Of course, we had our finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest of all gem shows - the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase - which slid into the Sonoran Desert and dazzled gem, jewelry and fossil lovers with over 48+ gem show locations around the city this year from January 28th - February 12th.
Said to be the largest and oldest - and arguably the most prestigious - gem show in the world, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show has been held annually since 1955. Initially held for only a few days in February, it has morphed into a multitude of gem, jewelry and fossil exhibits lasting around 2 weeks. Now known as the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase, with vendors from all over the world descending upon the Old Pueblo, the shows attract over 65,000 gem and mineral enthusiasts, fossil collectors and jewelry industry professionals worldwide.
Some of the incredible mineral specimens you can spot at Tucson! Amethyst "butterfly" image courtesy of Kreiger YouTube channel.
Jewelry trade shows are an integral and (not to mention fun!) aspect of the jewelry industry. They are an indispensable platform for manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and designers to showcase their latest creations and make new contacts. They also help those in the gem and jewelry industry keep up with the latest trends and innovations.
In this post, I’m going to list a few of the top jewelry trade shows that helped make up the conglomerate of shows known fondly in the jewelry industry simply as ‘Tucson’ and give you a little deep dive inside some of the biggest trends happening in the wonderful world of jewelry that you don’t want to miss!
Gem Show Heavy Hitters
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show- The one that started it all! This show has been held annually since 1955 and has grown into one of the world's largest and most well-known gem and mineral trade shows. Attracting gem enthusiasts and jewelry industry professionals along with mineral and fossil collectors the world over, it has an awesome vibe that welcomes the classic, the unusual and the innovative all at the same time! Thousands come from far and wide to share their latest finds and source new and exciting pieces for their collections.
Photo of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show courtesy of Desert USA
The American Gem Trade Association - The AGTA Gem Fair. At AGTA, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the number of exquisite gemstones. With the vast of quality colored stones and pearls (truly yummy pearls, too!), it's the premier gem show destination for many high-end jewelry designers to source materials each year for their beautiful creations. It's also one of the shows known for the high quality of integrity among its vendors. Many were 'first on race day' to be transparent with their stone sourcing and product transparency when bringing gems from mine to market. It's one of the best places to see and be seen, too
Gem & Lapidary Wholesalers -The G&LW show, also referred to as the Gem Mall and Holidome shows, offers something for all gem, mineral, fossil, and jewelry lovers! From finished jewelry designs, fascinating gemstones from A to Z, Pearls, Pearls and more Pearls, to beads and unusual fossil and mineral specimens that excite - there’s plenty to see. Be prepared to take a couple of days to see it all!
Photo courtesy of Tucson Gem Show 101
GJX- GJX is an upscale show filled to the brim with well over 650 booths to browse. The climate-controlled setting, carpet and extravagantly decorated booths allow you to shop for the best pearls, gemstones and mineral specimens away from the outside elements. The wide selection and reputation of the vendors make this show a must-stop for many jewelry designers and jewelry companies looking to source top-tier gemstones and one-of-a-kind custom jewelry.
GXJ Show Photo courtesy of GJX Rocks
The list is vast regarding shows that people consider as ones not to miss, but even if you only attended the four gem shows listed above, it would take you a good portion of 3 to 4 days.
Pearls, pearls and more pearls on display at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, 2023
The Tucson shows are vital for bringing together gem and jewelry industry professionals to impart knowledge and discover trends in styles, technology, and environmental practices. They also allow vendors in the industry to showcase their beautiful specimens of gems, fossils and jewelry.
So far this year, we’ve seen a few trends in types of gemstones, specific color patterns and design aesthetics come into focus. There is a definite spotlight on innovative designs that incorporate classic elements with modern twists and lots of colors. While designer jewelry collections featured many stones in subtle shades, bold and bright emerged as the top color theme in2023!
Pastel-colored Yogo Sapphires from Montana dazzled buyers at Tucson this year. Photo Empire Sapphire Company, courtesy of JOGS
As Becky Stone reported for InStore Magazine, Pantone's color of the year, Viva Magenta, positively impacts jewelry designs this year. Spunky colors such as bright reds, sultry pinks, deep oranges and pops of yellow accents were seen in droves in Tucson. With Pink Spinel, Rhodochrosite, Spessartine Garnets, Citrine, Rubies, Fire Agate and Padparadscha Sapphires filling vendor showcases and being captured in designers' finished pieces, it was a sea of fiery goodness!
Another noticeable color trend was the pairing of deep blues and vibrant greens that populated the halls of the various shows. This in-demand color pairing is being used in unexpected ways and creates a soothing, tranquil vibe while at the same time being uplifting and exhilarating.
Emeralds are all the rage this year! Their intense, vivid green hues are spot on for the colorful vibe of 2023. Matched Colombian Emerald tear-drops by Arihant Gems, photo courtesy JOGS
Think turquoise, deep blue sapphires, vibrant green emeralds, malachite, and green tourmaline, and you have it! This was definitely a fantastic trend. Many softer tones of blues and greens, such as Aquamarine, Green Garnets, Amazonite, Chrysocolla and Apatite, were present as well. There was definitely a 'bluesy hue' vibe going around to rival the pinky-red-orange glows!
Deep Blue Sapphires are extremely popular this year as well. This gorgeous display of color by Manihar Gems, Thailand, photo courtesy of JOGS
Not to be outdone by other gems, pearls are included in this year's strong color trend. Once again, pearls emerged triumphant as a coveted gem everyone wants! Metallic colors and black, gold, green, pink, and purple pearls were trending.
Soft, natural pinky-peach Freshwater pearl strands were being snatched up by designers, and dark Tahitian Pearls with green overtones were causing quite the stir. And large, luscious, Golden South Sea Pearls reigned supreme as the Queen of Luxury.
Golden South Sea pearls reign supreme as the Queen of Cultured Pearls at the Tucson Gem Show!
This stunning Akoya Pearl and Diamond Choker from Black Pearl Co., LTD., definitely caught my eye!
Pearl got to show her playful side quite a bit, too. Unusual shapes and sizes of pearls in jewelry designs were a continuing trend this year, and the exciting and exquisite colors coming out of all the jewelry shows this year are fun, inspirational and very modern!
Baroque pearls of all types added an unexpected, rich touch to traditional pearl jewelry. Keshi and Baroque strands of pearls were hot sellers - and of course, the colors were mouthwatering!
Baroque Tahitian pearls with their ever-changing kaleidoscope of colors and shapes, were on trend this year at the Tucson Gem Show.
Many jewelry designs featured pearls in unique settings, and the comeback of coin pearls was emerging, too. Popular pearl jewelry designs using these cool shapes range from simple, single-strand pearl necklaces to elaborate, multi-strand creations that make an ultra-chic statement.
The shows highlighted a range of precious metal options, too. Everything from traditional yellow and white gold to sleek and modern rose gold and platinum was prevalent. It’s like anything goes right now with metals and gems. It’s fun to see jewelry designers who aren’t afraid of shaking up tradition and bending the rules. They’re designing around the wonderfully unique shapes of these vibrant pearls and gemstones and going with the flow to suit the designs’ aesthetic. And boy, is it working!
Staying on the subject of pearls (because that’s our favorite gem!), they seem to be incorporated into even more designs this year than last year, not just as an accent gem but as the center of attention.
Pink Freshwater pearls are hot, hot, HOT this year!
Pearls were the main attraction in many pendants and necklaces, with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and rubies dotting the landscape around the lustrous gem from the sea.
Pretty white Akoya pearls mixed with Turquoise and Aquamarine were a big hit, and several vendors also shared how jewelry designers are talking about blending Tahitians with deep green Emeralds, green Pearls with Rubies and Garnets and even Freshwater Pearls in pink tones with Turquoise, Azurite and Agates in their designs.
Aside from pearls, many designers blended different stones in a single piece to create bold, colorful and eclectic looks.
Statement pieces were a prominent feature at the show, with large, bold necklaces, earrings, and bracelets making a splashy fashion statement. Chunky and textured pieces were also in high demand, with many designers incorporating organic and natural elements into their designs, such as twisted and braided metalwork and rough-cut gemstones.
Rough-cut natural Diamonds, Amethyst and Aquamarine also made their appearance well-known at the Tucson Shows.
Gem and jewelry trade shows are a platform for manufacturers and retailers to showcase their latest creations, build relationships with each other and ultimately drive sales and growth in the industry. According to Statista.com, “The value of the jewelry market is expected to increase from about 270 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 to over 330 billion dollars by 2026”. Talk about the importance of jewelry trade shows!
They also have another significant impact on the world. In addition to design and color trends that have emerged as a result of the worldwide gem and jewelry trade shows, sustainability and ethical practices are trending and gaining ground, too.
Jewelry trade shows are helping pave the way for further education on sustainable practices in the jewelry market. The more knowledge we have about the processes of bringing ethically sourced materials to the jewelry industry, the more power these gem and jewelry trade shows ultimately have to help all of us in the industry have a more positive impact on our environment.
These trends in responsible environmental practices reflect the changing preferences of consumers and the importance of innovation and sustainability in the jewelry industry that go hand-in-hand with design aesthetics.
This demand for sustainable pearls has been driven by a growing awareness of the impact of traditional pearl farming methods on the environment and the lives of pearl farmers.
At recent jewelry industry trade shows like the Tucson Gem Show, sustainable pearls were a hot topic, with a wide range of sustainable pearl products on display. There are many options for those looking to incorporate sustainable pearls into their jewelry designs.
South Sea Pearls, farmed in the waters around Australia and the Philippines using environmentally-friendly methods, such as reducing the use of chemicals and minimizing the impact of farming on coral reefs and other marine ecosystems, are being hailed as a popular sustainable pearl product.
The future of sustainable pearls in the jewelry industry is looking bright. As more consumers seek alternative, environmentally-friendly jewelry options, the demand for processes and systems that promote sustainable pearls continues to grow, and it’s likely we’ll begin to see more sustainable pearl products on the market and increased investment in sustainable pearl farming methods.
Please check out our recent postto learn more about pearls and sustainability in the jewelry industry.
So there you have it - the Gem of the Gem Shows!
Gem and Jewelry Trade Shows ultimately help us help you, our valued customers.
Through various trade shows over the years, we have formed many business relationships and friendships with pearl farmers and manufacturers to bring you the best pearls and high-quality, unique jewelry designs at the best prices.
We hope you enjoy all the beautiful pearls we share with you!
Until Next Time,
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