Where: Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave., downtown.
What: Everything about this show says "Important." It starts when you walk the top floor's gauntlet of industry representative tables, such as the Cultured Pearl Association of America, Jewelers Board of Trade, American Gem Society, Jewelers of America, American Society of Appraisers, Tanzanite Foundation, and International Colored Gem Stone. Also lining the long Convention Center hallway are blown-up photographs of beautiful jewelry and gemstones. On this same level is the Designer Jewelry Pavilion, where pieces are selling for thousands each, and where a dutiful attendant scans the barcode on your buyer's badge. Then, when you take the escalator or stairs down to the main exhibit hall downstairs, it's quiet; the rows are for strolling, and there's plenty of mental and physical space for the buyers. Along the main walk way the show has park benches, replete with a real ficus benjaminus at every bench (2009 note: did not see these this year). Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, oh my! A pearl necklace for $3900. A great show to visit if you're in the market for this level of gems and jewelry.
There's another exhibition hall for gem-cutting and jewelry-making supplies, along with other jewelry and loose-gem exhibitors. (2009 note: this exhibition had fewer vendors than last year.)
Inside or Out: Inside.
Tips: If you park at the Convention Center lot to catch shuttle rides to other shows, then you should take time to see this show also.
Parking: Ample, at the Convention Center; you'll probably have to pay unless you can find a meter (less) or go on Saturday or Sunday when meters are free.
Food: In the main exhibition hall you'll find Oy Vey Cafe, a sandwich and dog concession, and a Mexican food concession. There's also a Martini bar!
Rest rooms: Ample, inside the Convention Center.
2011 dates: Tuesday, February 1st through Sunday, February 6th.
Show hours: February 1st through the 5th, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; last day, the 6th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Double check their website below for up to the minute changes in the times to avoid disappointment.
Shuttle routes: Ruby/Emerald/Citrine/Tanzanite/Copper/Amber.
For additional information: www.agta.org.