Cross Cultural Creations Brings Hill Tribe Designs to Tucson

As testament to the incredibly wide variety of exhibitors hosted at the Tucson Expo Center by JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show, we found a dealer here with a gorgeous selection of tribal jewelry as well as their own line of tribal inspired jewelry. This was a delight to find among all of the gems and beads and contemporary designs which are the stock in trade of JOGS.

Cross Cultural Creations, and its two principals Ben Chaffee and Alex Zinn, are only 3 years old as a business concern, but their wares are ‘as old as the hills’ one might say. When I had a chance to chat with Mr. Chaffee, he explained to me the inspiration for their designs come from the centuries-old traditions of the Hmong peoples, as well as some of the other regional hill-tribes in Southeast Asia.

Leading me to one side of their exhibitor booth, Mr. Chaffee described trips to the hinterlands of Laos and Thailand in search of the region’s traditional jewelry, and explained the appeal the pieces hold for visitor’s at the show, “It is not only the design itself that seems to attract the attention of buyers, but the materials as well. There is a certain tone to the metal—it is 30-40 percent silver, the rest being mostly copper—that gives a timeless look that seems to have a great appeal.” The next table over abounded with Cross Cultural Creations’ own unique designs, many of which are inspired directly by traditional Hmong style; others feature the materials native to the region combined with contemporary western sensibilities.

Gesturing to an interesting necklace of silvery feathers, Mr Chaffee explained that the wholesale buyers have been buying mostly necklaces “Like this one, which is actually zinc, a nice alternative to sterling at this time when everyone is conscious of cost; it has the great look, but at much less than you’d normally expect to spend. With a price point of about $20 it has probably been our best selling piece this year. Our bracelets from the Hmong people themselves have also been great sellers, and at about $100 to $150 each, they’re really going great.”

While this is only their first time at JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show, or attending TGMS, they are already planning their return next year. “Vitaliy (Maysenberg) has really done a great job of promoting this show, and we’ve done great business, we’re definitely looking at coming back next year.”

You can find out more about this exhibitor at their website– or by finding them on Facebook.

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Amy Simon Jewelry – What’s popular this year?

For the past 7 years, one of my favorite exhibitors has graced the halls of JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show with their beautiful and sophisticated lines of jewelry. With their classic 18kt and diamond jewelry, and the stunning South Seas pearls, there is no mistaking Amy Simon with any other exhibitor at the show.

For 28 years, Los Angeles, CA based Simon Cheng, and his lovely wife, have been presenting jewelry that can’t be described as anything but beautiful. It is no wonder that they have developed a following which returns year after year to see their latest offerings.

When asked about which items are most popular this year, Mr. Cheng responded ‘Pearls, especially the white pearls from the South Seas, are the most popular gem this year. Some years, we sell more cut gemstones, or diamond rings, but this year it is the white pearls.’

Has there been a change in business over the last few years for Amy Simon?
‘We have not noticed too many new buyers this year, but we are very happy to say that many of our clients from before keep coming back to JOGS, so things have not slowed down for us too much.’

- James S.

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Five Star Gems brings Alexandrite from India to Tucson Gem Show

Five Star Gems AlexandriteWhen you spend your professional life surrounded by beautiful gems and jewelry, it is all too easy to get a little jaded (sorry for the pun). What might draw ‘Ooohs’ and ‘Aaahs’ in any other circumstances, can begin to bring just a raised eyebrow, if even that. So, like the many thousands from around the world who flock to Tucson for the annual Tucson Gem &Mineral Show, I keep my eyes peeled for the unique or the extraordinary.

Luckily, this year I found a number of rare, unusual and exotic stones in tucked away corners of the show. One of the exhibitors in one of these corners this year is Ikram Ahmed from Five Star Gems who is exhibiting at the end of one of the grand halls of JOGS Gem & Jewelry show. What’s so special about this exhibitor’s offerings? Well, he has some excellent examples of a pretty rare stone sourced in an unexpected place—Alexandrite from India; and boy, is it nice!

I took a few minutes of Mr. Ahmed’s time, and asked him about his gems, and will share with you what I learned from him.

High Quality Alexandrite PileFound only in small pockets, veins and mines of Alexandrite being nearly unheard of, the beautiful gems Mr. Ahmed brings to Tucson are sourced by his buyers from small villages in rural India. Rarely measuring more than a few carats in size “Larger stones are too rare, no one finds large 10 carat Alexandrite of good quality.” Even though they have been known for about 400 years now, and deposits outside of Russia have been found in Brazil, and more recently in India, this is one of the rarer stones available on the market.

These wonderful stones exhibit the green to red shift characteristic of the dichroic Alexandrite; which is the trait which draws so much interest to them. It was explained to me that the percentage of change, whether it be 20% or 90% was one of the most important aspects of this precious gem, and that care should be taken when examining them under different lights. High Quality Alexandrite “White light will show off the green color, which should be a deep green with some browns or reddish tints. These other colors will help you determine how much ‘shift’ will occur when you look at the stone under yellow light or in sunlight. When away from white light, you want to look for bright flashes of red, and a nice overall reddish tint to the stone.”

As the conversation turned to valuing the stones, and insuring that the buyer or designer doesn’t overpay, some guidelines from Mr. Ahmed were very helpful. For ‘average’ stones, that is stones with a 20-35% shift in colors, weighing less than 3 carats, you should expect to pay between $3-500 per carat. Higher quality stones, those with say, 80-90% shift in color are much more dear, with 1 carat stones fetching about $3,500 a carat, 3-4 carat stones bringing $7,000 per carat, and nearly unheard of 10 carat and higher stones bringing $15,000 per carat or better due to their rarity.

- James S.

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JOGS Celebrating its 10th anniversary

With the almost overwhelming number of venues that make

up Tucson’s annual Gem and Mineral Society’s huge event, it’s almost easy to forget that each one represents another independent show-within-a-show. One of the largest is celebrating its 10th anniversary—JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show 2013, promoted and organized by Vitaliy Mayzenberg.

Located near Palo Verde and Irvington Road, near the interchange for Interstate 10, JOGS Gem & Jewelry is hosted within the Tucson Expo Center, a sprawling indoor space with four distinct wings and ballrooms; all situated on 25 acres of property and parking. Over the last 10 years, the Expo Center’s General Manager Scott Gardner has been instrumental in helping Vitaliy and Irene Mayzenberg realize their vision of creating a truly international show featuring buyers, designers and manufacturers from around the world; catering to the wholesale buyer who is looking for the best and latest in international jewelry trends.

Fortunately for Tucson, and all involved, each year sees that dream coming closer to fruition; and this year-their 10th anniversary demonstrates very well how Mr. Mayzenberg’s vision is nearing reality.

To help understand the appeal of the show, for both buyers and exhibitors, and how the envisioned growth has taken place; I spoke to several buyers and to a few exhibitors. Their reasons for returning year after year are sometimes surprising, but in the end, boil down to the essentials of good business.

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$10,000 Drawing at the JOGS SuperStart Pavilion

JOGS SuperStart Pavilion – Located in the South Hall of the Tucson Expo CenterFor our 10 year anniversary, JOGS Show is launching a New SuperStart pavilion that starts at the same time as main JOGS Show under the same roof in South Hall of the Tucson Expo Center.

Don’t miss this 4 day only pavilion with unique exhibitors showcasing fine jewelry, cut stones, artisan silver, ethnic jewelry, fashion jewelry and more. Meet international exhibitors you have never met in the U.S. before!!! Buyers can enter the SuperStart pavilion through South Hall with separate registration area and come into the main show with the same badge.

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Contact Us:

Address: 3750 E. Irvington Rd., Tucson, AZ 85714
Billing Agent: 650 South Hill Street, Suite 513
Los Angeles, CA 90014, USA
Phone: (213) 629-3030
Fax: (213) 629-3434
Toll Free: 1-877-GEM-SHOW

JOGS Show:

JOGS International Exhibits, LLC
3750 E.Irvington Road
Tucson, AZ 85714