Surviving Tucson Series #4: In the trenches at the Tucson bead show

Will you be the same?

Tucson: Down the rabbit hole

Walking the Tucson bead show is not for the faint of heart – it will definitely change how you see the world of beads and beading.  You will leave Tucson a different person.

“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir,’ said Alice, ‘Because I’m not myself you see.”

How do you stay on your feet and in the game?  In general you’ll want to Take care of yourself:  Drink lots of water, and remember snacks. You will be burning lots of energy. Which leads me to food: Checking out restaurants while walking around is a good idea. Take note of where they are and what they serve. There will be waits at lots of places, always have a back-up plan.

Five more things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t overbook yourself. There are lots of shows, and lots of people. You will have to find parking and wait for shuttles. Plan on being able to do 2-3 shows a day, you might be able to do 4 if they are smaller show.
  • There will always be really good sale prices, but if something seems ridiculously low you might not be getting what you think you are. Are you dealing with a vendor from a country where this particular stone is prevalent?
  • Sometimes the info you get from a vendor can be off. Sometimes it is just because they were given the wrong info themselves, sometimes it’s a language barrier, and yes once and a while they will lie to you (this doesn’t happen a lot, but is not unheard of).
  • A working knowledge of stones and gems is helpful. No one can know them all there are so many, but the more info you have the more you know what to look for. Stones can be dyed, or enhanced. For some people that’s no big deal, others might only want “natural” stones. It’s a personal choice, but knowing the difference can help you make a decision.
  • Never, ever lose sight of your money, it’s easy to get distracted and nothing will ruin your trip than losing your bead fund.

What is your best piece of advice while navigating the aisles of the Tucson bead show?


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