Once a year, thousands of vendors from around the world descend on Tucson, Arizona for the largest Gem and Mineral Show on the planet. Founded in 1946 by a small group of enthusiasts, over the decades it has grown into an event that sprawls across the entire city and occupies every large indoor and outdoor space available.
There's much to love about this event from the amazing geodes to the African village, but what Saskia likes most of all is the opportunity to reconnect with her favorite vendors from countries far and wide. As the daughter of Dutch parents raised in the US, Saskia has always felt a connection with people from different backgrounds. Those differences inspire her curiosity, and her impulse to discover more and dig deeper is at the heart of our brand SASKIA. Her favorite vendors also offer her priceless help and knowledge as she hunts through thousands of strands of beads and hand picks her favorites which closely match her sense of style and taste in bold bright colors.
Pankaj is one vendor in particular that Saskia looks forward to seeing. This year was her second time visiting his booth which sits in the most unexpected place; in a remote corner of the smallest and least busy show. For Saskia, finding him was a diamond in the rough. He has rare and limited pieces of Indian silver unlike anything she's ever seen. Saskia was specifically on the hunt for more silver pieces this year to balance out her brass options. On his table of nearly one-thousand strands of beads, Saskia sifted through and picked the 20 best to share with her customers through new designs.
Bully Jawara, another vendor, has been both a good friend and an excellent source for rare African brass and glass beads for many years. Being the businesswoman she is, Saskia loves to haggle over prices, but once the handshake is made the conversation always drifts to family and friends far and near.
Ahmed Zadran comes from Afghanistan and brings with him deep blue lapis and ancient handmade pendants from the Pashtun regions. At first he didn't know what to make of Saskia and her pleasantly pushy nature. Now as soon as she approaches, he extends a hand and brings out the tea. His quality is always the best, but beyond that his nature is kind and Saskia enjoyed his company tremendously.
The impulse to connect, the drive to discover and the joy in sharing cultures lie at the heart of everything we do as a company. The people of this world inspire us and the designs we make arise from this inspiration. It all starts with a willingness to lean in and learn more. When Saskia came back this year, she felt more strongly than ever that meeting people she otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to meet is the very best part of her yearly trip.