Tim Steller started his Sept. 1 column on “Threats to D-M are real, but there’s no need to panic” by mentioning the false rumor that the “annual gem and mineral shows ... are moving to Las Vegas.”
This concerns me. The Tucson public believes these rumors because it does not understand that the “shows” are a direct result of 60 years of hard work by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society. The society is a local organization (club, if you wish) for anyone interested in rocks, minerals, gems, fossils, geology and any related subject. It also puts on an annual show for the public.
The planning, organization and running of the show are done by society member volunteers. Let me reiterate: All the effort is put in by club members who are not paid professionals. The show committee, of which I am a member, works yearlong planning and coordinating all the functions of the show, which includes gem and mineral dealers, and, most important, exhibitors who range from local society members (amateur and professional collectors) to major worldwide museums and collections (for example, the Smithsonian, American Museum of Natural History, London Museum of Natural History, Mineralogical Museum of Moscow, Russia, and many, many more).
Education is a major function of the show, providing a variety of pertinent seminars by noted professionals in the field, hands-on demonstrations for children, and free organized school visits the Friday morning of the show.
This is the main show at the Tucson Convention Center, and it is the largest, most-imitated and most-respected show in the United States, if not the world.
All the other shows and dealers scattered throughout the other Tucson venues (hotels, motels, tents, etc.) are drawn to our city by our successful and world-acclaimed Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. They are from all over the world, are independent of the main show and would not congregate annually in Tucson without the worldwide reputation of our local society’s show.
We were the first show in Tucson and started the whole process 60 years ago. If any of the other 43 separate shows leave Tucson, we won’t, because our society is here in Tucson, and since it is the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society that produces the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (a registered trade name), it would be ludicrous, if not impossible, to hold it anywhere else.
Move to Las Vegas? Not in our lifetime. We are a Tucson society and live in Tucson and surrounding areas. We, as society volunteers, put on the show (Our 2014 theme is “Sixty Years of Diamonds, Gems, Silver and Gold”), and we are already working on plans for the 2015 show.
We are in Tucson to stay, and invite anyone interested in rocks and minerals, gems and lapidary, and any related field to join our society and attend our monthly meetings, field trips and educational classes, and enjoy camaraderie of like-minded “rockhounds.”