Tucson the Product Mart?

When applying for spots in the Gem & Lapidary Wholesalers shows, including the Holidome, Gem Mall, and Rodeway Inn, vendors must give details of their basic lines, 70 percent of which must be jewelry related. Show organizers then dole out spaces accordingly on the floor.

“We don’t want all the silver people in the same place,” explains Candy McNamara, president, G&LW shows, Flora, Miss. But sometimes organizers are surprised by vendors’ wares during setup: “Someone will show up with a booth full of rugs,” says McNamara.

Among the “surprises” that peppered various shows at this year’s Tucson Gem & Mineral Fair were vendors selling Mexican ponchos and blankets, knockoff designer handbags, toys, and lingerie tops.