The last night

This final day for me in Tucson was spent running around to three different shows to pick up stuff that I had ordered earlier. All the shows were busier today, and people are still arriving to start their shopping. This has been overall the coldest week I’ve ever spent at the Gem shows. Would you believe this was a hotel fountain in an enclosed courtyard yesterday afternoon?! Yikes! Today was much more reasonable weather for Tucson. I spent over 2 hours filling out @#$%$ customs forms this afternoon. Everything has been carefully packed up by the great guys at the …

What I did on my Winter vacation – Tucson

I took a couple of courses at Swarovski as the vacation part of my Tucson trip. The first course involved rivetting large Swarovski fancy stones onto a bracelet blank. This involved the use of a new rivetting tool (which beadFX will be carrying in the near future, of course). It involves some careful measurement, but was very easy to use, especially with a table-top vise that you can get at any large hardware store. The next course was really fun. I got to embellish the top of a plain compact case with Swarovski flatbacks. I started with an argyle pattern, …

The beadFX Buyer in Tucson

I meant to blog yesterday, but as usual for the first full day in Tucson, I hit the Gem Mall running, overshopped and under-hydrated and ended up with a killer headache. You have to have water with you ALWAYS as it’s very dry here and we Canadians are just not used to that. Now that I’ve been coming here for several years and have learned the lay of the land, so to speak, I can cover the territory much more quickly. The Gem Mall and the neighbouring Holidome are two of the larger shows in Tucson and I use them …

Sneak Peek at Upcoming Weeks

A few days ago, I mentioned that the stuff I had sent back from Tucson had arrived. I thought you might l ike to see some pictures of what you’ll be seeing on the website over the next few weeks. First off, for you cabochon lovers, there’s some gorgeous dyed Impression Jasper. There will be matching beads as well. Then, there’s a lot more of the large hole beads that proved so popular. The holes in these are in two different sizes. One is large enough to fit the Pandora/Troll bracelets. We will also be carrying sterling grommets that fit …

Tucson Stuff has arrived!

The UPS guy moaned and groaned, but we all helped heave 13 big cartons of stuff that I shipped from Tucson. They’re all sitting there on the classroom table waiting for me to open them up. It’s gonna be like Christmas here tonight! Boxes of freshwater pearls, semi-precious stone, Czech glass, vintage Swarovski, cloisonne, and too many other goodies to mention. And that’s not all. While I was there, I ordered other goodies from several manufacturers. These will take a month or two before they arrive. Stay tuned! There’ll be lots of new stuff on our website in the coming …

Tucson – If its Tuesday, it must be ???

I’ve only been here 4 days, and already the shows are are starting to blur and run together. Yesterday, I went down the series of shows on the I-10 strip. There are 6-8 hotels/motels along a service road that parallels Interstate 10. Each motel has a different show in it, plus every room on the ground floor is booked with small vendors selling all manner of odds and ends, some of which have only the most tenuous relationship with gems or minerals. Most of these shows are oriented towards gems, fossils and raw chunks of rough semi-precious stones, so I …

Tucson Day 1

Today was the opening day of the Gem Mall, one of the larger wholesale shows in Tucson. There are two tents here – one about the size of a football field and the other about 2/3 that size. There are vendors here from all over the world – China, India, Africa, Australia. Probably the only major continent without representation is Antarctica. Although semi-precious gems are the main draw at this show, you can find anything from strands of diamond beads to chips-on-stretchy-elastic bracelets for a $1. It’s very much Caveat Emptor at a show like this though. There’s lots of …

Tucson: Coming home

It’s the last day in Tucson for me and just as well – it’s turned cold and rainy here. I feel really sorry for the people who are showing in tents or outdoors. As far as I’m concerned, I’m about beaded out. I feel like if I see one more dyed-howlite-masquerading-as-genoooine-Sleeping-Beauty-Turquoise, I’m gonna barf. You’d think that these vendors know what it is they are selling, but all too often, they don’t. So Buyer Beware applies in spades at these shows. Turquoise-dyed howlite has a legitimate place in beading, but I’m darned if I’m going to pay for this stuff …

Tucson: If It’s Wednesday, It Must Be The Best Bead Show

Hard to believe I’ve been here for five days already, going from one bead show to another every day. Today I covered the Tucson Best Bead Show, the best (IMHO) of the retail bead shows. This is a lampworked bead bonanza, second only to an ISGB conference. Most of the “big names” in the lampworking world are here: Milon Townsend, Leah Fairbanks, Sharon Peters, Akihiro Okhama to name the first few that pop into my head. Check out Beau Tsai’s gallery if you want to see some exquisite seascapes. www.beautsai.com The foreign gallery owners were packing his booth and almost …