2012 Tucson Show Update: Week 4

By on February 17, 2012
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by Rose Marion, Wire-Sculpture.com

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself now that I’m back home, away from the sparkle and allure of the Tucson shows! :)

This week I poked around the TEP Gem & Mineral and its neighbor, at Kino Sports Complex, “The Rock Show” (formerly known as the RV Gem Show; most vendors bring their RV or trailer and set their booth up right in front of it.) Goodness, my eyeballs are still spinning, I think! Take a look at what I found – enjoy! (You can click the pictures to view the full images)

Lena Bugimenko demonstrating how to make a chainmaille bracelet

Lena Bugimenko demonstrating how to make a chainmaille bracelet at the JewelryTools.com Tool Tent

Lena Bugrimenko's chainmaille roses

Here are Lena's completed chainmaille roses!

Blue Lace agate slices

Blue Lace agate slices at the TEP Show - yum!

Kyanite slices

Kyanite slices

Wire knitting

I was nervous to knit with wire until Bea Grob, one of the JewelryTools.com instructors, showed me that it could be done! Here I am a couple rows in.

Bea Grob knitted wire swatch

While she was showing me how to knit with wire, Bea knit this beautiful green & gold swatch.

Wire Knit Heart

My finished Wire Knit Heart - thank you Bea! Now for the chain.

Wire jig and mousepad

Remember how Dale loves to use a mousepad in making jewelry? If you work on jewelry while selling at shows, why not have your own mousepad made, like Albina did?

Large rock sculptures

These rocks are so big, there are only about 2 to a truck! Not sure if my yard is big enough for one of these!

Assorted rough gemstones

This is my favorite kind of sign, and it always gets me in trouble - I leave with full pockets! I picked up some nice rough amethyst to wrap from this bin.

Sparkling crystal pendants

Sparkling crystal pendants at the TEP Gem & Mineral show - so sparkly my camera couldn't focus. I just wanted to scoop them all up!

Cabochon sheets

Sheets of cabochons - when you see these, shop around, because they might not have the best prices at the first booth you see. These are some beautiful agate cabs.

Those pictures above were from the TEP Gem & Mineral Show. Now, take a look at what I found at “The Rock Show,” formerly called the RV Show, at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson!

Gemstone sphere being polished

Gemstone spheres and marbles are everywhere at the gem shows in Tucson. I found this gem sphere being polished at the RV Show, set up behind the back of a moving truck!

stones in copper
Ok, it goes against my morals a little bit to show another artist’s work and price tag. But this really struck me and kicked me in the pants. When you need to work and don’t want to get out all your supplies, how long would a little wrapped bead project take you, really? And you can put a little tray of bead pendants out to draw people in to the more quality items in your booth. This reminds me that I have no excuse not to make jewelry, even when I don’t feel creative!

These next 2 rocks are from Jim & Diane Coon from Gem Brite Lapidary:

Larvikite cabochons

These larvikite cabochons were gorgeous and I just had to take one home with me. Next year I'll bring home more! Very similiar to Labradorite, larvikite is found around the fjords of Norway.

Peanut wood rough

Jim Coon at the RV Park was excited to show me this Peanut Wood. No nuts here: this is petrified wood, and the cabs made from it are beautiful. This wood started as driftwood, then little clams bored holes in it; sinking into the ocean, the holes filled with sediment, and as the wood fossilized, they became these peanut-looking formations.

Tucson 2012 purchases

My loot:
Roughly clockwise around the edge, starting at the top: 2 big hanks of leather cord for making neck cords (bargain!), a bunch of practice cabs (dyed magnesite), several “good” cabs including my Koroit opal, a jade fish for my father-in-law a guitar pick-shaped mookaite cab, druzy, fluorite cab, orthoceras cab, and a ricolite cab; lots of strands of Chinese crystal beads; Selenite pillars (they really gleam in the light); my knitted heart project; a meteorite I wrapped for my husband. The beads in the middle are wavy glass beads, lots more crystal and pearl beads, and some jade beads, buffalo teeth, finished neck cords, and amethyst crystals. And YES, this all fit in my carry-on!! I had to rush to take the picture, because I’ve already used and given away some of the things I bought – I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist for long!

Although I’m missing Tucson still, I’m consoled by all the treasures I brought back. Did you go to Tucson this year? What were your favorite finds? If you didn’t make it to Tucson this year, what sorts of things are you interested in seeing?


  1. avatar


    February 17, 2012 at 8:28 am

    oh my goodness… you make my eyes pop, and my fingers itchy to go and do something wonderful!! im still learning…a little over 2yrs of trying everything. come august i want to go to the “rockhounds’ in sprucepine n.c. i used to drive by there before i got interested in making jewlery and think that everyone there was …nuts…to be walking around in the aug.heat looking at a bunch of rocks!!!!!! NOW I know!! these “rocks” are georgous!!!

  2. avatar

    Moraima Annandsingh

    February 17, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Oh Rose!this is beautiful things you brought from Tucson. I can imagine the amount of beautiful thing that you are going to create, have fun.


  3. avatar

    elizabeth g. shelton

    February 17, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I feel as though I spent a week in Tuscon at the show. Thank you for sharing your trip with me. Good job.

  4. avatar

    Bill Dettmer

    February 17, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I wish I’d known Jim and Diane Coon were at the Kino complex…I really wanted to talk with them. But somehow, I missed them. I did wander through the jewelry-tools.com tent, but you all were deeply engaged with others, so I didn’t interrupt.

    I bought mostly rough rock to be sliced and cabbed…chrysocolla, malachite, charoite, larimar, and blue chalcedony among the best pieces.

    The Tucson show is definitely a one-of-a-kind event.

    • avatar


      February 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

      I was under the impression that larimar was rare now, even in the rough form. Please tell me more about this?

  5. avatar


    February 17, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Rose, I went to Tucson, came home with sooo many goodies. And less money. Things were expensive this year. But I found a few goodies. Although I love natural druzy, the titanium-coated druzy caught my eye. And new to me (and I bought some) were the Stitchtite (gorgeous pea-green stone with bright purple markings), the Sonoran Dendritic (LOVE the soft colors, and I came home with chunks and slabs), the Silver Crown psilomelane (called the Ugle Black Rock, but I love the oil-on-water design in it and refer to it as my Tuxedo stone), and the bumblebee Jasper ( bright, bright yellow and orange and dark grey and black – but I did not buy because I was told it contains arsenic and I won’t sell it!). Was thrilled at my Koriot Opal (from Gene mcDevitt and it is MINE!) and absolutely eye-strained from all of the beautiful pearls and bright strings of beads available (did bring a few home). Found the amethyst too high this year, the Willow Creek Jasper not very colorful, and the Tansanite out of this world (both in size, color and price). Stopped by the Tools booth, but missed meeting you. Weather was perfect. Now I don’t have to go back for a couple of years, unless my sales go out-of-sight. Loved It!!!

    • avatar


      February 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Hi DeLane, just thought I’d give you more of a definition for your lovely green/purple stone. It is actually named Atlantasite; the purple through lavender being the Stitchtite (from Stitchtite Hill where it is found) and the green host rock being a serpentine. Personally I think the exotic name matches this beautiful stone perfectly :)

      • avatar


        February 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm

        Thanks, Dale. I saw it referred to both ways at the shows, but think Stitchtite sounds fun. And I can hardly wait to get my cab wrapped, and the slabs cut! Hope you had a good time. When I came by the booth, you were busily teaching a class, so I did not get to visit. Maybe later.

        • avatar


          February 18, 2012 at 7:08 am

          Bummer! I was wondering why I didn’t get to meet you in person!

  6. avatar

    Jane Elizabeth

    February 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

    WOW!!!! I want to go next year! Maybe if I’m really good and actually SELL some stuff this year instead of gifting it all away…looks like great fun was had by all!

  7. avatar

    Margaret Lakas

    February 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I am so impressed with your wire knitting. Maybe you could do a video showing how it’s done. I knit and would love to add this to my list. You did a fantastic job of covering the show. I’m sitting in my living room with my eyeballs spinning, I can only imagine…thank you for the pics, really enjoyed.

  8. avatar

    Rose Brooks

    February 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I was there, and got to use your chair and rest for a few min as you were knitting the heart. I engoyed talking with you and i am planning to be there next year for a longer time and more$$$$. I t was really great to see all of it. or should say i enjoyed what i did see.

  9. avatar


    February 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I am already starting to save up money to go to the show next year. I labeled my change jar “Tuscon trip” and every spare cent will go into it. I think I should plan on driving down. I know I will find lots of “treasures” that I will just have to buy and the money I save overweight luggage charges should about pay for the gas.

    Thank you for all the stories and photos of the show. I looked forward to reading them everyday.

    • avatar


      February 18, 2012 at 7:07 am

      Definitely Barb!! I drive cross-country every year so I can bring home hundreds of pounds of rough. This year I found some of the best blue gold-stone I have seen in a long time, as well as some fossilized algae, chrysanthemum jasper, top grade chrysoprase, Tiffany stone, double terminated quartz crystals from Tibet and so much more!

      • avatar


        February 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

        Dale, I really wanted to stop by and,meet you but it didnt work out. I have a question-i was taught that goldstone and blue goldstone were man made. Is this true?

  10. avatar


    February 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Oh some day I will get to that show and buy as much as I can.

  11. avatar

    Deedee Fairley

    February 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Look like you had fun. I would love to know when there another show.

    • avatar


      February 18, 2012 at 7:14 am

      Deedee, the next gem shows scheduled for Tucson are in September, but there are not as many venues and most of us don’t attend then, rather we wait until the February shows :)

  12. avatar

    michael peck

    February 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Got some great Ethiopian opal rough and boulder opal rough.
    Dolores filled a suitcase full of beads. Tucson was wonderful.

    • avatar


      February 18, 2012 at 7:02 am

      Yes it was, Michael. I LOVE the necklace Delores made for me!!

  13. avatar


    February 18, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I am a rockhound so that is one of my favorite shows. Love the larvakite! I usually end up working a show or two because I live near tucson. I missed this show this year. Seeing the larvakite cabs makes me very sorry that I did. You have also inspired me to try something new. Thank you!

  14. avatar

    Margaret Roper

    February 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Maybe one day I will make it to Tucson too!

  15. avatar


    February 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Tucson is teriffic!! The next big show is around the middle of September.
    There are hundreds of venders there around the Denver Mart.