Saturday, February 9, 2008

AGTA at the Tucson Convention Center

Welcome to the AGTA Show at the Tucson Convention Center!!!! The crowd above is the reason you want to Pre-Register for this show – that is the Pre-Registered line! The line for folks registering on-site was out the doors! ...and YES all the warnings about the downtown traffic detours are correct. Don’t get on the I-10 just use Frontage & Congress to get around relax and take it easy it is slow going. There are plenty of parking lots with “Gem Ride” Shuttle service. The easiest one to use is the Congress Street HUB – the hostess is friendly and knowledgeable and will help you map out your shuttle route. The drivers are delightful – they are dealing with a lot of traffic and blocked routes and still manage to keep their sense of humor!

The levels are varied – you walk in to the hall and are greeted by tables manned by reps for magazines (Jewelry Artist, Metalsmith/SNAG, Indian Colored Gem Assoc., etc.) the schools (GIA, ISG, etc.), the guilds (Appraisers, Metalsmiths, etc.), the associations (MJSA, AJA, etc.)...any info you could want is in the walkway.

On the same floor as registration is the “Spectrum of Gems” featuring the work of the AGTA Spectrum Award Winners. The walls are lined with Photographs by award winning jewelry and gem photographers. I can’t show you this area because they don’t allow photos, but you can see the Spectrum Award Winners at:

All this is interesting but let’s get on to the reason we came! GEMS! Downstairs one flight you are greeted by another one of the friendly members of the TCC Security staff pointing a scanner at you (your badge is scanned at the door of every room)!

This is the main pavilion of the AGTA Show, wall-to- wall Gems & Jewelry!!!

Loose gemstones from around the world – everything from melee stones to faceted gems the size of your fist!

Pearls, faceted beads, ruby, emerald, sapphire even diamond beads that ranged from "gravel" and "spit" to stones that were clean enough to set! There were a lot of rough diamonds this year!

This is just a small example of the amazing gems in the Main Pavilion - this very fine suite of gems that Fei (Fine Emeralds International) had set up around their booth - this is the gemmiest Rubellite Tourmaline I have EVER seen!!!
...more from the AGTA Show tomorrow

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