Tucson Gem & Mineral Hot Spots:
Gem Shops, Mining Tours, Museums, Bead Classes and More
Each February Tucson is home to the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase, the largest gem and mineral show in the nation. However, there are plenty of other ways to appreciate gems the rest of the year in Tucson.
Whether you like to learn about the history of gems and fossils or you are looking to create unique jewelry and beadwork, Tucson’s got you covered.
University of Arizona Mineral Museum
The UofA Mineral Museum has a huge collection of minerals and meteorites divided into roughly ten major exhibits, with a variety of new and rotating exhibits that occur throughout the year. The collection is world-wide in scope, but with specific emphasis on minerals from Arizona and Mexico.
The museum has been around since 1919, and a portion of the mineral collection dates back to 1892. According to the museum website, “Since its conception, the museum has accumulated over 19,000 mineral specimens in the main collection and over 7,000 in the micromount collection. The collection currently represents 1,561 different species with over 2,000 minerals presently on display.”
The museum is open 7 days a week except major holidays and tickets can be purchased at the front desk. Here is the museum’s information:
The University of Arizona Mineral Museum
1601 E. University Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85719
Tucson, Arizona is full of mining history. Experience it for yourself by taking an exciting tour through a variety of active and inactive mines. Here is a list of some of the best mining spots in and around town.
Morenci Copper Mine
Address: 4521 North US Highway, Morenci, AZ 85540
Ghost Towns of Harshaw, Mowry, Washington Camp, and Duquesne
Address: Off Hwy 82 near Patagonia, AZ 85624
Black Hills Rockhound Area
Address: North side of Arizona route 191, between Safford and Clifton, about 18 miles north of Safford, Safford, AZ 85546
Phone: (602) 428-4040
Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum
Address: 5 Copper Queen Plaza, Bisbee, AZ 85603
ASARCO Mineral Discovery Center
Address: 1421 W. Pima Mine Rd. (I-19, exit 80), Sahuarita, AZ 85629
Phone: (520) 625-8233
Local Gem Shops and Authentic Work
Many artists live in Tucson specifically so they can use the natural resources of our desert to create jewelry, home décor, garden art and more. Plan a weekend to visit these unique studios; you won’t be disappointed. Be sure to ask the store owner about the artist and history of the pieces on display. Here’s where you can find these beautiful shops and art studios:
Arizona Lapidary & Gem Rough, Inc.
Address: 4699 E. Pima St., Ste. 101, Tucson, AZ 85712
Phone: (520) 399-6641
Mac’s Indian Jewelry, Inc.
Address: 2400 E. Grant Rd., Tucson, AZ 85719
Morning Star Traders, Inc.
Address: 2020 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85719
Tucson Mineral and Gem World
Address: 2801 S. Kinney Rd., Tucson, AZ 85735
Phone: (520) 883-0682
Beads and Jewelry Classes
Last but certainly not least on our list of ways to get your gem and mineral fix in Tucson, is jewelry and bead classes. There is a bead mega-store that houses everything you could possibly need to bead. They have a huge showroom with beads from around the world. Call them to find out current class schedules.
A Bead Carnival
3301 E. Pennsylvania St.
Tucson, AZ 85714
Phone: (520) 696-9490
So there you have it. Now get out there and explore the beautiful world of gems and minerals in Tucson, Arizona.
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