History of the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show

History of the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show

Posted by OakRocks on 9th Mar 2017

If you are even remotely interested in collecting rocks and minerals, you have probably heard about the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show.  

Held every year for the last 60 years in beautiful Tucson, Arizona from the end of January to the middle of February, this show is the worlds largest display of all things rock, mineral, and lapidary related.

The very first Tucson Gem and Mineral show took place in March 1955.

It was held at the Helen Keeling Elementary School.  

It was just a small show put on by a local rock club of volunteers and rock collecting enthusiast.  The next year the show was moved to a Quonset hut at the Pima County Fair and Rodeo Grounds on South Sixth Ave, where it stayed until 1972.  

By 1960, the show had more than 25 dealers and boasted over 3500 visitors. 

In 1961 the Smithsonian Institute agreed to bring displays and participate in the show.  Also in 1961 the first "satellite" show started at the Holiday Inn South.   

By 1966 the TGMS (Tucson Gem & Mineral Show) Show Committee was formed and in 1972 the show was moved to the new Tucson Community Center, where it is still held to this day. 

As more "satellite' shows started up, the original show became know as the "Main Show" and though it is only held the last 4 days (always starting the second Thursday of February) it is known for its fantastic displays from the Smithsonian, the Carnegie, the Sorbonne, Faberge eggs, etc., and about 250 retail dealers.

Helped by its easy accessibility and wonderful weather Tucson grew and grew.  

In 2017 there was over 48 "satellite" shows, an estimated 3000 dealers and an estimated 55,000 visitors form all over the world. It is said the show brings about $120 million dollars worth of direct spending to the small town of Tucson.

2017 was another successful Gem and Mineral Show and now many of the largest dealers are actually establishing their own warehouse shows.  Next year we will be joining them!  We have purchased a warehouse on Lester St between JTI and Midwest Minerals.  We will bring you updates as we prepare for a fantastic 2018! 

Be safe and happy hunting!