Snapshots from the Tucson 2007 Gem and Mineral Show
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Real Beads

Today began with Bob and myself discussing if we should head out to another show or stay in for at least part of the day so Bob could work on the computer and report more on some of the things we have already seen. I wanted to attend at least one of the legendary bead shows while I am here at my first Tucson Show and I also had an idea that it might be for the best if Bob was not there keeping a tab on what I was spending on beads.

So I left Bob at the keyboard and with a map, show schedule and bus schedule in hand I headed out on my own to find and check out the Manning House To Bead True Blue Show. Bob said he has never attended this particular show but told me he knew it by reputation as one of the better bead shows at Tucson.

I was quite happy to have boarded the first bus and after mentioning to the driver I was not sure where to get off, she told me what bus to take after hers and where it would be located and to tell the next driver after I transferred where I wanted to wind up. Although I had a pretty good idea from Bob's directions, knowing there are friendly people willing to help me get to where I needed to go made me feel much better about my first time in Tucson traveling on the local transit system. The second bus driver was just as helpful and checked my map just to make sure he knew which stop to tell me to get off at.

The motel it's self was very pretty, build off the main street on a culdesac, the landscape at the front was enchanting. I walked through the front doors into the lobby and was taken back at all the things I was seeing I must have turned around 3 times before I took a step any direction. Bob and I had discussed that it might be fun for me and of interest for you if I did a report on one of the bead shows so my first thought was of being overwhelmed. I wanted to do an informative report for everyone but I also was looking at so many things that really did not have anything to do with the basis of our interest here being rocks that before I took that first step I had decided that I wanted to report on beads and jewelry that where made of rocks, I will tell you that if you are looking for glass beads, ornate clothing, or unique jewelry you can also find these things at this show but real beads are what make me drool so this report is about them and a few other things of interest. After making the decision to concentrate on keeping the report focused around real beads and my credit cards in my wallet I decided to go right and started wandering through the rooms, the first couple rooms I seen some lovely clothing pieces and a nice purse display, I was beginning to think I should have went left when I came into a room full of all shapes, sizes and colors of beads, I waited till the man there was done talking to a customer and introduced myself, I told him I would like to take a couple pictures for my report and he said he didn't want me to take pictures because he didn't want anyone undercutting his prices but I could mention his business by name if I wanted, so I left *darn I forgot to get his business card*

After leaving the room full of nice beads alittle disappointed I wandered out into the Morning Star Ballroom, this room was set up in nice 8'x 6' booths lined along the walls and two rows back to back in the center. Iwandered around for quiet awhile trying to absorb everything I could see.

I came upon Sun Country Gems, there I talked to Paul Lucas about his booth, he said that they do sell wholesale with discounts on large orders starting at 5% off on orders over $50.00 or retail to anyone They have been selling over the internet for about 6 years now and opened a store in the Albuquerque NM area. This was their first year at the Tucson Show and he was very excited about how the show was going for them.

While talking to Paul a set of 30mm picture jasper coin beads kept catching my attention I just had to have the 15" strand for $9.00 it didn't seem like a bad price to me and then I noticed a 15" strand of 10mm x 15mm oval abalone shell beads for $11.00 which was alittle bit more than I really wanted to pay but the colors were popping brilliantly so I bought them anyway.

Sun Country Gems, The Manning House Bead Show, Morning Star Ballroom Booth MS288U - Paul Lucas, Plaza Don Luis-Old town, 303 Romero NW Suite N207, Albuquerque, NM 87104 - Phone: 505-842-5561 Email:

I turned down a small hallway and went into the San Pedro Room and WOW first thing I that drew me like a magnet was a chair overflowing with Lapis beads and over I went. Bob teases me about the fact that I like denim lapis beads more than the bluer beads, I tend to be drawn to things with character and the bluer beads are pretty but seem to me to be too bland. The denim always gives you interesting patterns to look at, but in this chair there was every shade and size you could imagine ranging from $45.00 to $120.00 per strand. Then I looked to the right and there was another chair full of turquoise ranging from aqua blue to green and brown 7 types in the chair I was told, which ranged from $10.00 to $90.00 per strand

I introduced myself and asked if I could take some pictures, Abdul Wardak started telling me all about the types of lapis and jade he said that those beads where being hand crafted in Pakistan refugee camps by Afghanistan artists to help feed their families.

I snapped several pictures and even piled up a couple trays for fun then looked to the right and noticed another chair full of red coral from China. The color on the coral was so vivid that you just had to look it's way.

The Jade, Onyn, Jasper and Carnelian beads show above range from $5.00 to $25.00 per strand. Afghan Tribal Arts has been open for business for approximately 12 years now and though he does sell retail, wholesale is his main business.

One strand of Denim Lapis really had my interest and asked Abdul what the strand would cost his reply $45.00 the beads were rich with lots of character I just had to have them. There was also many other nice items at his booth including rugs, textiles, silver jewelry and wood artifacts. Abdul was very helpful and informative both to myself and customers that stopped in to shop while I was there.

Afgan Tribal Arts, The Manning House Bead Show, San Pedro Room Booth SP11A - Abdul Wardak, P.O.Box 49, Mt. Prospect, IL 60056 - Phone: 827-602-6651 Email:

After spending allot of time just talking and taking pictures at afghan tribal arts I thought I should probably move on and started out, the next area I entered was the Redondo Pavilion area walking into this huge tent I decided that right was the way to walk this tent was booths all the way around the edge with one long row of booths back to back down the center. I passed several booths full of glass and seed beads then an ammonite caught my eye and had to check it out, I pretty much became addicted to ammonites while I was there sooo many and all sooo different, I think we found 5 or 6 pairs while I was there visiting.

I walked into the booth of Ruth Kadas - Luna Creations, I went to the ammonite and was examining the wire wrapping when Ruth said that if I had any questions or needed help to let her know, which I liked she offered to help but was not pushy. I liked the necklace very much it was aproximately 1 1/2w x 2 1/2h and though out of my budget $180.00 to take this ammonite necklace home was not bad.

Ruth has been designing jewelry for 18 years now, when I asked her what she liked about designing jewelry she said just being creative, everything from selecting the items she intends to create the piece from to assembling the piece of jewelry into a finished product I have done allot of crafting and appreciated what she was saying. As I looked around her booth she had several very nice pieces made with natural beads and cabochons. her earrings range from $25.00 to $40.00 her pendants range from $90.00 to $400.00. She also does gemstone work ranging from $100.00 to $1600.00 I thanked Ruth for the information and started off again.

Luna Creations, The Manning House Bead Show, Redondo Pavilion Booth T70G - Luna Creations, 1020 Gerald Way, Fallbrook, CA 92028 - Phone: 760-451-3480 Email:

I have been interested in making a couple pieces of jewelry using cabochons and seed beads, I have picked up a cab made of Kingston Turquoise and a cab made of Russian Charoite so the next booth that caught my attention was one with some tubes of very nice seed beads. The Bead Corner specializes in Japanese To-ho Beads and I spent several minutes looking over all the shades and sizes of beads until I settled on 8 small tubes of beads totaling $13.50 the small tubes are 3 inches by 1/2 inch and range from $1.50 to $3.00 each. It is incredibly hard to relay the magnitude of colors, shapes, sizes, and quality of choices on these tables. This is just one small table at this booth.

Bead Corner, The Manning House Bead Show, Redondo Pavilion Booth T272A - Bead Corner, 8005 Nall Avenue, Prairie Village, KS 66208 By Appointement Only - Phone: 913-649-8039

After leaving Bead Corner I started down the center row of booths passing several nice displays but I was on a hunt for natural beads and my next stop gave me what I was looking for and more.

Cherry Tree Beads was a beaders delight there prices where very reasonable and the quality on there beads was exceptional the tables where full and most beads here where $3.00 to $5.00 a strand though there were some that ranged higher. I was able to speak some to Bill Edwards about some of his product though he was extremely busy as bead store owners where lined up with tubs full of beads for him to tally up for final purchase. He started this business in 2000 with his wife BeBe and there daughter Beth and with allot of work it's been growing stronger every year. You can learn more about how they got started and who all helps at their web site.

This set of beads was the most expensive set on Bill's tables they are a Faceted Sardonyx strand is approximately 15" at $72.00 a strand. Over all I would say this booth had the greatest variety and the overall easiest to shop at this particular bead show.

All the beads on the racks shown here were $2.50 each or 10 for $20.00 I just had to take home several.

I was impressed at the amount of real stone beads and how many shapes and sizes that where available in each type. The tigers eye seemed to be the most eye catching to me as you can tell from my choice of 3 different shapes, The diamond strung beads really caught my eye too and I picked up some in tigers eye, jasper, and sodalite.

Cherry Tree Beads, The Manning House Bead Show, Redondo Pavilion Booth T876I - Bill Edwards, P.O. Box 393, Evinston, FL. 32633 - Phone: 352-591-1473 Fax: 352-591-1473 Email:

After completing my purchase at Cherry Tree Beads I headed out again, I moved along the center booths again heading for the door when I noticed a lady picking out single silver jewelry findings and went over I have been looking for a pair of earring posts to mount a small pair of ammonites on and was excited to find someone there selling singles also instead of only tubes or bags full. I stopped at The Findings Company booth and waited as the lady there already picked out the findings she needed. The company is owned by Roberta Nicoloro and her husband. While I was waiting she was concerned because her husband had stepped away and she didn't want me to have to wait, I assured her all was fine and we chatted about the weather and granddaughters while she finished the order before mine and then worked with me. I really liked the variety of choices she has. I also asked and she said all her findings where sterling silver since I have metal allergies.

Roberta Nicoloro, The Manning House Bead Show, Redondo Pavilion Booth T342H - Phone: 617-721-1091 Email:

I left the tent and headed out into the rain and into the next area called the Silverbell Galleria I stopped at a booth with some gorgeous cabs both wire wrapped and blank and had to stop to learn what it was since I had not seen anything so baby blue as this was. Allot of the cabs looked like pools of clear water. I was standing at Larimar USA inc. I said hello to Margie Gravina, then I said that I am sure you hear this all the time but this stuff is beautiful and before I could say what it is, she told me it was Larimar. I then introduced myself and asked if I could take some pictures for my report. The single cab here is 1 1/2" x 2" and was priced at $124.00.

She started to tell me all about Larimar. It was discovered in the early 1900 but not mined until 1974. There is only one known place where Larimar is found and that is in the southwest mountain area of the Dominican Republic. It ranges in shades of blues and greens and texture of some stones are silky. Norman Rilling and Miguel Mendez rediscovered the stone and it is named from a combination of Miguel Mendez's daughters's name "LARI"ssa and Mar the spanish word for sea. Larimar is sometimes refered to as the Dolphin stone it is a rare form of pectolite a volcanic complex. Though they had some rough at the show I do not see where you can purchase rough at there web site.

I was very impressed not only by the beauty of Larimar it's self but also by the wire wrapping that was displayed here Margie is the creator of these pieces and she has done a exceptional job of making each piece not only exquisite in beauty but completely unique in design. Her pendants shown here range from $55.00 to $250.00

Larimar USA, The Manning House Bead Show, Silverbell Galleria Booth SG95F - Margie Gravina, Savannah GA - Phone: 866-920-8451 Email: sales

I looked at my watch and decided I better get moving I had already been at the show for 7 hours and I still had 2 huge rooms to wander though, I walked into the Silverbell Ballroom I felt the booths here where very crowded together they where small in size compared to what I had seen in the first three areas with narrow walkways allot of this room was finished jewelry products with some bead tables mixed in, If you where claustrophobic at all I am sure you would not have wanted to stay here long I know I didn't I looked quickly through these booths and was told probably 40 times as I walked through that someone was sorry for bumping into me. As I was wandering through trying to stay out of the way I did come across a table of interest and I stopped at Echo Artworks the pile of amethyst and garnet beads caught my attention. Beth said a bubbly hello right away, she was very helpful and quite funny as she told me to make a mess digging through the heap of beads, when I kept trying to organize the pile I was making as I moved beads to see what was underneath she said you have not gotten to see everything if you don't make a mess so have fun. Then she mentioned that all the gemstone beads where $5.00 a stand and keystone to everyone.

I had already found some nice garnet beads at the Ramada show but the ones here that caught my eye where 4mm round, then I noticed the very nice fresh water pearl strands. The amethyst were a great bold shade of purple so I picked out my favorite and home they went with me.

Echo Artworks, The Manning House Bead Show, Ballroom Booth SB477I - Echo Artworks, 626 N Callow Avenue, Bremerton, WA 98312 - Phone: 360-405-4341 Email:

After leaving there I wandered in the direction of the front door and found a room with some nice Indian artifacts though the conversation there between myself the girl working in that room and a pleasant man wearing several Indian artifacts of his own. We were discussing the fact that no matter which way you turned or what hall way you went down you could find more things. The girl said yes, way too many. The man said yes quite a variety to purchase. The girl laughed and said that's not funny, I am going to start a beaders anonymous as soon as this show is over, I knew I had to work this show for my boss so I left all my cash at home so I would not be tempted to spend any of it and brought just one credit card incase of an emergency. I said, knowing where she was going with this, o that was not good is the card maxed now. She laughed and said well first I borrowed money against my wages here thinking It would be ok I would just work for beads, then I started charging and I am afraid to call and see how closed to maxed out I am. Then she said a bit loudly this is an addiction it's worse than drinking or gambling, The man then gave a jolly laugh and said yes and minerals are just as bad we go in debt past our eyeballs for rocks, by this time I was laughing out loud and added so that's what is happening with all these ammonites I keep picking up. We then all agreed we need a rock hound collectors anonymous. I had enjoyed my day out at the bead show but thought it was getting late and I better find my way back since the week I was in Tucson it was unseasonably cold and got worse at night. I have to say that besides the long wait at the terminal for the bus change that my trip back was as easy as the one going, Bob called as I was on the bus ride back and met me at the stop so I didn't have to walk the last few blocks alone (really I think he just wanted to see how much I had bought)

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