T W G : Design Journal


Stunning cluster of quartz crystals roughly two feet in diameter

Photo - Richard Snyder

According to their website, the

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

is the "largest, oldest and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world." The show has "enjoyed international stature since the 1970s, and was the first gem and mineral show to bring the hobby enthusiast, the public, and the curator/professional together for discovery and discussion."

Paul Wiseman and Richard Snyder in front of a spectacular crocodile fossil

Photos - Kirsten Honeyman, unless otherwise indicated

Paul Wiseman has been attending the Tucson show for years. It is a wonderful opportunity to find one-of-a-kind treasures for clients looking for that certain something to enhance their decor. Paul has a long-standing relationship with many of the top dealers, and they greet him by name as he moves about the show. Paul's spouse, Richard Snyder, has had a life-long passion for minerals, and the two make a formidable team: Paul zeros in on what is aesthetically beautiful while Richard adds helpful guidance as to the specimen's quality and provenance.

Pair of fossilized palm fronds

Museum quality Woolly Mammoth fossil (10,000 to 15,000 years old) found in North America

Fabulous conference table made of two booked slabs of fossilized wood

Paul sits on a naturally formed lingham stone found in the Narmada River in India

Paul and Richard always stay at the

Arizona Inn

, a storied property with great character and charm. The exceedingly polite young staff add to the of pleasure staying at the hotel.

Grounds of the Arizona Inn

Photo - Inn website

Cozy library where morning coffee and afternoon tea are served

Photo - Inn website

Tucson is a fascinating area, so taking side trips from the show rounds out the experience. The flora and fauna of the surrounding high desert create an other-worldly experience.

Paul at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson

Mountain lion exhibit at the museum

Photo - Richard Snyder

Saguaro cacti on the grounds of the museum

Returning from the show, one feels as though one has been in a far-away land, not a place only a hop, skip, and jump from California!



Opalized ammonite, a rare and valuable organic gemstone found primarily along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and composed primarily of aragonite, the same mineral that makes up nacreous pearls
Photos by Richard N. Snyder

The Wiseman Group is always on the lookout for unusual, one-of-a-kind objects for the home. The acclaimed Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, with its enormous selection of gems, minerals, and fossils, provides a target-rich environment.  Paul has great luck finding fascinating, richly beautiful items for clients.

Paul calls a client to tell her about one of his discoveries

Fossilized clam shells from Morocco

Intact turtle carapace fossil,  an Oligocene (34 to 26 million years old) "Stylemys" from South Dakota

Paul in front of a very large and exceptionally beautiful fossilized sea turtle formed during the Eocene period, c. 51 million years ago, in Wyoming

The show is held every year on the second full weekend of February (starting with a Thursday). It has set the standard for gem and mineral shows around the world and is now the largest show in the United States. It is open to the public and presents retail dealers only.


During the Show, Paul stays at the historic Arizona Inn. The resort hotel is spread over 14 acres of gardens with fountains, flowers and lawns in the heart of mid-town Tucson. The Arizona Inn has been family owned and operated since its creation in 1930 by Isabella Greenway, Arizona’s first Congresswoman and a lifelong friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. The Inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Paul with large chunks of lapus lazuli from Afghanistan, a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color

All in all, The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is a wonderful field trip. The weekend has become one of Paul's favorite ways to find unique items for discerning clients.