A long way from the jewelry workshops of Paris and the showrooms of the world’s most rarefied auction houses, a capital of sparkle has created in the American southwest.
Each winter, somewhere in the range of 65,000 guests descend on Arizona for the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase to appreciate and secure gleaming new pieces to light up their lives. With a great many vendors setting up shop and 50 separate shows around the city, it’s less a selective encounter than a cosmic jumble sale where nothing is excessively huge or too pompous to even consider catching someone’s eye; and nothing is too unordinary to even consider luring in inquisitive passers-by.
While diamonds and precious stones hold a position of honor, there’s no deficiency of oddities available to be purchased, from creature pelts and skulls to personalized rubber ducks. Through the span of a single day of the current year’s showcase, which ran from January 30 to February 14, photographer Daniel Arnold saw a $70,000 geode “the size of a Volkswagen Beetle,” a baby goat being led around a parking lot by a cowboy, and enough tie-dye to rival a Grateful Dead concert.
“A proper, polished gem show takes over the convention center, and the rest of the city becomes Its swap meet parking lot,” Arnold said. “It’s an idyllic post-apocalyptic scene, as a very fun version of the end of the world.”
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Sounder Mirror journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.