If you’re wild about gems and minerals, or if you just want to see what all the fuss is about, then you must visit the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. It’s the largest and oldest gem and mineral show in the world, and has enjoyed international prestige since the 1970s. The show is fun for all ages, so bring the whole family! Here’s a quick look at what you need to know about attending the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.
Getting to Know the History of the Show
The city of Tucson, Arizona annually hosts multiple gem and mineral shows at various places around the city. It’s part of the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase that is held in late January and into February. The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is the signature event of the Showcase. It’s been open to the public since 1955. In its inaugural year, the show was held at a local elementary school. Later, it was moved to the Tucson Fair Grounds. Currently, the show has made its home at the Tucson Convention Center. Since its inception, the show has been run by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society—a nonprofit organization established in 1946.
Exploring This Year’s Show
The 2020 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is being held from February 13 through 16. The theme for this year’s show is “World Class Minerals.” Tickets are already available! Once you attend one of these shows, you’ll undoubtedly look forward to the next one. The 2021 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show will be held from February 11 through 14. Its theme will be “The Show That Glows!”
Getting Ready to Shop
You can enjoy the gem and mineral booths and exhibits without having to purchase anything. However, many visitors like to add to their own collections, or purchase gifts for their loved ones’ birthdays or other special events. You will find upward of 200 retail dealers in the Exhibition Hall and the Grand Ballroom. Enjoy the creative artistry of lapidary crafts, minerals, fossils, and jewelry! Here is a small sample of the retail dealers you will find at this year’s show:
- Cornerstone Minerals from Asheville, NC
- Crystal Classics Fine Minerals, Ltd. from Somerset, England
- Collector’s Edge Minerals, Inc. from Golden, CO
- EJAZ Enterprises (The Miners Gallery) from Karachi, Pakistan
- Himalaya Quartz from Kathmandu, Nepal
And of course, there will also be dealers from the local area, like IC Minerals, The Collector’s Stope, and KARP Mining, LLC from Tucson. Whatever your style and budget, you are sure to find something incredible!
Enjoying the Seminars and Lectures
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is about more than just shopping. You can also choose from a full schedule of educational seminars and lectures. All lectures will be held Tuesday through Saturday at the Tucson Convention Center. Look for them in the Maricopa, Mohave, and Greenlee Meeting Rooms. One lecture you shouldn’t miss is the Arthur Roe Memorial Micromount Symposium. It is scheduled for Friday, February 15 in the Maricopa and Mohave Meeting Rooms. Other notable educational events include the following:
- “A Short History About How Impossible Crystals Came to Earth From Outer Space” by Prof. Luca Bindi
- “The Super-Deep Origin of World Class Diamonds” by Dr. Evan M. Smith
- “The Lore of Lithium” by Ihor Kunasz
- “Hydrothermal Crystal Growth” by Dr. Vlad Klipov
Bringing the Kids to the Show
One of the reasons why the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is such a popular local event is that it’s good fun for people of all ages. If you’re a teacher, you can register for the School Visits Program. This program invites thousands of school children and their chaperones to visit the show free of charge.
In addition, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show focuses on making mineral education accessible to kids. Parents love to bring their kids to the Junior Education area. You’ll find it at the south end of the convention center. Here, University of Arizona students connect with the younger kids, sharing neat facts about earth science in general and minerals in particular. If you plan to bring kids to the show, make sure they think of some questions to ask the U of A students!
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