Even just one weekend in Tucson is too much adventure for one post, so first I’ll tell you about the AGTA GemFair, and show what bits I was allowed to photograph. The AGTA GemFair was my first stop in Tucson, and I spent the most time there, overall. It was a kaleidoscope of fine gems and finished jewelry, and (in my experience) very friendly people. I spent as much time chatting and networking as I did oggling!
I got to the show at around 9:30 am, Saturday the 4th, checked in, received my guidebook and fluorescent orange tote bag, and spent the time before show opening looking over the Galleria booths (societies, schools, and information-type things) and eyeing the GIA “Mega Gems” display (see last post.) I had some very good conversations that morning! I also strolled through the Designer Pavilion and admired
some of the AGTA Spectrum Award winners. (What can I say? Not all modern jewelry is to my taste. I like my jewelry wearable, I guess….)
One of my first stops on the show floor (and the only part I could take pictures of) was the Smithsonian Institution’s gem display. As I haven’t yet been to see the National Gem Collection in Washington, DC, this was my first in-person look at the Hooker Emerald. A 75.47-carat Colombian emerald (over an inch square, by my guess), the Hooker Emerald “was once the property of Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1876-1909), who according to legend, wore it in his belt buckle.” (Description from the Smithsonian Institution.) AWESOME.
I also enjoyed seeing some new donations to the National Gem Collection, including a faceted, extraterrestrial peridot (donated by Palladot); a gorgeous, 100.15 carat terrestrial peridot from Pakistan; and a colorful 43.52 carat sphene (titanite). I came back to this booth a few times. (And back upstairs to the Mega Gems display; the contents are exactly what it sounds like. Big stuff.)
I made a beeline for the Pala Gems booth, particularly to see this amazing bi-color topaz, but also to look around. I adore Pala’s website, and it was a treat to see some of those stones in person.
I saw a lot of amazing opal: fantastic arrays of Ethiopian opals, lovely fire opals from Nevada (not so fiery, but a warm, sunny glow), and boulder opal from Australia. Some sellers had mined and cut the material themselves. It was a pleasure to talk to them; enthusiastic about their wares, and eager to share their knowledge. I was told before I went to Tucson that I could trust anything I bought at AGTA GemFair. I definitely felt that to be the case. Sellers were open about stone origins and treatments, and I think I learned a lot! I met some terrific people that day.
Among the terrific people I met was AGTA CEO Doug Hucker, who is also one of the first confirmed readers I’ve had here at Many Faceted (besides friends and family.) Hi, Doug! It’s a neat, and still pretty new experience for me, to meet someone who reads my online ramblings. I bet readership would go up if I rambled more often. Still working on a regular posting schedule.
It’s been nearly three weeks and I still feel I have a ton of experiences to sift through, mentally, all from that first day at AGTA. (Yes folks, we’re still on Saturday; haven’t even touched Sunday yet. Stay tuned!) So while I sift, and prepare the next segment of my Tucson adventures, I leave you with a faceted quartz the size of a football (okay, maybe not quite that big. But BIG.)
Note on photos: click to enlarge. If you got all the way down here without clicking on anything, please know that I would never deprive you of jumbo-size gem images. That’s mean.