Stunning Tucson Finds
Every February in Tucson, AZ, there is a takeover of the city by rock and gem enthusiasts from all over the world. I have witnessed this phenomenon many times and it never fails to be one of my most favorite experiences! There are about 50 different gem shows happening around the city. From mineral and fossil specimens to wholesale gem dealers to an African market filled with artwork and glass trade beads, there really is something for everyone. This year I spent a week going to the wholesale shows and bought some real beauties.
The gems are beautiful and inspiring, but the desert beauty is equally inspiring. This year I was able to take 2 side trips to towns near Tucson: Patagonia and Bisbee. I had been to both before but never for more than a day. My husband joined me for this part of the trip. We did a lot of hiking and exploring. Patagonia is an artsy little town between the Santa Rita mountains and the Patagonia mountains on Sonoita Creek. At 4,000 feet, it's a bit cooler here than other parts of the desert and the plant life is different. We hiked across rolling hills and grasslands, very unlike the Sonoran desert plant life in Tucson.
We then headed to Bisbee, an old mining town at an even higher elevation than Patagonia (5,538 feet!). This town was settled in 1880 as a mining town where silver, copper, and gold were mined. Also found here is a distinct turquoise variety that is pretty hard to come by these days, called Bisbee Blue. We spent a day hiking there, and then spent another day enjoying the history, shops, and restaurants before heading back to Tucson.
Getting out of the cold weather for a bit is nice, but the best part is hitting that reset button that allows you to sweep the cobwebs from your brain and escape your daily routine. I am happy to be home and to have all this new inspiration in the form of gemstones and desert beauty that I know will show up in my work. I have lots of plans for my new stones and can't wait to get going in the studio!