Tightwad’s Tour of Tucson 2009

My favorite trade show of the year, the American Gem Trade Association’s GemFair, held in February, in Tucson, Ariz.—along with 42 other gem shows!—continues to serve as a source of inspiration and delight for rock hounds and jewelry designers. I cruised from show to show in my rental car and sneakers, equipped with water, camera, paper and pen, and a wee bit of money (a girl has got to support her industry, non?).

This year’s finds were as plentiful and enticing as a trip to a Sunday-morning buffet brunch, where you could treat yourself to agate (Brazilian and plume), bead-nucleated fireball pearls, black diamond strands, and Swedish ort blue. But while the materials may sound rich, their prices are not, so enjoy the display and load up on good buys.