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Rodeway Inn, More Along the Strip
Thursday February 1st - The weather was rainy and sometimes windy today with a high of 62 degrees.

It rained for the first time in quite awhile last night and it looked like it might be clearing when I took this picture of the Rodeway Inn courtyard at mid-morning. The Rodeway has one of the Gem and Lapidary Wholesalers shows, and today was the last day of the "Jump Start" show, which started on January 28th. All of the rooms around the courtyard are full of bead, gem and jewelry dealers and wholesalers and their wares.

The first area at this show that I checked out was a big tent on the west side of the motel. Here's a view down one of the isles. It was a beader's heaven, with table after table of beads, beads and more beads. Beads of every type from all over the world. The guys in the foreground were loading a table with strands of large, interesting, African looking beads as I took this shoot.

When I began to exhibit an interest in them, one of them came up and informed me it would cost $100 to take a picture of their beads. I'm afraid that was one photo opportunity I just had to pass on. Turns out they were from L.A...

Bead dealers being in no shortage, I wandered the isles a little until I found fellow Tucsonan, Michael Rollins, minding booth #65 for his enterprise, Venetian Traders. Michael is a mail order wholesaler of fancy Italian glass beads. All of Michael's beads are handmade by skilled artisans who have spent many years learning this specialized trade. I'm afraid I'm just not a beader. However, I'll have to admit I found the explanations Michael offered concerning the manufacturing processes that were used to achieve some of the fancy patterns and effects to be interesting. Michael had quite an assortment. The most expensive beads he had at his booth went for $12 apiece.

Next I checked out a large building on the south side of the Rodeway and found many more bead, gem, and jewelry booths. Here's a view down one of the isles. I wandered around in here for a little bit and just happened to notice these really flashy spiders at booth #38, Shawnae Collections. This business wholesales quality fashion jewelry, and they have several really great spiders! This one was about 3" in diameter and made from Swarvoski crystal glass. Owner Elizabeth St. John was very helpful in facilitating this shot of it. Now, is this a an appropriate WWW spider for the Tucson Show or what? $27. I had to get out of there before I bought one.

I poked around a few of the rooms at the Rodeway and found Room 168 loaded with turquoise nuggets, strands, carvings and rough, as well as lots of turquoise Indian jewelry. There was considerable traffic in this room while I was there, and it looked like it was going to be a good show for the Sunshine Turquoise Company. They was no shortage of nuggets to high grade in this room.

Turns out it wasn't clearing up and the storm closed back in while I was traveling from the Rodeway to the Congress Street Expo, which was housed in a number of tents set back on Congress Street, several blocks from the strip along I-10.

Here's a view down one of the isles of the main tent at the Congress Street Expo. This tent had a real smorgasbord of offerings... minerals, rough, beads, leather goods, knives, and lots of lapidary work. There were a number of smaller tents and stalls set up around the main tent, although many of them were closed and covered while I was there due to the storm.

There were numerous lapidary equipment manufacturers and dealers at this location, some of who were giving demos on their equipment. Here a rockhound does a little trial polishing on a Hi-Tech Diamond Lapidary Work Station.

There were many machines, equipment, books and lots of lapidary supplies on display in this area of the main tent at the Expo.

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