Every year, the jewelry industry descends upon Tucson, Arizona for the most popular trade show in our industry. Tucson is host to 58 different gem and mineral shows during January and February (at last count) and to say the experience is amazing is simply a gross understatement.

I remember the first time I attended the AGTA show (AGTA or American Gem Trade Association is the "Big Kahuna" of the shows and requires proper credentials to attend). I was a student studying gemology at GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and we were granted student access to get our first taste of the big boys and girls of colored stones. My good friend Nancy and I hopped in her car and crossed the desert from San Diego and what an oasis we found at our destination!

Diamonds get big press. Thank you DeBeers. And although I certainly love my fine diamonds, there is a certain magic to seeing a colored gem when it has intense saturation of color, an excellent cut, and a crystal clear structure. As with diamonds, the quality scale of colored gems is vast, but when you see those stones that are handled properly, they sing to you.

That's what happened yesterday. I am happy to report to Geneva (owner of Lauderhills) that she properly corrupted me. She taught me to see the best of the best and I had to laugh a little yesterday as I was perusing the sea of booths searching for gems on our list. I would scan the case and when I was ready to ask to see certain stones, time after time, my first pick was the finest specimen in the case... Lord help my future husband ;)

My favorite piece yesterday was an oval cabochon sitting on a small black velvet pad. This little green stone was no larger than my fingernail, but it was yummy. The green color was intense and inviting, mesmerizing me with it's glowing warmth. Imperial Jade. Many call their jade imperial, but once you see the real deal, you will feel to your core the difference. I asked the price... a cool $200,000. I asked if he had a second one to match. He laughed. One day, I thought. One day.