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Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:59:34 GMT
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Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:10 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:10:24 GMT
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -
officials welcomed gem, mineral, and fossil show vendors into town on Friday
with an official kick-off event.
It is the 60th
annual event and city officials said it was very important for the city both
economically and culturally.
For the next
two weeks, city officials said 55,000 people would be converging on
Tucson. The event pumped about $65 Million into the local economy, and an
estimated 150,000 hotel rooms were already booked.
treasure hunt started on Saturday, but some shows kicked off their event a day
early, to help sellers and early buyers.
the production manager of the Pueblo Gem Show at Riverpark Inn said the buying
and selling began way before the official start of the event, in fact the first
sales started when the first boxes started opening.
Bruce Baines, a
mineral dealer from Capetown, South Africa had brought ten tons of rocks with
him to sell in Tucson.
freight I can tell you is about $6,000."
Baines said he
had already made some big sales, before the event even began.
buyers, the best buyers are here before the show opens. 50% of the business is
done before the show opens," said Baines. He hoped to sell 70-80% of
his product, the rest would be left in storage in Tucson.
just money for us, selling here. This is the center of the gem show world
right here, for 2-3 weeks," said Baines.
About 300 vendors and exhibitors were set up at
Riverpark Inn from all over the world. This was just one of 41
locations throughout the city, where tents will be set up for the next two
Buyers who came from all over world said they
made some great finds in Tucson. It was an event where new items were
unveiled, and trends were set.
Allison Wilson with Starborn Creations was
selling unique jewelry that used meteorites and fossils in their creations.
"You can wear a rock from outer space
around your neck," said Wilon.
The new item they unveiled this year as stones
typically used in jewelry, turned into lit artwork for your walls. They
had created wall sconces and jewelry art, using amber from Indonesia.
"This is truly the show, you will see
things here you would only see in museums at the Tucson gem show," said
The city of Tucson's ParkWise was offering
"Gem Rides" to visitors, it is a free shuttle service that connects
downtown parking locations with 33 of the Gem, Mineral, and Fossil shows around
Tucson. City officials said the shuttle's four routes covered 29
different stops and ran from 7 AM to 7PM through Feb. 16.