Every year, during the last week of January and the first week of February downtown Tucson is turned into the Land of Bling. The Tucson Gem Show comes to town, with merchants from around the world. They take over every empty lot, motel, hotel and parking lot. This is not an exaggeration!
There are tents set up, motel rooms have the furniture stuffed into closets, to be replaced with display tables. If there is anything in the gem or jewelry world you want, it can be found here. Everything from gem stones and pearls to rock tumblers.
I stock up for future projects. Before you faint, no, I will not go through all this in 2010. I may not even go through it in my lifetime, but, like sewing supplies, it’s there when lightening strikes!
There’s also economy of scale. A local bead shop will charge $4 for a strand of 25 beads. I can spend $10, and get 12 strands. Those white beads in the center are vintage Czech. I have no idea what I will do with them, but they called my name. Aren’t the tortoise colored daggers pretty? I already have something in mind for them.
Chinese manufacturers are taking on Swarovski. These are all Chinese crystals. Much better quality than in the past. For my purposes they work just as well! I can’t tell the difference, though I’m sure a true crystal aficianado could.
I was also shopping for my Aunt. She is a real artist, with her work in galleries and private collections. I am very proud of her. These may make their appearance on some of her pieces. I hope I got the right colors.