February 5, 2006

Enter at your own risk!

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows:
Jan. 27 through Feb. 13

I'm sure they mean that if you trip or fall don't sue them..... but, it's a high risk to any beader's pocketbook! A quick look at the show guide gives you 40 major shows (6 Bead Shows) throughout the city of Tucson and about 2,000 unique vendors. You really can't visit all of the shows unless you are really energetic and in top notch physical shape. I managed 5 shows in a week's time, had sore feet by the 3rd show and hit bead overload by the 4th show. When the small paper plates of faceted rubies, sapphires, & other gems look like so many plates of colored Jello.... well, that's sensory overload.

The Holidome, a wholesale Show, lists 907 vendors from all over the world. This photo shows the booth of one gemstone bead and pearl vendor. Freshwater pearls averaged $6 to $24 a strand and gemstone beads in every shape imaginable were $6 to $30 a strand depending on the quantity you bought. After awhile all those piles and piles of beads seemed to lose their value and it was hard to make choices. Then there were the other 900 vendors to see, looking for something new and different.

I was there to hand pick faceted gemstone beads for a workshop I'm doing on a bead cruise.

Beautiful dark blue lace agate, peach jasper, goldstone, green bean jasper, gray rock pearls, and a green flecked jasper....... Ten lbs of beads and pearls later I had to take my bag back to the car.


Bev Herman from New Olreans spent the past week with me and we walked the shows together. We were disappointed in not really seeing anything oh wow or really different this year. We did replenish out stock of Hill Tribe silver, findings, headpins and other necessities. We bought Czech pressed glass and larger size seed beads as well as individual lampwork beads; Russian lacquer, and Chinese cut crystal beads. I found 2 sources of nice Chinese cut crystal cubes and barrel beads, however most of the vendors had what I'd call mediocre quality with sharp, chipped edges.

It was a good week and I replenished my inventory of beads and supplies, however I don't think I want to look at beads for a couple of days and may just turn the phone off, hide the car, put my feet up and bask in the sun for a good rest.


  1. Anonymous7:35 PM

    Judith, sounds like too much fun. I can't wait to see Mom's stash in person tomorrow! Enjoy a few days of being unplugged, sounds like just the cure for bead overload.

  2. Anonymous7:45 PM

    oh, I just spotted a humblebead in the middle of that seed bead stash!