By Brecken Branstrator
brecken.branstrator@nationaljeweler.com
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Society has canceled its Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, held in the convention center, in 2021. (Image courtesy Tucson Gem and Mineral Society)
Tucson, Ariz.—The coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of most of the trade’s shows in 2020, and now the first signs of it affecting the Tucson gem shows has popped up.

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Society announced on its website Tuesday it has canceled its Tucson Gem and Mineral Show for 2021.

The public event is part of the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase, which occupies more than 50 venues across the city from mid-January through mid-February.

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, its main event, is held in the Tucson Convention Center. It is said to be the largest and oldest gem and mineral show in the world.

“We hoped and planned for the best during these difficult days of COVID-19, but find events have conspired to force us to the painful decision to take 2021 off and focus on bringing things back at a higher level in 2022,” organizers said in the announcement.

They cited the fact that the event is run largely by volunteers as one of the reasons for the cancellation, especially since many are in high-risk demographics.

“Consulting closely with the Pima County Health Department, the Mayor and City Manager’s offices and the good folks who run the TCC, it is clear that applying the mandated COVID-19 protocols to reduce risk would mean drastically restricted attendance and curtailment of many of our programs.”

Organizers also noted travel restrictions related to the crisis means many of the event’s major domestic and international exhibitors won’t be able to travel to Tucson at that time, eliminating the opportunity for many exhibitions and educational programs.


Rather than putting on an event that would be a fraction of the size and activity, they said, they have decided to save resources for the 2022 show.

According to the Arizona Department of Tourism, the overall Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase is the city’s largest tourism-related event and brings in about $130 million annually.

It’s unclear if the other events in the showcase will follow suit and cancel.

Nothing has yet been announced about the big trade-facing events either, like the American Gem Trade Association’s GemFair or the GJX show.

Neither organizer responded to a request for an update by press time, but AGTA sent out a buyer email survey this week to gauge interest in its 2021 Tucson show, and both shows still have the 2021 dates posted online.

Other big Tucson gem week events, like the Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show and JOGS, also still have 2021 dates scheduled, according to their websites.


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