Tucson Travel Diary

Poppy Topknots

Lion Pendant


I recently went to Tucson for a mother-daughter trip to catch the tail end of the famous Tucson Gem + Mineral Show. Each year, thousands of gem, mineral, jewelry and crafts vendors from all around the world descend on Tucson for three weeks of exhibitions. 


The Gem Show is made up of many different ‘smaller’ shows spread across the entire city. Arenas and tents the size of football fields are brimming with tables, overflowing with beads and stones. The infinite sea of color, texture and sparkle was mind-blowing. 



Fortunately, I had a specific shopping list in mind to keep myself focused. In just two days of attending, I discovered new materials from Ethiopia (opals), West Africa (recycled glass beads), Congo (malachite) and Pakistan (lapis). Just to name a few… 


I left with a gorgeous array of new beads and stones. Most importantly, I made relationships with vendors I trust. 


Cornflower Blue Topknots

This was my last trip before my baby girl arrives in early April. I considered it my “design/business babymoon.” Now that I’m back home, I’m busy prepping for her arrival -- mainly, getting my house (nesting mode!) and business in order before my maternity leave. 


As of now, I don’t have a lot of time to play with my brand new Gem Show findings for several weeks. Maybe this is ambitious, but I plan to make a few prototypes with the new beads when baby girl is napping! 


Poppy Topknots

Lion Pendant

Sage Topknots


Outside of the Gem Show, we had a wonderful time exploring Tucson. 

  • We went on a 5 mile hike in Sabino Canyon
  • After our hike, we had a nourishing, restorative vegan lunch at Lovin’ Spoonfuls
  • We visited the Desert Museum near Saguaro National Park. The cactus garden was my favorite. 
  • Enjoyed a drink at the charming Arizona Inn, which was just steps from our stunning Air B’n’B. 
  • We did a little vintage shopping in Tucson’s funky 4th Avenue neighborhood and rested for lunch at Tall Boys, an adorable diner.


 Babs Topknots