The Mineral City Show
Oracle, Plata, and Lester Streets, Tucson
January 27 - February 11
Billed as a "Mineral Show Dedicated to Mineral Collectors," this venue is growing! It now occupies approximately 11 buildings and tents on North Oracle, Lester and Plata Streets. One can see the show diagram and list of dealers at: https://mineral-city.com/
There are not many fossils here but we always look anyway since we love looking at beautiful minerals and seeing the new discoveries since the prior year's Tucson show. There are lots of dealers with their traditional company or personal names and there are some interesting fun ones as well - check out the photo on the right for the exterior of the dealer room of Rocky Houndenstein. It made us smile and it was the first room we entered so the clever name must be working to attract customers...
Other amazing minerals included an amethyst with peephole to view the lighted interior crystals, a gigantic sphere that would require a pretty large room to display it, agate tables, a long log of copper included Roman era mine timber which was already sold (5 figures) so we did not photograph it. Simply put, an exciting experience that seems much more organized and calm compared to the old Inn Suites days of motel rooms experiencing leaks from second floor bathrooms, crowded entrances to to rooms and very limited parking. It is definitely an improvement. We suspect that the tents may be replaced by more buildings with individual shops in the future.
1530 S Freeway
January 26 - February 12
This is a smaller venue featuring 14 dealers specializing in beautiful agates, rough rock for lapidaries, amazing quartz crystals and some fossils as well. There is also some of the ubiquitous Madagascar petrified wood. The originator of this show (a couple of decades ago) is The Gem Shop, a Wisconsin rock shop that has simply amazing agates and jaspers for sale. No, we don't exactly collect agates or jaspers but often find one or two that simply cannot be left behind so they come home with us anyway!
601 Simpson Street, Tucson
January 27 - February 12
Two locations in Tucson for this wholesale + retail show -- this one on Simpson and another on Michigan. We didn't spend much time here but obviously one of the dealers believes that his "chair" is worth $75,000. Curious if it sold. It certainly did not look comfortable to us but the sign said pleas do not sit and we were unable to try it out.
3750 E Irvington Rd, Tucson
January 25 - February 5
This is another show at which we did not dawdle, but it is an incredibly popular Tucson show, with valet parking and limousine transport and hundreds of dealers -- jewelry designers, manufacturers, miners, wholesalers, and jewelry liquidators from the US, Europe, Africa, India, Thailand, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Nepal, Poland, Russia, and more. Though it is not our interest, it is still a most fascinating venue. It draws crowds that continue robustly through the entire 12 days it is open. Sometimes we wonder if there is anywhere else one can see such items! Giant tubs and chairs made out of quartz seemed to be on display at many different venues and we wonder how many hours of grinding, sanding and polishing were required to make them. Imagine the thoughts that must have run through the minds of the people who did all the actual labor on them.
22nd Street Show
600 West 22nd Street, Tucson
January 22 - February 12
18 Days -- that is a long show for dealers, but as we visited on the 3rd and 14th days, we were amazed at just how popular this show is. Three HUGE tents, along with outside dealers, makes this one of the largest dealer venues in Tucson. It's really too much to take in even in a full day. That does not keep customers from trying! The variety is just staggering. Minerals and decorator pieces seem to top the list but fossils and lapidary also make a strong appearance. There are numerous food trucks and a large covered eating area since the promoters know that many buyers will be spending the day and develop an appetite for something besides just the rocks and minerals.
On their website, EON promoters, states --
"There are 43 independently owned and operated gem shows in Tucson. Most are modest size with fewer than 50 dealers. Only 3 shows have more than 300 dealers. The 22nd Street Show is the only one of the 'Big 3' that is open to the public."