Tucson wraps up the gem and mineral showcase - Tucson News Now

Tucson wraps up the gem and mineral showcase

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The 2014 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show officially came to an end on Sunday.

For the last few weeks, the buzz around town has been about gems, minerals and fossils.

But now, the doors were closed and workers began the laboring task of taking down the many stand and tents that had filled downtown Tucson.

Yet, even as vendors packed away and headed home, there was work already happening for 2015. Focus was already turning to next year.

Paul Harter, Chair of the event  talked with excitement about what is in store for the year to come.

"We have our show theme: ‘Minerals of West Europe,'" Harter said. "West Europe really was the birth place of mineralogy as we know it today."

Randy Gneiteing, is a vendor from Montana Gem who has been coming to Tucson for about 30 years He shared Harter's passion for the event.

"This typically is our best show of the year," Gneiteing said. "You know every show is different and every day of the show is different."

This show seems to have been a particular success. Harter was pleased with improvement.

"Through Saturday night, we know that we've had just over 14,000 people," Harter said. This is a fifteen percent jump in attendance from last year.

Local jewelry designer Erick Stewart said he noticed the increase in traffic.

"Wonderful! It's the best show I've ever had," Stewart said. "I have a lot of repeat customers that are coming through here and it's great to see their faces. They've become my collectors so they're always seeing what's new and what's different."

And around town, more than forty shows making up the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase also wrapped up. Many sellers were already signing up for next year. 22nd Street Gem and Mineral Show organizers said they were already fifty percent booked for 2015.

From the Tucson Convention Center to the many shows around Town the attitude was the same as Harter's was: "It really will be a great show in 2015."

Visit Tucson, the local visitor's bureau, is conducting a survey this year to see just how much the gem shows around town contribute to the local economy. In the past, the estimate was as much as $100,000,000.    

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