The AGTA GemFair is one of the most prestigious shows in Tucson - the finest gems, beads, cutters and carvers.
Their reputation attracts the highest caliber speakers to lead their seminars. I have talked to Edward Boehm (with Richard Hughes in attendance) - other presenters include: Diana Jarrett, GG RMV (signing her new book), Bill Larsen of Pala International, Antoinette Matlin author of Gem ID Made Easy from Gemstone Press and many more!
The American Gem Trade Association's Mission is: "The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) is an association of United States and Canadian trade professionals dedicated to promoting the long term stability and integrity of the natural colored gemstone and Cultured Pearl industries. The Association pursues its goals through the combined use of educational programs, publicity, industry events, government and industry relations, and printed materials for both the trade and consumer. The AGTA is well-known in the gemstone and jewelry industries for maintaining the highest ethical standards."
While the crowds to get in the door are definitely smaller - the folks on the floor are buying and the selection is as expected top notch!
Some of my favorites are back:
Robert Bentley Gemstones
Robert has some of the rarest gemstones in the most unique cuts and shapes - he also does beads that will knock your socks off! If you get a chance - check his booth out as there is so much more to see than is available on his website.
David Brackna, Gem Cutter has brought with him this year his "Dimension Series" - these are a "must see"!!! David is an 18 time AGTA Cutting Edge Award Winner!
I had the priviledge of meeting Bill at the Bench Jewelers Conference last year and found him to be a very knowledgable and forthright person - both important in a supplier of gems! Due to a recent redesign of their operation they have been able to streamline and lower costs while raising the quality of the goods they sell! For the latest, rarest and most unusual - check with Bill!
One of the fun things to check out at this show is the Smithsonian Institution's Display on the main floor. This year they have the models that show the relationship between the Hope Diamond and the stones that experts believe it was re-cut from.
TUCSON TIP: Check the Smithsonian display on the first day of the show and be sure to go back on the last day also as the gem dealers are always making donations to the collection and there are new - rare goodies to view as the show goes on.