Sunday, February 06, 2011

It's Still Rock 'n' Rubies to Me

My friend Maggie and I began our adventures at the Tucson Gem Fair with a morning seminar on Thursday called, "Best Buys in Tucson," presented by Richard Drucker from GemWorld International.  He discussed issues facing colored gemstone dealers, which gemstones are most popular (and most expensive), the quality and sizes available, and to prepare ourselves for higher prices.

Then we hit the AGTA show.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I have never seen so many exquisite stones in one place.   We saw diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, aquamarine, opals, peridot, spinel, tourmaline, chrysoprase, garnet, chalcedony, pearls, morganite, moonstone, kunzite, tanzanite, topaz, citrine and more.   Expensive? Very!

One of the highlights of our day at AGTA was spending a little time with the famous Bernd Munsteiner and his son, Tom.  Bernd Munsteiner is one of the greatest gem carvers ever.  Tom has carried on the family tradition and his wife,  Jutta, is a master goldsmith who designs all of their jewelry pieces.   Maggie and I tried on a couple of their bracelets, which were eye-popping gorgeous.   Bernd even let us take pictures with him.  : )

On the second day we shopped the GJX.   Again, we found prices higher than we had expected and simliar to AGTA, but with more vendors from outside the country.

Third day: Holidome.   What a difference.  It felt like a gigantic flea market.  The pearls dropped from thousands of dollars a strand to two dollars a strand.  Certain items were of a lesser quality, but by doing some searching, we were able to find some nice stones for  excellent prices.  This is where I found some very unusual cabachons in peruvian opal and sugalite, which completely made my day.

What else did we do in Tucson?  Ate lots and lots of Mexican food!  Here is a photo of a unique entrance to one of the restaurants we tried.

We never even made it to any of the outdoor shows.  Maybe next year?