TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Dozens of gem and mineral shows kick off this weekend. Collectors from all over the world are in Tucson, ready to sell some semi-precious stones.
“It's who I am, without rocks, I’m like ‘What? That’s weird,’” said Michal Mael, CEO of Michal and Company.
Michal Mael started collecting semi-precious stones at the age of 11.
“When I was 11 years old, we did a raffle at the gem and mineral society and I won a little amethyst, the palest color in the world, and I was just dazzled by it,” Mael said.
Now, Mael is one of the top amethyst dealers in the country. She says one of her prized possessions is the largest twin geode in the world, an amethyst from Uruguay. It’s selling at 450,000 dollars.
“We bring in a lot from around the world, people fly in," Mael said. "For me, it's pretty much 80% of my annual income.”
More than 10,000 people are expected to stop by Mael’s tent at the Kino Gem and Mineral Show this weekend. She’s one of 90 vendors with tents set up at the Kino Sports Complex.
“There something here for everyone, this show is open to the public," said Jane Roxbury, Visit Tucson Director of Convention & Gem Show Services. "There’s gems, minerals, fossils, elsewhere. Buyers and browsers can find beads and findings.”
Outside of Kino, there are more than 40 gem and mineral shows throughout the city over the next two weeks. Roxbury says Visit Tucson has been planning this since last February.
“It’s such an incredible event for Tucson and it's the largest event of its kind in the world.”
Roxbury says the shows bring in around 65,000 visitors, with a total economic impact of 131 million dollars.
“It was just a group of rock collectors and now it sells out Tucson Convention Center,” Roxbury said.
A couple new things to note for this year: The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is back at the convention center after being cancelled last year. This is also the first year visitors can go to the Gem and Mineral Museum at the Pima County Courthouse.
For more information about the gem show, visit here.
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