AZGem Gems
February, 2004
The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company
and other visitors to the azgem.com website who subscribe.

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Tucson Gem Shows - 2004

The Tucson Gem Shows of 2004 have come and gone... but they were fun while they lasted!

The Tucson Gem Shows come together in Tucson, Arizona each February.  It's the crowning event of the year for the gem industry.

Dealers, traders, miners, cutters, buyers, suppliers, journalists, and many others associated with the gem industry view the collection of Tucson Shows as a single event.

An event that seems to take over the town for about two weeks. Hotel rooms double in price and are difficult to find. Reserve a room months in advance is the rule.

Friends living in Tucson tell me they avoid going out to eat while the gem shows are in town. It's just too crowded.

The gem shows both compete and cooperate among themselves. They compete for exhibitors and buyers. They cooperate in making it easy for buyers to visit several shows in just a few days.

Show dates are coordinated to help attract the buyers.

Many of the shows help sponsor shuttle buses which move buyers between various show locations each day.

The more important shows restrict attendance to industry members only. Multiple documents and references proving industry affiliation are required when registering.

Internet, fax, and mail pre-registration is now offered by many shows, but there are still long registration lines of those not pre-registering.

As you would think, security is heavy. Uniformed, off-duty police officers, undercover officers, armored transports, and other security measures are employed.

And is it any wonder! Most of the shows feature hundreds of dealers, most of them selling loose colored gems.

Our favorite shows are:

  • The GJX Show (Gem and Jewelry Exchange) has become one of the more important shows in just a few years. They attract leading colored stone dealers, manufacturers of finished jewelry, and diamond dealers as exhibitors.

  • The AGTA Show (American Gem Trade Association) is a very important show. This show's exhibitors are almost exclusively world-class colored gem dealers.

  • The GLDA Show (Gem and Lapidary Dealers Association) is the granddaddy of commercial Tucson gem shows. This one seems to offer exhibitors selling all gem industry products and services.

There are about thirty other shows that make up what we call The Tucson Gem Shows. There are bead shows, rockhound shows, fossil, meteorite, and mineral specimen shows. They all come together in Tucson each February.

For those who aren't aware, Tucson is located in southern Arizona's Sonoran Desert. The sunny and mild winter climate is a real attraction to buyers from eastern U.S. cities experiencing snow, ice and cold winds.

Holding the shows in sunny Tucson is just icing on the cake for most buyers. They really come because the dealers are there. Big and little dealers alike, all competing with each other.

And of course, the dealers come because the buyers are there... and the event just keeps growing each year. 

We meet with miners/dealers from the U.S., Madagascar, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, India, China, Pakistan, and Thailand, each year at the Tucson Gem Shows.

Some are old friends, and a few are new friends. This year we met a group of gem miners from Zambia  sponsored by the European Union. They were a great group and we were impressed with their gem rough.

Many  Asian and African dealers travel for days to attend, but Tucson is only two hours south of our home in the Phoenix area.

The defining feature of the 2004 shows in my mind was the increase in facet-grade gem rough available at the shows.

We usually have to work very hard to find good rough in Tucson, but high quality rough was available at both the GJX and GLDA shows this year.

By buying gem rough and having it cut ourselves, we keep our cost (and yours, too) very affordable.

The Tucson Gem Shows of 2004 were larger and better than ever!

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Industry News

Two new deposits of rare blue gems have been discovered recently.

in the Motagua Valley of Guatemala, miners have uncovered a sizable deposit of deep blue jade. This same valley is the location of the historic jade deposits of the ancient Mayans.

The deposits of green to blue-green jade worked by the  Mayans were lost for centuries... until being rediscovered during the 1990's. 

A Canadian exploration and mining company, True North Gems, has announced the discovery of blue gemstones believed to be a rare deposit of blue beryl.

Described as "a transparent gemstone the color of blue velvet," Blue beryl of this color is perhaps so rare that it may have only been found once before, in Brazil.

The blue gemstones are currently being classified by gem labs to determine if they are a completely new classification of gemstone or the world's second occurrence of deep blue beryl.

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Jewelry Dealers

Are you making up new pieces of jewelry to rebuild and upgrade your inventory depleted by holiday sales? Now is a good time to work at this fun and vital task.

We've recently received some new emerald, morganite, sapphire, peridot, and chrome diopside from our cutters.

As usual, all these gems are in sizes appropriate for center stones in  rings  and pendants.

Send me an email for information on gems that interest you.

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Jewelry Dealers Program

Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?

Do you enjoy talking with friends and co-workers?

Take a look at our great Jewelry Dealers Program.

Carolyn Doyle

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The Dorado Company
P.O. Box 8232
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-8232