Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Tucson Experience 2014

Post by Christine Webb and Patricia Syvrud

Well we had another incredible week in Tucson this year at the AGTA GemFair, the GJX show, JCK Tucson and of course all of the smaller tent shows.  It's always so amazing to see the beautiful gems, jewelry, carvings, mineral specimens, huge geodes, fossils and so much more! Tucson becomes an international gem fair each year in February as dealers from around the world come to sell and source gemstones. Here are a few highlights from our week in Tucson, Arizona.

We had the chance to catch up with some of our favorite designers - Paula Crevoshay, Alishan, Erica Courtney, Bernd Munsteiner, Barbara Heinrich, as well as the gem dealers, most notably the Henns, who source the stones for these high level designers and retail jewelers from around the world. (We're saving our photos of Bernd and Barbara as well as the Henns for a future post - keep checking Joia Gems!)

Paula Crevoshay's booth was one of the most colorful booths at the AGTA show.  She is known as the Queen of Color, and she didn't disappoint this year - her showcases were filled with incredible one-of-a-kind pieces encrusted with vibrant gems in every hue, as you can see below.

One of our favorites was this stunning crocus flower with purple sapphires, pink spinels, fire opals, yellow sapphires, and moonstone dewdrops - PLEASE!

And a special piece that Paula made for Christine - an amazing Ethiopian opal ring with blue zircons - the picture doesn't do it justice.  It is magical!

 Paula Crevoshay in front of one of her spectacular showcases

The Greens - tourmalines, peridots, emeralds

 The Blues - opals, chrysocolla, sapphires, tanzanites

The Oranges and Reds - fire opals, garnets, tourmalines

And don't forget the moonstones, pearls and intarsia (inlay) pieces

To learn more about Paula Crevoshay and see her breathtaking jewelry, please check out our earlier blog post

We were thrilled to see another of our favorite and very talented designers, Alishan. Alishan and his wonderful wife, Lydia, exhibited at JCK Tucson and as always had the most gorgeous jewelry.  

Alishan and Lydia setting up at JCK Tucson before another busy day of selling.

Some of our Alishan favorites.

 This is a new bridal collection for Alishan - delicate and sweet, with natural colored diamonds and gemstones in matte and bright finishes.  Sure to appeal to the Millennials!

One of the most fun activities at the show is trying on the jewelry.  I love this yellow gold and diamond bridal suite set with tiny diamonds and a very pretty ruby!

Yellow and white gold and silver are set off so nicely with cream colored cultured pearls.

And what is it with me and dragonflies?  I LOVE them and I LOVE this Alishan Dragonfly brooch!!

Stacking natural colored diamond rings is a great start to any day.

One more fave - this gorgeous blue zircon ring! 

To learn more about Alishan, please read our earlier blog post

It was also big fun to catch up with Erica Courtney - at both of her booths - one at the AGTA featuring her Drop Dead Gorgeous jewelry line, and the other at the GJX show featuring her newly launched Courtney Collection of fine loose gemstones where she debuted Csarite/TM, the color change diaspore from Turkey.

Here's the Erica Courtney team at the AGTA Spectrum Awards Gala with her 6 trophies. Congratulations again, Erica!
Please read our blog post - 2014 AGTA Spectrum Awards - the Highlights - to see some of her astonishing award winning pieces.


 The booth for The Courtney Collection at the GJX show

more Csarite - loose and in rings

Please check out our first post on Erica Courtney for more photos and info

At the GJX tent show we saw so many amazing gems!  Of course one of our favorite stops is the Idar-Oberstein Pavilion.  Here we saw an incredible suite of Imperial Topaz gemstones and the most magnificent spessartite garnet, both at Constantin Wild

Suite of Imperial Topaz ready to be set into a one-of-a-kind necklace with matching drop earrings and a statement ring.
A 103.98ct spessartite garnet from Nigeria.  Known in the trade as Mandarin Garnet, this stone is the one of the finest and largest we have ever seen.  Thanks for the tangerine dream, Constantin! Truly museum quality.

I felt so elegant trying on the Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline ring and earrings at Akiva Gil at the AGTA show.  Joe Gil always has unique and fantastic colored gemstones.  These tourmalines just glow a neon Windex blue - breathtaking!  And with the pave diamonds - truly outstanding.

We also saw the most extraordinary gems at DuftyWeis Opals - they always have the finest Australian and Mexican opals - beyond compare!

We always love our evenings out at the many industry events.  Top of our list is the AGTA Spectrum Awards Gala where we get to see all of the winners and enjoy dinner and dancing - and more importantly, socializing with great friends. Here we are with Betty Sue King - the Pearl Queen!

The CPAA event has become one of the BEST events of Tucson nights.  Thanks so much to the Cultured Pearl Association of America for throwing such a great party.

 Christine and Kathy Grenier at Cushing Street Bar & Grill - Great CPAA party!

The CPAA always displays the winners of the annual CPAA International Design Competition at the AGTA show.  Here's a sampling of the creativity and beauty expressed through cultured pearls.

Mark Schneider's President's Trophy Award winner, "The Wave".  How cool is that??!!

Designs and jewelry!

The Smithsonian Institution takes an exhibit to the AGTA GemFair each year to share a little of the National Gem Collection with the exhibitors and buyers.  This year the star attraction was a silver and gold tiara with 1,198 diamonds set en tremblant.  The "flowers" are set on trembler springs so that with every movement, the sparkle and brilliance of the diamonds is enhanced. It was made in France in the mid-1800s - a real treasure from the vault!
In addition to the iconic pieces from the collection, the museum uses this opportunity to display recent acquisitions and donations, and even accepts donations during the show!

The case exhibiting Recent Gifts to the National Gem Collection.  Always a Must See for all the AGTA attendees.
The National Gem Collection gratefully accepted this contribution of color-change diaspore, known as Csarite/TM - a rare, natural gemstone from a single source in the Anatolia mountains of Turkey.  The 159.33 carat cabochon and 44.48 carat faceted oval Csarites are rare indeed.

The National Gem Collection is generously supported by the Smithsonian Gemstone Collector's group. And what wonderful support it is! A suite of Vietnamese spinels, an aquamarine, and a green beryl were the highlights of the group's most recent donation. 
A view of the Smithsonian booth before the show opens. Centrally located in front of the main entrance to the AGTA show floor, during show hours it's always crowded with folks appreciating these special items from the National Gem Collection, National Museum of Natural History.

When we can pull ourselves away from the jewelry shows, we head to the tent shows.  All of the small hotels and parking lots are set up with tents displaying everything from mineral specimens, to fossils, to beads and carvings from all over the world - it's one big international fair.  It's great to hunt for treasures - you never know what you'll find. And this IS what the Tucson experience is all about!
Amethyst geodes from Brazil

Citrine geode

Slices of agates

 More agates

 Polished slabs of rocks - wish my garden was big enough to place one of these as a centerpiece!

Happy Buddha!

Little fossils

And BIG fossils!

 An unending sea of table after table of rocks, fossils, and carvings

 A mix of everything

 More citrine geodes

Smaller amethyst specimens

Oh, and don't forget the rugs!

Desert wind  farms - somewhere between San Diego and Tucson.  Majestic looking, really!

We can't wait for Tucson 2015 - always one of our favorite weeks of the year - and the weather isn't bad either!  Until next year.......

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