Q. Where did you stay?
Arizona Inn, right near campus and very close to many shows in the area.
Q. Walk us through your first day there.
The first day is the most exciting and inspirational day, I tend to get overly excited when it comes to purchasing, lol. I begin at the AGTA show with my favorite vendors - I review their newest stones and my best selling stones. I then walk across the street to the GJX show, and do the same with my existing vendors. Throughout the day, I discover some new finds from new vendors, but mainly it is my day with my existing vendors - I save second for discovery and research!
Q. Do you go into it with a goal in mind?
I know what I need to buy because of what is selling and what I am developing, but the goals usually turn into something else that is even better and more exciting.
Q. Is there a strategy you now have after having been to the show in the past?
I definitely have developed a strategy after so many years going, but I also am flexible which allows the creative process to happen more organically.
Q. What are your top 5 favorite gems from the show and why?
This is definitely always changing, but here are my top 5 from 2020:
Chrysocolla - Color!!
Opal - I love opal and always have... every show I pick out the most amazing one of a kinds.
Azurite - The blue is one I haven't seen in any other gemstone and it is captivating.
Sugilite - This stone is so modern and cool, I love purple and this gemstone has such unusual tones of purple.
Turquoise - I can't walk by a piece of turquoise without touching it and picturing it on the skin. It will always remain my favorite.
Q. Is there a special energy from all of these gems being in one place? If so, can you describe it?
Tucson, with or without the gem show, has a special energy to it, but adding the show with all of the spiritual elements that are involved, one cannot help but feel this special energy heightened during this time.
Q. What's unique about this gem show compared to others?
There are other gem shows across the USA at different times of year, but the amount of vendors from across the world who showcase their raw materials in Tucson is the best way to find new materials and grow collections from ones that are already part of my line.
Q. Is it common for jewelry designers to hand pick their gems in this way?
Most of the other designers that I know and who have been doing this as long as me definitely pick out the first selection of a new stone. I am too controlling to not hand pick my stones out myself.
Q. Are you still finding gems that you have never seen or heard of before?
Yes! It is incredible, every year I discover new gems and because our environment is changing pretty drastically, new gemstones are forming. This year I found a gemstone from Greenland called Tugtupite - usually rare but now available because of global warming.