/ Modified feb 4, 2022 12:19 p.m.

Thousands of people return to Southern Arizona for gem shows

The Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase is attracting national and international crowds.

Showcase 2022 - Quartz sphere People are returning to Arizona for the 2022 Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase after many people cancelled or postponed their travel plans in 2021 due to coronavirus concerns.
Tony Paniagua/AZPM

Many of the 2021 Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase's activities were cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus, but this year much of the luster has returned.

Thousands of dealers, exhibitors and visitors have been visiting southern Arizona since late January and many will be exploring, buying or selling their unique wares until mid February.

Showcase 2022 -  Dealer Jeffrey Berk shows off a Colombian quartz crystal to visitors at the 2022 Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase after many people cancelled or postponed their travel plans in 2021 due to coronavirus concerns.
Tony Paniagua/AZPM

The showcase is the collective name for various shows which are dispersed throughout the community.

These include the Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show, where Florida-based Jeffrey Berk is exhibiting sparkling South American specimens at the Ramada Wyndham Hotel on Cushing Street just west of I-10.

Showcase 2022 - Amethyst This bright amethyst from Bolivia is one of three large pieces, weighing 1,500 pounds or more, that dealer Jeffrey Berk is exhibiting in 2022.
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"I'm showing Bolivian amethysts and I have some amazing quartz crystal that was mined accidentally while discovering gold in Boyacá, Colombia," he says.

The main attraction, he adds, are the three large clusters of amethyst from the Anahi Mine in Bolivia.

"Some of the individual points are up to eight inches across within the mass itself."

Berk says the clusters weigh 1,682 pounds, 1,600 pounds and 1,500 pounds and it cost thousands of dollars to transport them from their native home in Bolivia to Miami, FL and then to Tucson.

Showcase 2022 - Amazonite The green amazonite are part of the 2022 Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase which is seeing an increase in visitors after coronavirus concerns in 2021.
Tony Paniagua/AZPM

The Arizona Department of Tourism estimates the economic impact from the annual event is more than $100 million, and Berk is not surprised.

Not even counting the cost of their natural treasures, he says dealers can spend tens of thousands of dollars on storage, transportation, lodging, exhibition spaces and other needs.

Showcase 2022 -  Pink Rock People are returning to Arizona for the 2022 Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase after many people cancelled or postponed their travel plans in 2021 due to coronavirus concerns.
Tony Paniagua/AZPM

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