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Tuscon 2011

Discussion in 'Colored Stones' started by Art Nouveau, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. Art Nouveau
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Art Nouveau » Oct 16, 2010
    Anyone going to the 2011 Tuscon gem show? I am seriously considering going. Besides AGTA and GJX, what other shows are worth going to? Any recommendations for hotels? A friend told me he always stays at The Arizona Inn. Another suggested The Marriott Starr Pass Resort? Both are kind of expensive. Are there other decent ones that are convenient? Is it necessary to rent a car? Thanks.

    AN
     
  2. minousbijoux
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by minousbijoux » Oct 16, 2010
    AN:

    I am so happy you started this thread...for several years, I have been wanting to go to Tuscon, but have been intimidated by the sheer size and popularity. I would love to echo your questions and would like to ask the non trades people who've been what are reasonable expectations to have? What is the best part of the show? Is it a place to source hard to find colored stones at reasonable prices, a place to schmooze, a place to "see the latest"?
     
  3. StonieGrl
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by StonieGrl » Oct 16, 2010
    I live near Tucson and I go every year, first started tagging along my husband (geologist).

    Years later, I go to both the public and trade shows.

    Besides the shows you specified, I also like the one at Inn Suites and also the one where Pala (Bill Larson/sons) and his friends have, its also at a hotel, public is welcome. I like the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society show and it is public. Its the best mix of gemstones, mineral specimens and krap/kitsch all under one roof with restrooms (I hope you have the bladder of a camel anywhere else).

    At Electric Park in Tucson, there are quite a few shows and in the main tent, we like Kent's Tools.

    Yes, reserve now. The cheap places? You won't like. The Arizona Inn is a beautiful, historic hotel in a residential neighborhood. The food is excellent but takes a good long time. The Hotel Arizona is where I stay (formerly The Hilton), as you can walk to the AGTA and GJX plus every show shuttle stops there.

    A funky historic hotel is The Congress, and they have a happenin' cafe/restaraunt/bar with a large outdoor socializing area. Not terribly far from the shows but an exercise-worthy walk.

    If you have any other questions, post 'em and I might know an answer for you.
     
  4. StonieGrl
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by StonieGrl » Oct 16, 2010
    Oh, and here is a key deal: Tucson can be REALLY cold at that time of year and can also have rain so dress appropriately.
     
  5. Art Nouveau
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Art Nouveau » Oct 17, 2010
    Stonie Grl: Thanks for your helpful suggestions. The Hotel Arizona seems like a convenient place to stay. I am interested in seeing color stones, but my sister and her husband, who will be going to Tuscon with me, are interested in minerals, rocks and fossils. Will those shows be at or near the convention center? Most likely we will be renting a car. Haven't decided yet whether to fly to Tuscon or Pheonix.

    AN
     
  6. FrekeChild
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by FrekeChild » Oct 17, 2010
    I wish I could go to Tucson! I don't think my husband would let me though....
     
  7. StonieGrl
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by StonieGrl » Oct 17, 2010
    AN, most likely cheaper to fly into SkyHarbor and get the rental car there, its a short and ez drive down to Tucson. Tucson is ez to get around in so don't worry about it being difficult. The advantage to The Hotel Arizona is you won't use your car if you just do the shows, BUT if you can at ALL, go to Kartchner Caverns, it is world class. Check the website and marvel. Its a very short trip from Tucson and you won't be sorry I promise you. I've been several times. Also, The Arizona/Sonora Desert Museum is an outdoor museum with wildlife and is fabulous, also very close to you and a nice break from the shows.

    OMG, fossils/minerals???? Every single tent along the freeway my friend! You can't turn around without brushing up against a fossil, its really fantastic. Bring cash and I do bargain although I do it gently. Usually successful particularly with cash.

    If you're not 'trade,' then I recommend planning your trip to do the first or second day of the big show at the Tucson Convention Center (Tucson Gem & Mineral Society) as it will have your colored stones (same vendors as for the trade show, they just raise the prices so bargain accordingly), minerals, fossils, and worldclass displays of collector's items. Then, you can do the shows/tents all along the highway and get minerals and fossils and other cool rocks to your heart's content.

    You'll have a great time, Tucson is beautiful and the people there are nice, its a university town, a small town too.
     
  8. Lee Little
    Shiny_Rock
    Trade

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    by Lee Little » Oct 17, 2010
    I stayed at a cheap hotel like a Ramada Inn but it still cost about 100 plus a day but I had a deal where it was free though so I am not sure about the prices. I saw a really cheap hotel out of the circuit advertising $25 a day but unless you are a seasoned international traveler that could be a shocker. I would not worry about the quality of the room if it is in the circuit much as they are all decent and you will shop til you drop and the room will rarely be seen.
    No need for a rental car. I took a taxi from the airport to the reserved hotel then everybody uses the free shuttle buses. No need even for a bicycle.
    Virtually every hotel is in the show. Days Inn is a good show but really every hotel in the area is full of displays and vendors. Hotel rooms are turned into vendors booths everywhere. The shuttle buses go to every hotel and every show. Just follow the free maps and use the free buses that come by about every hour at every location.
    I was there a week, shopped 5 days, spent 5k very easily, only saw about a fourth of the total show, could have used more time. Used a taxi one time other than between the airport and the hotel as I was out late and the free shuttle stops at 5 or 6pm.
    Prepare by putting on a small back pack full of rocks then walk and walk until you can do 10 hours a day for a week with a sense of urgency in your stride and a look on your face that shows you are lost. Take a jacket. Best regards, Lee
     
  9. Art Nouveau
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by Art Nouveau » Oct 17, 2010
    Stonie Grl and Lee Little: Thanks for the tips. Kartchner Caverns sounds like an interesting place to visit. How is security at the shows? When trying to bargain, cash is king. But it is kind of scary to carry too much cash around. How negotiable are the prices? Dealers may get insulted if you counter too low.

    AN
     
  10. LtlFirecracker
    Ideal_Rock

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    by LtlFirecracker » Oct 17, 2010
    I don't think I will be able to go this year, but eventually I would like to go.

    I have a question. Is it worth going to if you are not a trade person?
     
  11. RockHugger
    Ideal_Rock
    Trade

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    by RockHugger » Oct 17, 2010
    Me! I cant wait!
     
  12. StonieGrl
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by StonieGrl » Oct 17, 2010
    I used cash and VISA and it made no diff in the bargaining UNLESS I was at one of the smaller tented vendors flanking the highway. In terms of buying stones/minerals from the Big Show at the Conv Center or at one of the hotel shows, cash/credit no diff as far as I could see. They were just glad to be making sales, the economy the past 3 years has kicked the snot out of the show.

    Security is really for the vendors and not the attendees. The only crime I know of was when a schoolkid stole a gemstone and the whole place was put in lockdown (Conv Center). I would say exercise the same caution that you would in any large city setting.

    I would also be careful at night. Tucson has crime issues due to the drugs coming in from Mexico. You're fine during the daytime, I'd stick to the known locales at night.
     
  13. StonieGrl
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by StonieGrl » Oct 17, 2010
    I think the show is well worth it if you're not a tradesperson but without knowing what you would like to buy, I'm not sure for you, Ltl firecracker. Many of the same trade vendors sell at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society show at the Conv Center, but they raise their prices. Knowing this, offer accordingly but most of them do charge sales tax for the city of Tucson.
     

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