Under the Tucson Sun



The AGTA GemFair shows its true colors

The American Gem Trade Association has done more than apply a fresh coat of paint to its annual GemFair, coming to the Tucson Convention Center Feb. 5–10. Visitors can expect to find some big changes to this year’s gathering.

For starters, the redesigned main show floor will house the Design Pavilion, which had been stationed in the Grand Ballroom. The pavilion will include a Prevue Promenade section featuring 10 new designers, while the Grand Ballroom space will feature a new Tools, Technology, and Services Pavilion (TTSP). The tech section also will host twice-daily “At the Bench Live” demonstrations organized by Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America as well as hands-on exhibits by the Palladium Alliance International.

What’s more, AGTA president Doug Hucker promises a greater spirit of cooperation with some of Tucson’s well-trafficked shows. “We will be marketing jointly with the JOGS Show, the Gem and Jewelry Exchange, and the G&LW’s Holidome Show to promote the TTSP. We will allow attendees with badges from their shows access to this pavilion,” he says.

Fans of extraordinary colored stones won’t want to miss the ­Somewhere in the Rainbow exhibit at AGTA. The privately owned ­collection comprises some of the finest gem and mineral specimens in the market. The owners, an anonymous couple from Scottsdale, Ariz., have made it their mission “to bring hands-on education and enjoyment of fine colored gems to museums, galleries, gemologists, and facilities dedicated to preserving the rarity, history, and beauty of fine gems and articles of jewelry,” according to curator Shelly Sergent.

Last, a new Celebrate GemFair buyer party, complete with food stations and beverages, will be held on Feb. 6, 4–6 p.m., on the Gem Hall floor.

The event kicker: cash! From Tuesday through Thursday, the AGTA will sponsor a drawing for $1,000 vouchers that can be spent on the show floor; $2,000 vouchers will be issued Friday–Sunday.