Jewelry Navigator

My Jewelry Discoveries from the Tucson, New York, and Baltimore Shows

March 11, 2020

Welcome back to Jewelry Navigator Podcast!

It's been a few weeks since I last published a podcast episode and the last one was the pre-departure for my Tucson trip and that was in February.


We're rolling into the second week of March, and I wanted to catch you up on what and who I saw in  Tucson.


You can follow along with my Instagram feed as I’ve posted support content that will coordinate with the podcast.


Another thing I want to mention that I'm creating, I'm really excited about, it's sort of like a magazine feature that will be on a devoted page to the Tucson show. I started to create a new category on my website which will be devoted to shows and the designers that I meet and feature from the shows.




02:16 So let's get busy! If you're unfamiliar with what trade shows are for the jewelry industry, they're essentially the same as trade shows and conferences are to every other industry in that they offer a lifeline through which industries can learn the latest advancements and shop the latest products within their industry.


While the cost to attend or exhibit and an is an investment of time and money, trade shows are still a really good way to form a nurture relationships with industry peers and specialists.


I've had the privilege of meeting and getting to know gem and jewelry specialists and by attending these shows and conferences, mostly trade shows. Now the trade shows can be divided in a couple of different ways.


Many trade shows exclusively serve businesses in the trade, so you have to have a business or a business license in order to shop wholesale from these trade shows.


Some of the shows that I attended in Tucson are open to the public, so it's not necessary to have a business license to attend these shows.


Although if you want the, if you want the benefit of being able to shop at a wholesale price, then you have to have a resale license or own a business.


03:48 Okay. Onto my adventures in Tucson!

Tucson, Arizona becomes a Mecca for gem, mineral and jewelry fanatics collectors and buyers.


They all show up in Tucson anywhere from mid January through mid February and the entire downtown region transforms into a blanket of white event tents along with hotels that had been converted into venues for gem and jewelry vendors and a little bit of history for you.


The Tucson gem and mineral show began in 1955 originally it was held and an elementary school and the show was established by the Tucson gem and mineral society. But in 1973 it got too big, so they had to move it to the Tucson community center and by now it's basically taken over the city.


04:54 This was my second year attending the shows in Tucson and after establishing relationships in the past year with a few select designers who were attending Tucson, and also a couple of shows in New York at the New York now show, my focus was narrowed to supporting these designers who were exhibiting in these shows.


If you've been listening to jewelry navigator podcast, you know the dynamics and the purpose of why I share the stories of the designers and the gem information is because I want to bring an awareness and an education that these designers exist and that there are different kinds of gemstones that you can work with and select for jewelry.


I'm always always about supporting the small designer who is doing something different and unique for those people who do want to stand out.


And whenever I can, I visit the designers and feature them on the podcast. And most of the designers that I have featured on the podcast I've ever met, met them at a show or knew them before I started the podcast. So it's just been a delight to share their stories through through the past couple of years. And with this being international women's day just yesterday, but also celebrating it through the month of March. I just want to share a gratitude for the women designers who I have featured on the podcast and you can go through and listen to past episodes. I'm not going to list everybody now because there are close to 70 podcasts now and most of them have had guests and actually most of them have been women.




8:10 The first show I attended while in Tucson was the Select Show at the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa.




Debra Navarro


Debra Navarro exhibited at both the Select Show, February 2-3, and the JCK Tucson Show at the JW Marriott Starr Pass, February 5-8.


Debra is always a delight to visit, and is as brilliant and beautiful as the gemstones she selects for her unique jewelry.



On her table, were small white dishes filled with rough gemstones that looked like a courtesy offering of candy to guests.


While Debra’s jewelry is colorful and beautiful, part of her jewelry’s story is all about how the rough gems she uses are traceable, and how they support the people and communities at the sources.


For more on Debra’s exclusive features during my visit in Tucson 2020, visit Jewelry Navigator, and you can visit her website directly at Debra Navarro.

Debra was my guest last year on Jewelry Navigator Podcast in a double episode!





Mary van der Aa


10:30   The second show I attended was the Pueblo Show at the Ramada on Cushing Street to see Mary van der Aa and Todd Wacks of Tucson Todd’s Gems.


I remember first meeting Mary van der Aa and Todd Wacks in 2019 at the Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show, and how excited I was to find them!


I first learned about Mary in Southern Jewelry News in a story about how she created a pageant crown using precious metal and gemstones. While meandering the Ramada hotel grounds where the Pueblo show takes place, I realized Mary van der Aa was exhibiting her jewelry with Tucson Todd’s Gems, and was beyond thrilled!


This year, I did an extensive story with Mary and Todd, and will be releasing it in parts through the next few months as I follow them through their show tour across the country.


All of the stones she uses are fascinated by Todd.


In the webpage dedicated to Mary’s Tucson story on Jewelry Navigator, she shares the story of how Todd found a very rare and limit variety of color change garnet, called pastel pyrope.

Seriously, it's one of the most unique things I've ever seen!



Dana Busch Designs


And the last designer that I supported and did a showcase or some stories on was Dana Bush of Dana Bush designs.


Dana exhibited at the JCK Tucson show, February 5th through 8th. Unfortunately, I had to leave the morning of the fifth to get back to Virginia, so I did as much as I could that morning and I'm so glad I did.


I got a fabulous video of her explaining how she works with her clients, which is really unique and the stones that she uses for her jewelry are just fabulous!


Her artistic superpower is selecting gem materials and metals to compliment or contrast the central stones of her designs and her jewelry.


They often reflects inspiration of nature's landscapes from deserts, mountains, and seaside.


Dana has been featured in several fashion editorial publications as well as recognized as one of 10 standout designers at the 2020 JC K Tucson show.


I was so excited for Dana. She did great and every time I was around her booth she was surrounded by curious people who were so excited to see her, her jewelry and some of the words I kept hearing from attendees were,  “This is so different. It's so unusual. It's so unique”, and what's really cool besides being such a wonderful person that Dana is, is that she will customize collections for you, whether your’re a direct to consumer interest or a store.


If you have a specific color scheme that you want to work with. She will work around that and create beautiful jewelry creations, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, but her specialty are earrings and necklaces. You can hear more about Dana's story on Jewelry Navigator Podcast.



Remote Coverage of NY Now Show


While I was in Tucson, I wanted to support a couple of the designers that I featured on the podcast who were exhibiting and showing in New York at the New York now show, one of whom is Pam Waill.


Pam is the creative force and genius of joyful organic elegance that is Petite Baleine Jewelry.


Her collections are delightful and are unexpected combinations of gems, pearls, metal, and materials that can seamlessly transform from casual coffee to date night out on the city.


Pam exhibited at the New York now show in luxury lifestyle and she graciously shared a wonderful video of her booth so I could be there as well. I've created show pages for each of the designers under a sub category.


On my website there is a menu that you can pull down and it's under shows, jewelry shows, and then it has to sawn and you can find each designer has a highlighted separate page.



Elizabeth Moore


Elizabeth Moore creates jewelry inspired by her southern roots, but grounded by direction in the Big Apple.

Her collections share symbols that celebrate reminders of inner strength using ethically sourced gems, like Montana sapphires, Kingsman, turquoise, pretty pink Opal set in repurposed 18kt gold. ⁣

You can find Elizabeth at and on Instagram @elizabethmoorenyc




Tracy Trainor


The last designer that I featured and talked about (and wore) in Tucson was Tracy Trainor.


While Tracy lives and creates her jewelry in Dublin, Ireland, she was with me in jewelry spirit in Tucson!


Tracy captures subtle movement in nature or animals through her jewelry, and how she interprets it with her wax carving, to the finish and how the textures are positioned.

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