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A United Nation of Stones

It’s almost time for one of our favorite events of the year, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show!  Here’s an article Atala wrote in 2014 about the joy of going on a buying trip and seeing all her old friends

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is a rock world United Nations. Each winter over four thousand vendors and 100,000 buyers from the world’s nations gather in warm Arizona for close to a month of peaceful discourse on – stones! It’s a subject about which everyone is passionately interested.

Many of the vendors have mined the stones themselves, and they handle their wares with great affection and deep respect. A simple question may launch them into fascinating stories about how they got their start, their best finds, and why they have their unusual nickname (“The Meteorite Man” has been collecting since he was eight, and his best find so far is a Mars-origin meteorite – verified by authorities). The vendors often describe their particular mineral specialty with an affection others reserve for their best friend. There is a natural reverence present at the show, formed from the energy of so many people who work closely with the land and intimately know her mineral ways.

A vendor reads prayers before show opening

Vendors open their day with flute and drum

 

 

Tucson can be a close-knit community, where vendors and customers renew their contacts with each other on a yearly basis. A catch-up time. People from around the world are getting along in friendship, in peace, in harmony, with a real appreciation for what each vendor has achieved, and what each buyer is going to do with their purchases. It gives one hope for the future of our world!

Vendors sell their wares outside their hotel rooms, and sleep in the rooms at night

Some vendors sell their wares outside their hotel rooms and sleep in the rooms at night

I worked at the United Nations in New York for a number of years, and the folks there from around the world are doing a heroic job, struggling to find commonality and ways to interact peacefully among nations, in a world divided by political ambitions. But a rock show – now that’s a peaceful venue (rocks talk softly and slowly after all), and a great way to get to know the richness of our world from a peaceful point of view.

This rough has been mined in the America West, and set out as jeweler rough

This rough has been mined in the America West and set out as jeweler and landscape rough

There is one difficult aspect to the Tucson Gem Show – it is simply impossible to acquire and bring home all the stones you’d love to have. Any budget any buyer sets seems to be there just to be broken when that gorgeous stone pops up in front of you at the next booth down the line!

Rough is shipped in drums and stout bags

Rough is shipped in drums and stout bags

My own trips to Tucson have advanced from buying until my car was filled, to shipping back one pallet of rocks to shipping back three pallets.

Drop by and visit if you’re in the area. You can come to see the rocks we acquired for you from the miners themselves. They worked with the earth in Australia (Atlantisite), Brasil and Uruguay (amethyst), the Czech Republic (moldavite), Russia (sugilite), Africa (malachite), Germany (dendrites), Scandinavia (labradorite), Arkansas (quartz), the American West (Kanab sandstone), the American midwest (copper and specular hematite), and many other parts of our amazing world.

Some rough is displayed in water, which shows jewelers how the stones will look once polished

Some rough is displayed in water, which shows jewelers how the stones will look once polished

Some shows take place in temporary tents. Purchasers walk up and down aisles to make their selections

Some shows take place in temporary tents. Purchasers walk up and down aisles to make their selections

 


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