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Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows, Day 3

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This blog post is part of a series of reports by the staff of Bead&Button magazine, FacetJewelry.com and Kalmbach Books during the 2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows.

The thing that always strikes me when I arrive in Arizona is the color. The sky is the bluest blue you could ask for, the bougainvillea are bright red, and everything seems to be shining in technicolor - especially when it's a sunny, 76-degree day! It makes sense that the place jewelery artists gather each year is full of colorful inspiration. You can see it in the beads, the fibers, and the finished pieces. Colorful details are everywhere. It's almost impossible to know where to start!

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For example, at the To Bead True Blue show at the Doubletree, I saw a booth with beautiful crocheted flower jewelry. It was the first trip to Tucson for the vendor, and her items were truly unique- so many different species of flowers, and pieces ranging from earrings to rope necklaces to statement necklaces. Of course, they were available in every hue imaginable.

I also found lots of new bead colors. Metallic versions of popular shaped beads are out now, along with lovely muted pastels and mossy shades perfect for Spring jewelry.

Speaking of new beads: You'll probably find more new shapes and even three-hole beads at your local bead shops this year. The creativity is astounding, with designers continuing to amaze with tons of patterns for these new shapes. (Keep an eye out for new books from Kalmbach featuring new beads as well!)

In Tucson, you'll run into designers at every show. Some of my authors are in town: Marilyn Gardiner was hard at work selling chain mail patterns and jewelry, and Diane Whiting was hurrying on her way to teach a class. I'll meet up with Alyx (Thomasin Alyxander) later today, and hopefully I'll see more authors (and potential new authors!) as the shows continue.

Can't wait to see more!

- Erica Barse, Associate Editor, Kalmbach Books

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