Tucson 2023 — Part 3

More Freeway shows

Monday morning, I set off with two companions planning to start with one wholesale venue, but due to a wrong turn getting off the freeway, decided to go to Kino first, instead.  At that point, I was starting to look for items to purchase for the local club’s use in grab bags for sale during the club show.  It was still terribly cold there, especially in tents.  After a while, two of us were ready to move on leaving our other companion to take a shuttle back to the freeway area when she was done.

We refreshed at our hotel and then headed to the other side of the freeway to explore the 22nd street show.  It was not as busy as it had been on the weekend, so I had a chance to visit with Elke and Bill Vance, hear what they have been doing sis 2020 and get lots of advice from Bill on faceting.

I was still at their booth when my phone alerted me about the meet and greet sponsored by the WJA, Ethical Gem Suppliers and Ethical Metalsmiths which was about a mile and a quarter away and would be starting in less than 30 minutes.  I appreciated the continuation of the walking path that was created since I was last in Tucson since it was a much nicer route than the freeway frontage road for getting half of the way there.  Most of the people showing there were finished gems only, but I got to talk with one who also has rough from Tanzania and Nigeria.


The next morning was another cold one.  We reached the AGTA show  being held in the convention center shortly after opening time.  The lines to get badges were somewhat long, but they moved along.  By the time we were through, they were a lot longer, so glad we arrived when we did.

The Spectrum and Cutting Edge winners were on display in the ballroom.  For some reason, AGTA uses a white carpet for that area which always makes me feel guilty for walking on it.  Unlike the last time I was there, they had most of the winners on display, not just a small sample.   I wish that they would post all of the entries on their website as I am sure that there were many other interesting entries.

The show floor in the main hall seemed better filled out than I had seen in previous years as well.  But for some reason, it did not seem as crowded as it had on the opening day in past years.

I was disappointed that Stuller was a no-show as well as well as those who provided software for jewelry design.  We did find one company who would take the digital files and do the 3d printing as well as casting. And there was also a company with a sphere instead of a box  for taking photos of small objects such as jewelry and gems.   It also included software to adjust the resulting photos or videos to make an attractive image for use online or print.  While not inexpensive, it seemed like it would greatly reduce the space and time required for small object photo shoots.

After lunch from the food trucks parked outside the back of the hall, we went across the street to the GJX show.  It was much as I remembered it.  Big, crowded and running the electrical conduits on the floor so if one wanted to follow the numbering of the booths, you had to keep remembering to step carefully at every row.  Thus, we explored the show along the other direction since it seemed a lot safer and avoided most of the obstacles along the floor.

As we wandered through the show, I recognized several dealers from previous years.  Again, there seemed to be fewer suppliers of equipment than I remembered.  With as much walking as I did that day, it was nice to take a break part way though in the food court area of the GJX space.  They had ample tables and chairs for folks  and since it was inside, not subject to the weather.