Tucson Gem and Mineral Show brings local vendors with competitive spirit
The Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase kicked off Jan. 27, and individuals from both near and far have attended shows at over 40 locations around the city of Tucson promising "a world of international gem and mineral training, collecting and treasure hunting."
Kent's Tools Jewelry and Lapidary Tools and Supply, a local company, is be a vendor at the gem show. The company has been a part of the show for 25 years and has the largest inventory of jewelry and lapidary tools there.
“We sell jewels and equipment for making jewelry and cutting and polishing gem stones," said Kent Solberg, the company's owner. "We have some jewelry for sale, some specimens and rough rocks for sale.”
Since the gem show is a competitive process for vendors, Kent’s Tools advertised in all official show guides, including internet show guides, in order to promote the company.
“Most people use those resources to find places and develop an itinerary so when they come to the show they know where they’re going," Solberg said.
Another participating merchant in this year’s show is Madagascar Minerals.
According Carolyn Cary, the company's operations manager, they sell all categories of gems, rocks, minerals and fossils. However, their specialty is in labradorite and petrified wood.
Selling in the gem show can be an ambitious endeavor due to all of the competitors. According to Cary, what separates Madagascar Minerals from other companies is their products are made and shipped from Madagascar.
Jessica Kapp, associate department head for University of Arizona geosciences, explained what kinds of rocks and gems someone can expect to see sold at the gem show. According to Kapp, the show has a theme every year, with this year's being crystals and crystal forms.
“People come to the gem show to buy all sorts of stuff," Kapp said. "Some are looking for gem-quality crystals — everything from quartz, which is really basic, all the way to diamonds and topaz.”
Kapp also noted the show isn't just for people looking to buy expensive gems.
“Other people come because they’re amateur rock hounds and just want inexpensive pieces of inexpensive rocks," Kapp said. "[Those] inexpensive rocks usually include chunks of granite, volcanic rocks, metamorphic rocks, to little bits of mineral known as geodes."
The Gem Show runs until Feb. 11. Those looking to bargain, sell, buy or just window shop are welcome.
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