TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It is a glittering event that adds some real shine to Tucson's reputation and economy: The annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase.
The official Gem and Mineral Show will be mid-February at the Tucson Convention Center but there's a lot going on at hotels and exhibit halls all over the area.
It's a huge opportunity for gem and mineral dealers, and an opportunity for people looking for work.
With tons of beautiful items to set up for exhibitors, there's a lot of work with the dozens of shows.
Walter Martinez says he got his first job helping exhibitors set up 13 years ago.
"It's about trust. A lot of people, they take things without asking and I work for probably 10 different vendors and I've done real well and I get people to work for some of these guys. They come and ask me."
Workers here say for Gem Show jobs, show up, and convince vendors you're an honest, hard worker.
A lot of these businesses are almost all family.
Ron Coleman brings huge crystals from a family mine in Arkansas.
Ask what they're worth and he'll say the sky's the limit; and that makes it worthwhile to invest a lot in coming to Tucson.
"Bringing my employees here, the place here, the show fees, that kinds of stuff. We spend a tremendous amount of money. Somewhere probably upwards of 40, 50 thousand dollars."
Visit Tucson.org says peak tourist season brings opportunities that just start with Gem Show.
Convention Services Director Jane Roxbury says, "Accenture Match Play. Major League Soccer, The Rodeo, the Mariachi conference.. This is really the kick off of the busy season here in Tucson."