I have always found myself having a hard time choosing the right words to describe to those around me, especially those who have never been to the Tucson Gem Show, how special it is and what makes it so special.
In other’s eyes, what we do as a fine jewellery company is mainly to purchase gemstones for our jewellery. Still, in truth, for those of us who actually went there personally, there is always something special for us to take home.
Although this ‘something’ seems to slip away the more we try to verbalise it, it cannot be expressed in just a single word. Through this blog, I hope to convey the essence of this "something" that we have chanced upon, even if only a little could be understood in this writing.
I have said many things in the past; things such as "Tucson is like a summer festival” or things like "It's like a Comiket, but for stone lovers”.
The festive atmosphere at one of the world’s most prestigious gem shows was truly admirable. Be it the sellers, buyers, or volunteers helping out. The place was composed of people who love jewellery and were there to soak in the moment. Unlike any other jewellery trade show, the whole landscape was bathed in the rising sun's warm glow, and the festive atmosphere at the event made it seem as though we were at the appearance of a festival.
Had I not been in the jewellery-making business, I would never have had the opportunity to visit this city. After all, Tucson, Arizona, was a remote place, to begin with. I recalled how monotonous the city view was from the airport window when I first visited many years back, which was inconsistent with the image of gemstones and jewellery history I had in mind.
A city with barely any tourist attractions or sightseeing spots, no MLB or NBA to look forward to, just plenty of cacti growing in a vast deserted land. But once a year, the Tucson Gem Show joyfully takes its place as the centre of the gem world for a period of no more than two weeks in this dusty southwestern city. It is said that the event originated from a small flea market for peridot, quartz, and other miscellaneous gemstones produced in this area. Now, it has become an unparalleled, widespread jewellery gem show in the world — a reminder of the freedom and scale of the United States.
Often, people who attend such events (including myself) have a common understanding of what they are deeply fond of. Considering the business profit-and-loss rationality, it is unsurprising that one shouldn’t only stock up in Tucson. There are other considerations, such as the travelling time and the monetary aspects, especially when we come all the way from Japan and other parts of Asia.
However, when you attend your favourite musician’s concert (e.g. Takarazuka Revue performance) or your idol’s fan meeting, do you question its reasonability? More often than not, you’ll just invite a person you can talk with to go together, purchase the necessary tickets, and let your imagination run wild on the set list even before you go. At the back of your mind, there’s a general outline you would like to see, and you gradually anticipate seeing it in person, but still, a part of you looks forward to discovering something new. The excitement behind the possibility of encountering a side of a guess you haven’t thought of and the inevitability of such coincidences happening is witnessed only by those who were there presently.
Personally, I could never forget the taste of the ramen I had just right before my favourite musician’s performance or when I stayed up late sharing the concert details with my excited comrades. If we let these memories accumulate and gradually colour our lives, then I guess the trip to Tucson may be similar to such experiences.
So upon our arrival at the Tucson International Airport, we swiftly got into this enormous-sized rental minivan and decided to fill our bellies with tacos first. The nearest taqueria I could find on Google Maps around us was a food truck.
Taqueria Rosita's Mexican Food Truck
I'd never seen a food truck with Google reviews in Japan, yet the tacos I had -in the dry Arizona air- for the first time in a year tasted so delicious that it seemed to foreshadow my encounter with gemstones the next day.
If you were present at the 2023 Tucson Gem Show, you’d know it is one to be remembered, just like the delicious tacos we chanced upon.
We'll host our Annual Designer & Gemologist to showcase the gemstones bought from this year's Tucson Trip. Please stay tuned for more information.