Every couple of years, I round up a friend or two and head to the Denver Gem & Mineral Show. Historically it’s been at the Denver Merchandise Mart but since that facility went bankrupt last year (another victim of the pandemic, alas) the show’s moved to National Western Complex in Denver, a couple of miles away. Well, it might be the same show or it might be a new, replacement expo and show since it now has the rather unwieldy name of the “Denver Mineral, Fossil, Gem & Jewelry Show“.
Not only that but there’s also a second gem and jewelry show this week in Denver too, mostly centered at the Colorado Convention Center. It appears to be more for wholesale and the trade than consumers. The difference? The show we went to had free parking and free attendance, whereas the Convention Center show costs $30/person to attend. $60 plus parking for two? Not so much.
This was my first time at the National Western Complex, which was quite interesting too, a venue mostly used for stock shows and other more cowboy pursuits. Monster trucks? A great spot. There are also some concerts at the venue, though it’s not a prime choice for musicians coming to Colorado by any stretch. The complex has also been around for quite a while, having been originally built by the Denver Union Stock Yard Company back in 1881. Now it’s big, sprawling, and in need of a major investment and renovation to update the facilities and, most especially, the disjointed parking facilities that wind around various condemned buildings in the area.
The show did use the space ingeniously, with vendor tables and exhibits on the main level of the stadium floor, around the top concourse, and spread into the other major building in the complex. There were even exhibitors in tents in the back parking lot. We walked in and behind the first row of exhibitors with their wares this is what we looked down on:
Whether you’re in the market to buy anything or not, gem and mineral shows are an amazing venue for photography. Without further ado, here are a bunch of photos I took as we walked around and explored the show:
Beads, starting at $1 per string, of various stones and gems from around the world. One of many, many vendors selling these beads and strings of stones. One even advertised they were selling teething necklaces, though I’d be very reticent to risk a baby choking with a bead necklace, whatever they used for the string.
There were plenty of people selling cut and polished minerals of various types too, again, from around the world. Prices ranged from $10-$20 up to thousands of dollars.
What could you buy there for thousands of dollars? Things like this beautiful (if a bit kitsch) sculpture:
There were plenty of other tables spread with rocks, gems, minerals, and even fossils too:
And, in the tents, the chance to buy stones, polished and unpolished:
Overall, a very fun expo with lots of beautiful pieces, gems, minerals, and fossils. Some of the trays of gems looked like they were out of a Hollywood heist movie too, as you can see:
The Denver Mineral, Fossil, Gem & Jewelry Show ends on Sept 19 this year so if you can find the time to check it out before it’s too late, I definitely recommend popping by with the family for a walk thru a really interesting set of vendors. Bring some cash and expertise if you want to buy anything, or just buy a few rose quartz heart-shaped rocks to give to your kids!