Tucson Gem Show 2013 Day 2 – G & LW Show at the Holiday Inn Holidome
Today is the last day for the famous G & LW (Gem & Lapidary Wholesalers) show at the Holiday Inn Holidome (4550 Palo Verde Rd.). This wholesale-only show comprises of the Gem Mall that is housed in two soccer sized tents and the Holiday Inn Holidome ballroom. I only managed to see most of the vendors of Tent 1, three vendors in Tent 2, and none in the Holidome. Next year!
Gem Mall tent #1
My only shot of the interior of the Gem Mall
I managed to get one photograph in the show until I was stopped. When I asked a vendor why I couldn't take photos, he answered that vendors are afraid of other vendor's stealing product ideas from them.
Essentially, Tent 1 had vendors that sold beads, pearls, findings, and finished jewelry. Tent 2 was had similar vendors with the addition of carpet and clothing vendors. Prices ranged from extremely cheap, $1-$2 for a string of beads, to the-the very expensive, with prices calculated based on weight. Since it was the last day of the show, I didn't have the luxury of looking first then buying later. Today, I focused my purchasing to pearls, Czech glass beads, semi-precious stone beads, and finished jewelry.
Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan
"Silvermist" beads mined from Arizona
Tumbled and Dyed Quartz Beads
There were dozens of pearl vendors at the show that sold mother of pearl and freshwater pearl necklaces. My first pearl purchase was very expensive, at $65/strand. Shortly after purchasing, I noticed a lot of buyer activity at another booth and to my dismay, the vendor was selling finished pearl jewelry for under $20. Here I purchased pearl bracelets and earrings and necklaces.
I noticed right away that there was very few side drilled briollette beads sold at the show this year. I personally love this type of bead, so I focused my energies on finding some. I found a vendor that only sold 4 types of glass briollette beads at only 2$ a strand.
I almost didn't buy them, but these were quite large and pretty and for that price, it was hard to beat.
Another section of the tent had vendors that sold Czech glass beads. The Jablonec nad Nisou region of Czechoslavkia has been a center of high quality glass bead manufacturing since the 1500's. One vendor that caught my attention had piles of beads displayed haphazardly on a few tables. I dug through the piles and found some that were beautiful and unusual.
The blue spikey beads are a new design for this year
About an hour later, I found more glass briollette beads. These beads were particularly beautfiful, having been coated with an irresdescent dye. They were also very large at 2 cm.
You may have noticed that my colors are mostly blues and red. I intentionally shopped for a limited color range to have a more cohesive bead selection to a potential buyer. It's very easy to buy 5 different colors of the same bead and blow your budget.
There were also dozens of semi-precious bead and gem dealers but I found their prices beyond my budget. However, at the very end of the show when the security guards started to kick the buyers out of the tent, I approached a vendor and offered him cash for high quality labradorite and garnet beads. He did not refuse.
Labradorite is a translucent semi-precious stone whose namesake is it's origin: Labrador, Canada. It is prized for it's blue irridescence.
Although garnet is found in a variety of colors, it is typically known for the inexpenisve brownish red variety called Alamandine. I mistook these garnet beads for ruby, as they were a deep reddish pink.
Since I was kicked out of Tent #1, I ran into Tent #2. Most of the vendors were packing their products into boxes. As I was about to leave, I found frantic buying activity at a large finished jewelry vendor. I wasn't interested in finished jewelry until one of the buyers exclaimed that she wished she had more arms to carry more product. This vendor sold thousands of finished bead necklaces for a fraction of what it would cost me to produce it. In 15 minutes, I managed to buy over 10 necklaces and I would have bought more if the security guard hadn't yelled at us to get out.
Multiple strand finished necklaces
By the time I left the show, it was just before 4 PM and my only sustance that day was a Vente Latte from Starbucks. I called my Auntie Kit-Sahn who lives in Tucson and asked her to go out to dinner with me. She suggested a restaurant recommended to her by a co-worker, La Fuente. It is a large Mexican restaurant in downtown Tucson. A talented mariachi band plays on a stage in this restaurant.
It serves the expected Mexican fare of nachos and burritos, but it also had a interesting seafood menu. We ordered shrimp ceviche for appetizer. The portions were very generous; the ceviche could have easily accomodated 6 people, and still have enough for seconds.