Tucson Gem Show 2022 Part 1

It has been quite an eventful week! Mother, Melinda and I headed to Tucson for the Gem Show on Tuesday afternoon but before we turned the rental car in, we ran some errands. We ended up at Joann and on the spur of the moment I bought a Cricut. We were looking at getting a new round of specialty punches to make jewelry cards and it dawned on me - the Cricut is a cutting machine, I do not see why it could not make the cards and save Mother from having to do it. Luckily we got some expert help and were directed to an entry-level machine which happened to be on sale.

I came across a pattern for adorable earring card designs on Etsy, six designs for only $1.99. What a bargain! With a little practice, I found that I could make the cards any size I like for various size earrings. The Cricut does all of the work and we can use our existing card stock. I learned how to maximize the number of cards that fit on a piece of paper as well. The original cards work great for post earrings but I have many dangles as well. I asked Rachel to make versions of the designs with the holes moved up and she was able to do this quickly for me. I look forward to trying them out with all of our new buys from this week!

We are currently staying in a casita which is a two-bedroom apartment attached to an 8,000 square foot mansion at the base of the Catalina Foothills. This is my first time to this area and I love it, it is so beautiful and the surrounding stores are very upscale. The closest grocery store is a huge Whole Foods which is only two miles away. The main photo is a view from the home which is spectacular! The casita is a bit cramped for three people but we made do. There are vintage touches throughout such as the use of antique cut glass dishes to hold the remote controls and soap. The laundry room is very spacious and there are antique porcelain floral plates on the wall. The water pressure is pretty nonexistent in the kitchen sink and the vintage round wood dining table is not stable and every time someone leans on it, it drives me crazy but overall I would stay here again. The location is convenient at 25 minutes away from the shows and feels very safe due to the proximity to the main home.

Our host has been incredible, he left us with lots of great snacks. I let him know the other day his dog was scratching the door, it was not bothering us but we were more concerned that he was going to damage the door and also that he was feeling sad that he could not get to us. That evening our host left me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers in a Mason jar and a lovely card with dogs all over it to apologize for the inconvenience. That was really not necessary a lovely gesture, above and beyond!

Speaking of dogs, we stepped into an antique store and were delighted to meet these two cuties - 8 week old pug puppies. Larry is on the left and Harvey is on the right. Melinda held Harvey for the longest time and I kept Larry occupied while he was in the playpen. The lovely owner of the antique store is 80 years old and is taking on the challenge of these two fellas!

We shopped 'till we dropped at three different shows this week. I accomplished everything I wanted to except strangely enough I could not find the Tibet jewelry. My favorite vendor signed up for her two usual shows and I scoured each row of the shows looking for her but she was not at either location. But since the Gem Show was in April last year and I was not able to price the Tibet jewelry right away due to our busy season with estate sales, I still have lots remaining. She is such a sweet person, I hope everything is OK and that she will be back next year.

Each morning before hitting the road I took a group shot representing each vendor I made selections from. Our first stop Tuesday was our favorite supplier of current Native American jewelry. I was dismayed to find about a third of the items had net pricing, meaning no discount. Last year only a handful of items from one artist had net pricing. I did not buy as much as last year due to this but I was still able to find some beautiful items. I went overboard buying non-discounted Navajo Pearls for myself. One of the salespeople was originally from Milwaukee and we spoke with her for quite some time talking Wisconsin while she kept finding great pieces for us.

I was delighted to come across the booth of Navajo silversmith Leon Martinez, where his wife and other family members beautifully represented his work and the work of a few friends. I could not resist the dramatic gem quality Royston turquoise showpiece as well as some smaller Royston turquoise pendants. Most of the rings were huge in stature but I found one with webbed Kingman turquoise which is a statement but not too over the top. It is tempting to keep that one as well as the White Buffalo pendant. It is hard to find White Buffalo with mostly black and it is my favorite. I like to wear smaller jewelry in the summer and it will be perfect with my new pearls.

We stopped at the Amber Pavilion, where the best amber vendor had lots of new designs to choose from. Mother was especially enamored with the diamond cut beaded necklaces so I decided to give them a try in several different styles. I also liked the glamorous European-style pendants. There were not as many statement pieces this time but that is OK as I still have some from last time. I picked up the two hinged bracelets to add to the display.

Thursday the second of our three favorite shows opened, back in its usual location and improved with a much more organized layout and mostly blacktopped as opposed to littered with loose rocks. It was definitely much easier to navigate the wheelchair through there.

I was thrilled to see Buffalo Dancer was back after a year's absence. I went all in, buying hearts in earrings, pendants and cuff bracelets and decided to give their coin jewelry a try with beaded bracelets, earrings and keychains. There are styles for both men and women! 

Two years ago, I passed on the amazing butterfly pendant they had on hand and this year there were two! I am a huge Native American butterfly jewelry fan and I did not hesitate to pick them both up this time. My initial thought was to keep the dark one and sell the light one but I think I may have to keep them both.

Without realizing it, I went a little out of order with my group photos but I will resume the recap next week once the rest of the photos are created. There is much more to talk about including our food journey and trip to Tubac. I will say that although I have enjoyed my time in Tucson I am looking forward to getting back to Scottsdale and a normal schedule. This is just the beginning of the jewelry purchases, I definitely have my work cut out for me to get this all sold but next week is our first Arizona selling event so hopes are high that it will go well!