You’d be hard-pressed to find someone in Western Canada who knows more about gems and crystals than Lisa Tjaden of Radiance Gifts. Fresh off her annual pilgrimage to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, Lisa’s latest finds have started to arrive at her shop at 875 Corydon Ave.
The official opening of the 62nd annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show kicked off in January and ran until the end of February. Thousands of vendors, importers and collectors from around the world set up shop in hotel rooms and parking lots across the city. They convert their hotel beds into displays of rare geological finds as shoppers and visitors weave in and out of rooms and walk past of rows of products that line hallways. Nearly 250 vendors set up and show their samples at the Tucson Convention Centre alone.
“It’s the biggest, and I think the most popular, show for gems and minerals,” said Tjaden who has owned and operated Radiance Gifts for the past ten years. Radiance Gifts has four certified crystal healers on staff and has become the leading authority in Western Canada. “People come from all over the world to have access to some of the beautiful pieces in Tucson.”
The event started in a garage 61 years ago as an event for local mineral, gem and fossil enthusiasts and has since grown into the world’s largest show. The event at the Tucson Convention Center each February usually has one lavish and alluring attraction. As an example, Fabiano Vasconcelos came to this year’s event from Brazil with a 2-pound, $35,000 emerald cluster and thousands of other pieces, including quartz and crystals.
One year, it was a large, multi-million-dollar, uncut diamond that drew spectators and security galore. Other events featured the Hope Diamond and rocks collected from the surface of the moon. Last year, the Post Diamond Tiara, made of more than 1,000 diamonds in the 19th century, was on display.
This year, the mainstay will be an art deco bracelet on loan from the Smithsonian Institute. The bracelet has 626 diamonds, 73 emeralds, 48 sapphires, 20 rubies and four citrines and is embellished with figures of a hunter on horseback and another hunting a lion.
Unfortunately, Tjaden didn’t return with the Hope Diamond this year but she has brought back some amazing pieces. Pink Fluorite, BumbleBee Jasper, Chrysanthemum Stones and Smithsonite are just a few of the rare finds that Lisa has brought back.
“We’ve been doing this for the last ten years, but there’s always something exciting and new that we’ve never discovered before.