2012 Tucson Show Update: Week 3

By on February 10, 2012
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by Rose Marion, Wire-Sculpture.com

This week, I got to visit the Gem & Jewelry Exchange, or GJX, which is a high-end show in Tucson that I was very happy to see. (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them)

It was across the street from the AGTA venue (which I didn’t visit):
agta gem show

My first stop at GJX was at Gene McDevitt’s booth. I follow his Koroit Opal blog, ever since our gem profile on Opal, and I was happily surprised to find him near the show entrance!

I found a gorgeous Koroit opal at Gene’s booth, I can’t wait to sketch ideas for wrapping it once I get home! This photo doesn’t do it justice, I will try to retake it soon:
Rose's Koroit Opal

We found this genuine Pacific coral sold by a friendly Italian merchant. While I didn’t question the morality of harvesting coral, I had to ask the price range. The coral beads on the bust were priced in the thousands of dollars!
pacific coral beads

Here is a little Rainbow Pyrite that I found from a booth staffed by a crew of Russian rockhounds. I think it’s a beautiful gift, and while they cautioned me not to clean it with chemicals, a light rinse in water or gentle brushing will keep it sparkling for years!

Rainbow Pyrite from Russia

I met the Tairona Co. gem cutters, who were extremely gracious about telling me about the stones and cuts. While there isn’t a real name for the technique, he called these cuts his “champagne dreams” in this blue topaz.
Blue Topaz cut by Tairona Co. champagne dreams
I also met Chris from W. Hamond, “The Original Whitby Jet Shop” from Whitby, England. I will be telling you more about the famous Whitby Jet in a later article!
Whitby Jet from W. Hamond

Back at the booth, I loved meeting with Bea Grob (who showed me that I didn’t need to be afraid to knit with wire – it works!), Albina Manning, Brenda Schweder, Dale “Cougar” Armstrong, andmore. Eva Sherman blogged pictures from her classes – click here to see Eva Sherman’s students’ work!

For next week’s Tucson update, I plan to visit the neighbor show to TEP Gem & Mineral Show, which is the RV Mineral Show, plus I will show you some of the finds I’m bringing back with me! See you then!


  1. avatar


    February 10, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Loved the Opal, Rainbow Pyriate, and Jet necklace. And, who would not like to have one of the Champagne Dreams Blue Topaz. Thanks for a view of Tuscon.


  2. avatar


    February 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you for the tour of Tuscon with all the great photos and stories. It gaves me an idea of what I will see when I am finally able to go. Hopefully, this will be next year.

    Each photo I see gives me just one more reason to make this trip happen.

  3. avatar

    beverly bishop

    February 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I really enjoyed meeting you Dale, that made my year!!!!! I guess I am blessed to live here and have access to all the amazing shows every year. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I didn’t get quite as firey koroit opals but i’m happy with what i bought the first sunday. I went back a couple days later and the guy was sold out. Thats why I tell people if you see something you like buy it because it will be gone….bebeaz

    • avatar


      February 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

      It was awesome to meet you, Beverly, as well as so many of my student/friends from all over the world this year!! What a blast :) I am so pleased that you were able to share some time with me too.

  4. avatar

    Margaret Lakas

    February 11, 2012 at 1:38 am

    I too have enjoyed the updates from Tuscon. Next year for me! Loved that opal. It is drop dead gorgeous. Did you buy it?

    • avatar


      February 13, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Sure did :)

  5. avatar

    Barbara Wolf

    February 14, 2012 at 1:27 am

    It is on my Bucket List to go to Tuscon, hope to make it next year.Thank you for all your updates. The Opal is gourges.Barbara