The Tucson Electric Park Gem and Mineral Show Experience

Well, almost three weeks later and we here at JewelryTools.com have made it back from the Tucson Gem Show. What an experience! It was great to meet customers, new and old, as well as fans that came our way via our sister site, Wire-Sculpture.com. I wanted to take a moment to tell you all about the scenery at the Tucson Gem Show, or at least, the Tucson Electric Park Gem and Mineral Show. I mainly stayed at our tent talking to customers, tool enthusiasts, and students partaking of our jewelry making classes. However, we did get our in-house photographer, Heather Dean, out to take photos of surrounding shows for your enjoyment.

Many people think the Tucson Gem Show is strictly rocks and gemstones. I will admit I was one of those people. I was surprised to see an enormous variety of booths, some of which had nothing to do with gemstones or even jewelry. I definitely left with more dresses and tapestries than jewelry. There were booths with items from Tibet, China, Europe and more. We saw sculptures built from tools and gears, fur, feathers and of course, tons of jewelry! Our location was directly across from the food court, so I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that most of my day was spent not looking at tools or gemstone, but staring at, and smelling, kettle corn.

We offered jewelry making classes at our booth, as well as sold tools from JewelryTools.com. We’re really looking forward to hosting classes again next year. The students and instructors all seemed to enjoy themselves. I couldn’t believe the beautiful pieces that beginners were leaving with! They looked like they’d been embroidering beads, wrapping wire or working with polymer clay their whole lives. Folks were able to sign up for full and half day classes in mediums such as polymer clay, metal clay, wire work, Viking knit, metal texturing, bezel and resin work. We had some students who joined us every day for class and they became like family by the end of the show.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend the Tucson Gem Show, then here is a small photo tour of what it entails (all photos taken by Heather Dean unless otherwise noted). Sometimes pictures speak louder than words and this, I believe, is one of those circumstances.  Hope to see you there next year!

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    JewelryTools.com blimp and MR
    As soon as we got to Tucson we started getting a little carried away…
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    Sky at Tucson Gem Show
    I mean, look at this sky, how could we not?
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    View of Tucson
    And this view? Tucson is beautiful! But wait until you see the Gem Show…
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    The JewelryTools.com tool store
    The JewelryTools.com shop. Where all the magic happened.
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    Front of the JewelryTools.com tent at the Tucson Gem Show
    Front of the tent. Here we had our instructor's jewelry pieces on display.
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    Beautiful handmade drums
    Beautiful handmade drums
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    Handmade drums at the Tucson Gem Show
    These folks, and their customers, serenaded us daily with tunes ranging from Wipe Out to traditional Native American drumming
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    Minerals Tent at Tucson Gem Show
    Geodes and gems and minerals, oh my!
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    Tent full of beads and more at Tucson Gem Show
    Discount beads were everywhere!
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    Feather Trading Post at Tucson Gem Show
    Definitely wasn't expecting feather trading, but they had some beautiful items.
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    Tent with Tibetan items at Tucson Gem Show
    Now you know where my paycheck went.
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    Jewelry from Tibet at Tucson Gem Show
    Lots of beautiful rings, bracelets, scarves, purses and dresses all the way from Tibet!
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    Fur Trading tent at Tucson Gem Show
    After seeing the handmade drums, the feathers and other tents, this didn't seem so out of place at a gem show.
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    Bears at Fur Trading Tent at Tucson Gem Show
    Whether you like fur, or not, you have to admit these guys had some cute teddy bears.
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    Art booth at Tucson Gem Show
    There was art everywhere. Our new friend had beautiful paintings and drawings at his booth.
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    Metal skull with 3rd eye
    Tap into your third eye!
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    shih tzu
    We made lots of new friends! Some old, some young, some furry, some extinct, some we considered tools (or at least made of), and we'd like you to meet them, too!
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    Triceratops
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    Raptor
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    Predator
    If you've seen the movie "Predator" you'll instantly recognize this guy. He's one of those "tools" mentioned before.
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    Predator close-up
    Extreme close-up! Can you see all of the tools and gears he's made of? Must have taken hours upon hours of hard work.
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    Predator, another close-up
    How many old bikes does it take to create a Predator sculpture?
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    Small tool sculpture at Tucson Gem Show
    So many little critters made of tools, gears, and other parts. Can you see Alien, Wall-E and R2-D2?
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    Alien
    This life size Alien was enormous!
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    Gemstones and tapestry at Tucson Gem Show
    There was Eastern influence everywhere and tubs of stones to pick through.
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    Furniture and other goods at the Tucson Gem Show
    There were many talented artists using various mediums. This carved wood table set is amazing!
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    Jewelry at the Tucson Gem Show
    There were many tents selling finished jewelry, too.
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    Beads at the Tucson Gem Show
    BEADS!
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    Beads at the Tucson Gem Show
    MORE BEADS!
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    Rings and things at the Tucson Gem Show
    Sometimes it was fun to pick through bins of rings and such, like this.
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    Stone statues at the Tucson Gem Show
    Beautiful statues hand carved from stones
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    Beads at the Tucson Gem Show
    Did we mention BEADS!
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    Large stones at the Tucson Gem Show
    Not sure how you'd check these onto a plane.
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    Agate painting, from AM
    This huge piece of agate was hand painted! I can't imagine the time it took, especially getting the animals to stand still for that long. (photo courtesy of Albina Manning)
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    Uncut gemstones at Tucson Gem Show
    So many uncut gemstones just waiting for someone to play with them. (photo courtesy of Kate Keipp)
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    Fish at Tucson Gem Show
    …and fossils, too! Well, ok, this isn't really a fish fossil, but it's still pretty amazing.
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    Fossil pic from AM
    This slab had dinosaur and tarantula tracks embedded in it. (photo courtesy of Albina Manning)
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    Tibetan stand at Tucson Gem Show
    Some Tibetan dresses
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    Coconut Purses at TEP
    Jewelry wasn't the only craft being sold. Here are some coconut purses that were hand painted. (photo courtesy of Albina Manning)
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    Skeletons at the Tucson Gem Show
    We found a tent with a lot of little knick-knacks like these. These skeletons are perfect for Halloween décor, or those who just love skulls and skeletons.
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    Laughing Buddha at Tucson Gem Show
    Hard to walk by a laughing Buddha without rubbing his tummy.
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    Buddhas at the Tucson Gem Show
    Buddha was everywhere!
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    Wholesale Beads at Tucson Gem Show
    Some see a sea of beads…I see trouble for my bank account.
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    Tables of beads at Tucson Gem Show
    It can be difficult to stay on budget when you have this everywhere you look.
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    Bath salts at the Tucson Gem Show
    These guys were making bath salts, scrubs and more with sea salt and other items from under the sea.
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    Tent at TEP
    Just one of the huge tents FULL of gems, beads, jewelry, statues and then some. It was overload!
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    Photo by Albina Manning
    If you're not a gemstone expert, then you might find yourself walking right by something like this. But, look closer, it's worth $25,000! (photo courtesy of Albina Manning)
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    Ice Cream Truck at TEP
    This truck wasn't just electric, it made ice cream! I don't know how ice cream was made in this truck, but it was delicious. All natural ice cream from an electric truck, now that's thinking green! (photo courtesy of Albina Manning)
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    Dale Armstrong and student at TEP
    Meanwhile, back at the JewelryTools.com tent students were hard at work in class with Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
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    Irina Wilson Beading Demo at TEP
    Irina Wilson doing a beading demo
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    Jewelry class with Patti Bullard at TEP
    Patti Bullard teaching a jewelry class
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    Patti Bullard soldering at TEP
    Patti Bullard's students paying close attention while they learn to use a soldering torch.
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    Bracelet Cuffs made by students at TEP
    Finished bracelet cuffs made by students!
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    Jodi and Olena, by Albina
    Jodi Bombardier (and her instructional wire book) and Olena Bugrimenko doing jewelry demos at the JewelryTools.com tent. (photo courtesy of Albina Manning)
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    Debbi Simon teaching a class at TEP
    The great Debbi Simon and her students
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    Dale Armstrong in class at TEP
    Dale "Cougar" Armstrong teaching a class
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    JewelryTools.com jewelry making classes at TEP
    An afternoon with 3 classes! There sure was a lot of jewelry learning going on.
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    Lilian Chen's class at TEP
    Lilian Chen explaining the art of working with wire.
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    lbina Manning's class and photo at TEP
    Albina Manning teaching her students new wire techniques. (photo courtesy of Albina Manning)
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    Olena Bugrimenko making chain roses at TEP
    Olena Bugrimenko making chain roses
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    Instructors with JewelryTools.com sign at TEP
    Here comes trouble! Lauren Anderson (The Chainmaille Lady), Olena Bugrimenko and Irina Wilson posing with our sign.
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    Albina and Faye at TEP
    Albina Manning and our most frequent student, Faye Ybarra, after class. Faye took almost every class we offered. She became an honorary JewelryTools.com family member! (photo courtesy of Albina Manning)
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    Merdith and student by AM
    Meredith Arnold and her student getting their polymer clay on! (photo courtesy of Albina Manning)
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    Rings by instructors
    Rings made by instructors! Eva Sherman made the coiled one with the green bead. The polymer clay ring was made by Meredith Arnold. (photo courtesy of Kate Keipp)