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Tips for a Tucson newbie

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

Your flights are booked, and your hotel room is reserved, but are you really ready for the Tucson gem show? If it’s you’re a first timer or Tucson newbie, prepare to be overwhelmed because Tucson is B.I.G.

Your jeweller’s loupe and pocket torch are perhaps the most obvious items to take, but had you thought of these other useful bits and pieces? Good packing can make the whole experience more comfortable and productive, so don’t forget to make plenty of room in your suitcase for these Tucson essentials.

Tucson Newbie Tips |

Pack your 10x magnification jeweller’s loupe and pocket torch, of course!

Take a cheque book as well as cash – you’ll find some international dealers do not take credit cards.

Yes, Arizona’s a desert, but it has been known to rain heavily in February. Pack a lightweight raincoat or umbrella.

Comfortable shoes are essential for the Tucson gem show. You’ll probably walk a few kilometres without realising it. While we’re on shoes, better take a pair that will keep your feet dry. Some shows are in car parks, which can collect some pretty big puddles when it rains.

Five reasons to visit Tucson |

Pack several thin layers that you can peel off as the chilly mornings warm up and put back on again when the evening temperature drops.

A rucksack is easier to manage than a bag when you’re handling gems and jewellery.

Keep your cash, credit cards and chequebook in a money belt. It’s easier to access than your rucksack and much safer.

You’ll be asked to register at some shows. Mostly they’re just after your name, address and email, so print out some sticky labels with your details on them before you go. It speeds things up a bit.

Handling minerals, antique jewellery and other grubby goods means you’ll need anti-bac wipes or a travel-sized hand sanitizer and tissues to clean yourself up afterwards.

All that dust, dirt and handwashing can play havoc with your hands, so bring a good hand-cream to prevent painful dry fingers.

Tucson Newbie Essentials |

You’ll get super thirsty and ravenously hungry being on your feet all day. Pack snacks and your re-fillable water bottle.

A small hand-mirror is useful if you want to see how some jewellery looks on you – not all dealers have them.


A copy of Buying Gemstones and Jewellery in the USA or, if you want a more general introduction to purchasing gemstones, Buying Gemstones and Jewellery Worldwide.

If you’ve got experience, why not help out a Tucson newbie by adding your ideas to the comments below?

Author of Gemstone Detective

Be sure. Be smart. Buy with confidence

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