Bead Trade Shows.

Q: Having never been to one of these, can anyone offer any advice, experiences, and discussion on bead trade shows? Do they differ from other type of bead purchases? Are the prices competitive? What types of exhibits, classes, etc.? What can I expect?

A: I'm a newbie to the world of beads. I have picked up a lot of useful info in this newsgroup. I usually purchase beads from catalogs and stores. I've never gone to a trade show. 'The International Gem And Jewelry Show' is coming to Houston, and I thought it would be a good experience to attend. If you only come out of there with what you go in for, you have a lot more strength of will than most of us. Bring a good cloth shopping bag to carry your purchases in, and if you really have to limit your spending, only bring as much cash as you can afford to spend (leave checkbooks & credit cards at home!). Otherwise, there will be the scent of hot plastic trailing behind you, and you'll have writer's cramp from signing your name... First, the 'Intergem' show is not a "bead show" - you will find lots of beads, of course, but also lots of finished jewelry, loose precious stones (like emeralds, etc), stone cabs and specimens, also some imported "decorative" items like jewelry boxes, vases, maybe (beaded) clothing. There will be a wholesale and a retail section, you will probably need to show a tax ID to get into the wholesale section, although sometimes a business card will work. Once in the wholesale section, most vendors (in my experience) do not require a minimum purchase. Do your research first on anything you might be REMOTELY interested in buying, find the best catalog price, and make a list of what to take with you. Consult the list before you snatch up those goodies! See if you can find someone who has an old program from this particular show, so you know what vendors will be there, and allow LOTS of time - 3-4 hours for your "first time"! In fact, if it is close enough to make this sensible, you might want to go on 2 days, one to look, one (after recuperating) to buy.