There’s nothing like the Tucson Gem Show, which runs from February 13th to the 16th. To call it a ‘show’ is an understatement. This annual event is a collection of over 40 different shows with each featuring hundreds of vendors and exhibits. The main event is Tucson’s Gem and Mineral Show at the Convention Center. This year’s show celebrates a special anniversary with its theme of 60 Years of Diamonds, Gems, Silver and Gold. Other shows are spread out through the city, transforming hotels and parking lots into pop up shopping malls that exhibit everything from fossils and raw gems, to meteorites and stunning one of a kind jewelry items. There is even an African art village showcasing intricately beaded chairs and other artwork.
The gem show is a great time to show off Tucson’s own local gems to the over 50,000 visitors that come worldwide to exhibit at the show. Local First AZ has already distributed thousands of our Tucson Small Wonders maps to the gem show to help visitors and locals find nearby local businesses for eating and shopping, and to demonstrate what makes Tucson special. This is the busiest time of year for many of Tucson’s restaurants and hotels. The estimated economic impact of the show is one hundred million dollars county wide.
“The Gem Show brings guests from throughout the world to Tucson,” says Andy Squire, an Economic Development Specialist for the City of Tucson. “It affords us the chance to share all that is Tucson with them - our natural beauty, hospitality, and culture.” While some of the shows are limited to wholesalers, the majority are open to the public and most are free of charge.
Many shows are a jewelry lover’s delight but mineral and fossil shows offer lots of excitement for rock enthusiasts as well. It can also be a rare opportunity to encounter the art and culture of places you might not otherwise see. Some shows even feature food trucks and bands. If you would like to see the shows, VisitTucson provides a helpful guide to the shows here. Wear good walking shoes as there are literally miles of astounding things to see.