It's my first full day here in bright, sunny warm Tucson. Well, actually the locals don't think it's very warm, but heck 18C is plenty warm enough for me.
Today was the opening day for the Gem Mall. This is a wholesale-only show and one of the largest of the 40-odd gem, mineral and bead shows. Imagine if you will, two huge tents - one about the size of a footfall field and the other about 2/3 that. They sell everything from precious gems, semi-precious stones, pearls, finished jewellery, glass beads from Czechoslovakia, China and India, Sterling, base metal findings, watches, etc, etc, etc.
I remember the first year I went to this show, it took me 2 days to cover just the semi-precious and pearl booths. I didn't even bother with the finished jewellery.
I got there right at 10AM. Good thing, too. Anyone remember the Calla Lily beads we had in white quartz or matte black? I saw them at one of my vendors and knowing they were popular, I stopped and grabbed a bunch in several colours. Just as I was finishing up, another buyer came along and swept up all the rest of the Calla Lillies into his basket! In this game, ya snooze, ya lose!
I spent the day zig-zagging through the two big tents, grabbing stuff from my favoured suppliers. Picked up some nice copper findings and brushed silver-plated copper beads from the same guy I bought the finished chain from last year. I'll get some more of that at his other booth at the Rodeway later on. Some really nice untreated Amazonite, not the faded pale stuff, but a beautiful deep colour.
Lotsa new Czech glass buttons including a few humoungous dragonfly buttons. I didn't get that many of any one colour/style because there were so many to choose from.
LAst year I bought a couple of small boxes for displaying rings for use in the store. Everyone kept wanting to buy our boxes because they are just right for packing to a show. So this time I bought a whole case of them to sell.
Tomorrow it's off to the pearl dealers.