucson Gem Show is like the World Cup for crystal lovers. Vendors and consumers descend on Tucson from every corner of the globe. It takes place each year for several weeks starting in mid to late January and ends about the second week in February.
Surprisingly, the Tucson Gem Show is not located in one place. There are many venues all over the city. Some venues are open to public but some are only open to registered vendors. It was really overwhelming figuring out where to start. Any time I go somewhere new I have to research it to death to minimize my anxiety of the unknown.
This website Tucson Gem Show 101 was a great resource. Based on what I learned, the Kino Gem & Mineral Show seemed like the best place to start as a first timer. But I didn't end up making it there.
Instead, I stopped at my second choice of venue first due to its location as I would be driving by it first from Phoenix. This venue was called the Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show. It took place outside of a hotel. I was wowed from the moment I walked on the property seeing a huge sphere and other large crystals. This is a great place to take photos.
From here, you just start entering tents and look at all the beautiful pieces everyone has to offer. It's interesting talking to the vendors in the tents because they are from all over the world.
Many crystals didn't have a price on them. If you wanted something they would weigh it and tell you how much it was. I was continuously shocked by how cheap everything was compared to what you'd pay in a shop. Especially the large ones. I'll never buy another crystal in a shop. I'll only get them here. I did particularly well with the booth from Madagascar. I plan on coming back next year.
The reason I didn't make it to my intended first venue, the Kino Gem & Mineral Show, is because I blew all my money here. I didn't even end up visiting all the tents at this site because my bag was so heavy with crystals I had to leave.
Clearly I'm a first timer because other people who knew what they were doing brought wagons! Smart. I see now why people spend weeks here! There's so much to see. I only spent about 2 hours looking around. If I would have paced myself I easily could have spent all day here. The Kino Gem & Mineral Show was much bigger than this venue. And there was another venue in walking distance from this one.
I plan on coming back next year.
Some things worth knowing: There were some good food truck options like Fry Bread, BBQ, Cuban Tacos. Port-a-potties were available near them. I wish I hadn't left my water in the car. I parked in the dirt lot next to the venue. They charged $20. Yes, it's a rip off but I saw no other choice and it was right across the street on the corner of Cushing and the Freeway off ramp. The police had set up a sort of command center here so it felt safe walking alone with a giant bag full of merchandise. This parking lot was in between 2 venues. You could walk to the other one at the Red Lion Inn if you had any money left. Try to pace yourself. Lol. It was a fun experience.