Behind the Scenes: Tucson Gem Show

It’s that time of year again; to put on our sensible shoes, grab our sketchpads and head to the gem show. The entire city of Tucson turns into a wonderland of natural materials. If you can imagine it, they have it. We love walking through tents filled with stones of every kind and in all phases of production. There’s everything from raw chunks of turquoise to freshly cut diamonds. If we find something we just can’t live without then we’ll go ahead and buy it, but really our main goal is to see what materials are available and get some inspiration. Similar to how a “farm to table” chef would walk through the garden to pick out ingredients for a meal, we like to select the raw stones and then see how we can make them new. As you may already know, the material we use is mined from the earth. What you may not know though is how much the same material can vary over different periods of time. For example, Janette may be designing a necklace with large free-form pieces of blue Amazonite but what is currently being mined has more green tones to it. She will either have to rework the design, find a different type of stone altogether, or shelf the idea until they hit the color she is looking for. I will have to admit that Janette stays very focused on the task at hand while I tend to also look for “personal buys.” It’s the interior designer in me. My mind starts thinking about making lamps, tables, accessories…who knows maybe NEST will expand!

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Author: Jana Erwin