Events & Awards

6 Things to Know About the Second HardRock Summit

Events & AwardsAug 17, 2022

6 Things to Know About the Second HardRock Summit

The event will bring gems, minerals, and fossils under one roof from Sept. 8-11 in Denver.

The second HardRock Summit will be held Sept. 8-11 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
New York—The second HardRock Summit is coming up, an event that will bring plenty of gems, minerals, and fossils together under one roof.

Here are a few things to know about the upcoming event, slated for Sept. 8-11 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

1. The show floor is bigger.

This year’s HardRock Summit is nearly double the size it was last year.

In 2022, the HardRock Summit will occupy more than 310,000 square feet with more than 450 exhibitors, an increase from 190,000 square feet with 180 exhibitors in 2021.

2. Everything will be under the same roof this year.

Whereas last year the show took place at the Colorado Convention Center and the nearby Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, this year organizers are bringing everything together at the convention center.

It will house the “Evolution” section, for fine minerals and fossils, in the Four Seasons Ballroom; “Sparkle & Joy,” for fine gemstones and jewelry in the adjacent Mile High Ballroom; the Denver Gem & Mineral Show in the 200 block meeting rooms; and the LLD Denver Mineral Hall in the 100 block meeting rooms.

3. There are plenty of new players in 2022. 

In addition to AGTA GemFair Denver coming back—the organization has signed a multi-year agreement with the show and will again be a part of Sparkle & Joy—HardRock will welcome the LLD Denver Mineral Hall for the first time this year, featuring gems, minerals, fossils, jewelry, beads, décor, and metaphysical products.

Associations at the event for the first time are the International Gemological Institute, Gem Legacy, Accredited Gemologist Association, American Gem Society, Gemworld International, and National Association of Jewelry Appraisers.

The International Colored Gemstone Association will also have a presence at the show this year, with ICA exhibitors and a lounge included in the Sparkle & Joy section of the show. 

Meanwhile, notable new exhibitors include Aaron Faber Gallery and Willow Diamonds in Sparkle & Joy, as well as Artistry Ltd. and Dorian & Rose, both in the AGTA GemFair Denver section of Sparkle & Joy.

4. A special exhibit will highlight historic gold treasures. 

This year’s special displays all share one theme: gold.

Individual specimens and collections from leading museums and private collectors will be on display alongside the Somewhere in the Rainbow collection of modern jewelry and faceted and carved gemstones.

Two highlights of the exhibit will be “The Dragon,” the world’s most valuable crystallized gold specimen from the Museum of Natural Science in Houston (pictured below), and the “Ram’s Horn” from Harvard’s Mineralogical & Geological Museum.

“The Dragon” features gold on quartz. It came from the Colorado Quartz Mine in California and is housed at Houston’s Museum of Natural Science.
“The Dragon” features gold on quartz. It came from the Colorado Quartz Mine in California and is housed at Houston’s Museum of Natural Science.

Another big attraction will be gold treasures discovered in two famous sunken ships, the S.S. Central America and the S.S. Islander.

The S.S. Central America, or the “ship of gold,” sank off the coast of South Carolina in 1857 during a hurricane.

It was carrying 425 people and several tons of gold bars and coins from the California Gold Rush.

The wreck was rediscovered in 1988, starting a long battle for the rights of the retrieved gold artifacts.

The S.S. Islander, meanwhile, sunk in 1901 off the coast of Alaska after striking an iceberg, taking with it a rather large load of gold bullion from the Klondike gold fields.

It was recovered in 1996, and also saw several years of legal battles.

5. Education sessions are returning.

The summit will host a series of educational lectures, with topics including gemology, mineralogy, and the featured special exhibits.

One session will dive (no pun intended) into the discovery of the S.S. Central American’s sunken treasure by Chief Research Scientist Bob Evans and Collection Manager Fred Holabird, president and CEO of Holabird Western Americana Collections LLC.

Additional presenters at the summit are Raquel Alonzo-Perez of the Mineralogical and Geological Museum at Harvard University; Robert Gessner, geologist and gemologist; Bruce Bridges of Bridges Tsavorite; fancy colored natural diamond specialist Brian Denney of Gems of Note; and Kerry Gregory, founder of Gemmology Rocks.

More presentations will be announced in the future.

6. Attendance is once again open to all.

The event will again be open to both the trade and the public.

Admission is free for qualified trade show professionals and buyers, while a $10 admission fee will be required for the public, who will have access to the full show floor except for AGTA GemFair Denver.

Badges will be color-coded so exhibitors are able to distinguish between trade members and the public.

Industry professionals can get their tickets here.

For more information about the event, visit

 Related stories will be right here … 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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