The Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show
The Ramada Tucson Convention Center
777 West Cushing
January 26 - February 7
The Pueblo is the venerable "old timer" among satellite shows and really, the old Pueblo Motel is where the first mineral and rock dealers began to stay during the early days of the Tucson Show. In fact, the old Pueblo Motel was demolished many decades ago but the show moved to a new freeway frontage motel and kept the name Pueblo for the show name. Over 40 years the motel has changed hands, going from one franchise to another (it is currently the Ramada), so retaining the show name of the original motel where it all started seems to have been a good idea for consistency. Over 280 dealers at this show covering 8 acres -- everything being offered from jewelry, to huge geodes large enough that you could sit inside them, to giant quartz crystals that double as mood lighting lamps.
That said, there is not a lot of petrified wood in view but one of our favorite dealers, Samee Cordova (see below) is always there and we always find something that she either field-collected herself or acquired in an old collection. As you might imagine, this show is never dull ... just Look at that enormous red sitting tub. We are not even sure it is rock but instead perhaps acrylic trying to look like quartz?
Check out the size of those spheres and quartz crystals alongside the exterior wall. One would need a very large foyer in a commercial building or plaza to want this - but there are plenty of commercial space decorators who frequent the Tucson show looking for the unusual eye-catching addition for corporate buildings.
This show is definitely an experience and we are certain it will continue along far into the future.
Samee Cordova, Prime Cut Rocks
You can just imagine how tough Samee Cordova of Prime Cut Rocks is - she took a fall during setup and broke a wrist, fractured a kneecap and landed on her face. Not to be daunted, she got patched up and is actively selling her wide variety of rocks, some of which are shown here. .
January 21 - February 11
One of the newer shows in Tucson, this venue is in the burgeoning area of Oracle Road, and is home to many of the dealers who were displaced by the closure of Hotel Tucson City Center. It is in one of the huge "tents" that Tucson is renowned for. They are constructed in the weeks leading up to the show and they transform the city in January and February. The first few days of this show included three strictly wholesale shows; the rest of the show is open to the public.
There are agates here and even a bit of petrified wood. A piece of Zimbabwe wood caught our attention at a Hungarian seller's booth and ended up with a long conversation about petrified wood, minerals, European travel and the rising cost of minerals. It is one of the best parts of the Tucson experience - seeing old friends and making new ones. We are sure to stay in touch with Laszlo.
On that subject, we met an Austrian seller with some of the most beautiful agates imaginable. Hannes has been selling at Tucson for several years but we had not previously met him so it was a real joy to spend some time talking about agates and mutual friends who are avid agate collectors. It is always fun to meet up with people who collect something different but sort of related to petrified wood and agates are the closest thing to our own passion.
Mineral and Fossil Marketplace
1333 North Oracle
January 28 - February 11
This is a tent show cleverly bordered by shipping containers converted into showrooms. The venue features minerals, meteorites and fossils including, to our delight, petrified wood. This venue has been in operation for many years and is now enhanced by the addition of several dealers whom we used to see at the Hotel Tucson City Center. While the facilities don't begin to compare with the new Mineral City venue, the rock is outstanding and well worth examining. After all, it is the rock that we want to take home with us, not the venue itself!
Mineral and Fossil Co-op
1635 N Oracle
January 27 - February 12
There are several reasons to visit the Mineral and Fossil Co-op just like there are lots of reasons to visit large museums. The scale of petrified wood in Russell-Zuhl is something to behold. Boards over 8 feet long and complete rounds 7.5 feet in diameter are simply awesome. Yes, you need a large lobby in a commercial building or a large conference in your office to display them suitably but here in Tucson you can see many examples that fit either of those two uses. The specimens are simply beautiful and the polish is totally perfect. And, you can get a lot closer to these specimens than you might be able to achieve at the Smithsonian!
But the wonders don't stop with petrified wood. If dinosaurs and other really large fossil animals are of interest, the specimens at GeoDecor will simply "wow" you. Here, "large" is the smallest size they have!
But, worry not - there are also plenty of home display size fossils and minerals to be seen at the Co-op as well. You can spend hours looking at all the wonders but you need to arrive a bit early since it seems like every dealer is always packing up large orders to be shipped out immediately.
3844 East 5th Street, Tucson
Year-Round Rock Shop
This is a brand new venue for us. It is a full time rock shop in Tucson which opened in 2022 and now advertises as a venue for the Tucson show as well.
They even invite friends, artisans and part-time mineral dealers to set up in their parking lot once a month (but every Sunday during the show). We were impressed with the amazingly diverse and organized stock in the store - literally something for everybody - and by the knowledge of Suzanne Morrison, a geologist who owns the shop. Anyone reading this who lives in the Tucson area, or visits some other time of the year, would be well-advised to visit and check out their extensive inventory. We found some interesting specimens out of an old collection that they had purchased. An overall excellent experience.
Their website for more information: