Gem & Jewlery Show?

Q: A "Gem & Jewelry " Show is coming to Washington, DC this weekend. Is it worth scouting for beads and the like? Any info about these shows anybody???

A: Definitely. If it's the 'International Gem & Jewelry Shows' (usually held at 'The Sheraton Washington', the 'Convention Center', or out in the boonies toward Baltimore), it'll be packed and a lot of fun. There'll be everything from $150,000 necklaces, to semi-precious beads, to wooden fountain pens. I generally don't take my credit card because it's too tempting to buy a couple thousand bucks worth of stuff I'll never use. The booths - there can be anywhere from 75 to several hundred - vary from show to show; one show will seem to have lots of delicas and beadweaving supplies, another will seem to specialize in beautiful carved gemstones, and yet another will have mountains of pearls. The shows are usually best for variety and quantity, in late summer and fall, and just before Christmas, especially. They are at their worst in February, when most of the dealers are in Tucson. I go to the one that's held in New Carrollton, MD (just outside DC), and find many of my favorite bead vendors from the Washington area there - 'Talisman', 'Caldron Crafts', 'Theodora's Beautiful Beads', etc., as well as some out-of-the-area vendors. There's lots of great stuff to look at. Definitely check it out, but don't forget that in November, there is the 'Bead Society' of greater Washington's 'Bead Bazaar', which is fabulous. I have always found the 'Washington International Bead Show' very good, and quite large. I just came back from the opposite side of the country, so I won't be going this year, but they do have a lot of good dealers, especially in the wholesale part. If this one is in the 'Convention Center', not at the 'Woodley Sheraton', I went a few years ago, and stayed overnight. If you are close enough, go.