Tucson Rock, Mineral, Gem, Fossil, Jewelry Shows 2016
by Lady Di Wanderlust @ www.dibythesea.com
This was our first time, we had been interested in going for near a decade ! We drove up from California, so our initial investment was some cash for gas, discounted hotel room and food. Others who purchase plane tickets and pay full price for hotels start a little more in the red and that's okay for the big players. Little guys like us need to keep our costs down otherwise the savings end up being just a wash in the end.
On the way into Tucson from Phoenix we came across our first show, on the side of the road, a miners, co-op, called, the Rock show, there we found an outside area with tents, motor homes a cotton candy truck, rocks, lots of em. And so we began... this is where my husband purchased his first dino bone.
Tip: Turns out you can become a member of the AGTA, for 50.00 year and with this student membership you receive a 10% discount off of the GIA university classes and books. Some of the classes are 1,600.00 so that's quite a value for a 50.00 investment. Note: if from California, you have to have your diploma or GED to qualify.
At that show we met a really cool 75 year old australian guy who had a booth there, selling Australian Opals. Turns out he lives in a city near us in the canyon and so we will be going over to his house to check out his digs. He exchanged us some cut and polished opal pieces for a few haircuts, not a bad trade, at all. Looking forward to the long friendship. He travels the world to Hong Kong and Australia and is a collector of oddities and the like, so right up our alley.
If you are solely a crafter, then it's best to attend these shows when they come to your town. I didn't find any real significant savings attending these shows here in Tucson versus any that were in my home town. I recognized a few venders while wandering about and already had established wholesale accounts and had purchased from these sellers online and locally. Don't get me wrong though there are incredible deals to be made if you are lucky. For instance we hit the jackpot on some 925 Sterling Silver piceces for making jewelry. The vender came down from thousands to hundreds after about 20 minutes of hemming and hawing. They love CASH !
I made a lot of contacts that I would never have found doing searches on Google. I was able to open wholesale accounts right there on the spot, so that was where I got my value in this show. Having a face and personality to match up to the products I'm purchasing.
- Pay attention to your receipts, check your purchases before you get back to your hotel.
- You can make CASH deals and FLASH deals on the last days. : )
- Bring sani-wipes, your hands get real dirty picking through rocks and jewelry, it's dusty in Tucson, esp in the outdoor shows.
- Wear sun protection
- Bring a backpack or rolling case, tho some shows do provide bags
- HAVE FUN !
- Tucson is pet friendly, but I didn't see pets (specifically dogs at any of the shows except for the outdoor ones)
- CHINA booths, something fishy about these dealers !
- Bring snacks, although there are food trucks and nearby restaurants to grab a bite.
- Bathrooms are provided via restrooms and port potties, some cleaner and nicer than others.
- Bring a pen and collect business cards, write down notes on the cards.
In the end my husband picked up a few pounds of rocks and dino bones and minerals for specimens and lapidary. I picked up some baubles, beads, charms, and new things to make some jewelry for my boutique. Did we make any big scores on gemstones as I had hoped ? Well, we did get a decent deal on a sugilate piece. Picked up some nice pieces of laboradite, emerald, opal to make some nice custom pieces for ourselves and our customers in the end.
Will I attend again ? I may. Should you ?... yes, at least once ! Let me know if you do and what you thought, share your experiences in the comments below.
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