Gem Faire is one of the biggest crystal, bead, and jewelry shows in the US. They host nearly 50 events each year, hitting cities in California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, and Oklahoma.
The largest Gem Faire is in Costa Mesa at the Orange County Fairgrounds. I was lucky enough to attend that one some years ago, before I started my Etsy crystal shop.
The first year my crystal business was open, I bought wholesale crystals exclusively from online crystal suppliers. (Check out some of my favorites in the Crystal Boss Wholesale Supplier List.)
Buying crystals online has a lot of advantages. But one downside is that you can’t hold the stones or see them with your own eyes before you purchase them.
That’s why I took a trip to the Gem Faire in Santa Rosa, CA – I wanted to pick up unique pieces for my shop at good prices, and source less common materials. Read on to see what I found, and my top 5 tips for buying crystals wholesale at a gem show.
Table of Contents
- Gem Faire review by a crystal shop owner
- Top tips for shopping at a gem show
- Have fun at the gem show
- Crystal vendor list
Gem Faire review by a crystal shop owner
I had a productive visit at the Gem Faire and bought lots of really cool items for my crystal shop! It was nice to be surrounded by other crystal and mineral lovers, and meet other crystal shop owners.
There were several crystal vendors at Gem Faire, but not all of them sold wholesale. I found some good deals on tumbles and smaller carvings, but larger pieces often were sold closer to retail price.
I wish there was more variety in crystal and mineral vendors at this Gem Faire. There were a ton of bead and jewelry vendors, if you make jewelry you will love this show.
Overall, buying wholesale crystals in person was a real treat. You get to go at your own pace, visit stalls in whatever order you please, and pick up the crystals to feel and inspect them before purchasing.
I definitely prefer shopping in person and look forward to visiting more gem shows.
Top tips for shopping at a gem show
1. Plan ahead
Get time off of work if necessary so you can attend the first day of the show. That’s when vendors will have the best selection.
Try to attend on a weekday if possible, and take advantage of wholesale-only hours if the show has them. It will be way less crowded than shopping on the weekend with the general public.
If you’re going out of town, book your flight and hotel room as early as possible for the best prices. High demand can cause prices to skyrocket closer to the event date.
Determine the budget for your trip, and what you want to spend on crystals, in advance of the show.
2. Get your paperwork in order
If you want to access the best deals with wholesale pricing, you will have to register as a wholesale buyer. Different shows may have different requirements; here is wholesale information for Gem Faire.
This show required me to present a resale certificate and a business card to get a wholesale buyer sticker.
Additionally, each shop I purchased from asked for my resale number; some of them needed a copy of my resale certificate and my business card too.
Be sure to bring printed copies of your resale certificate and plenty of business cards when shopping wholesale at a gem show.
3. Come prepared
Make sure to bring these things with you!
- Comfortable walking shoes: You’ll be on your feet for hours. Wear your most comfy shoes.
- A car: Crystals are heavy and expensive! You’ll want a car to protect and transport your purchases.
- For outdoor events: A hat to protect you from the sun, and layers of clothing to match the weather.
- Something to carry your purchases: If you’re just shopping for your personal collection, a tote bag is fine. If you’re buying wholesale, it’s good to have something with wheels like a personal shopping cart, rolling suitcase, or wagon.
- Water and a snack: Stay hydrated and bring a snack for a midday pick-me-up.
- A list of items you’re looking for: You don’t have to stick to your list religiously, but just writing down a list will help you stay focused and not forget certain items.
- Pen and a small notebook: Most of the vendors I shopped from labeled my purchases with prices, but it’s good to bring a pen and paper so you can jot down notes just in case.
- Fully charged cell phone: For photos, videos, notes, and communication.
- Cash: All of the vendors I bought from at Gem Faire accepted credit cards. It’s still good to bring cash for parking and just in case any vendors are cash only.
- Nice to have: A small flashlight and UV light, a small scale, wet wipes for your hands (they get dirty from handling all the minerals).
4. Ask questions
I met many knowledgeable, helpful crystal suppliers at the Gem Faire. They were happy to answer any questions I had about their business and crystals.
You’ll also have to ask them about wholesale pricing; none of the stalls I visited had wholesale prices posted.
Good questions to ask include:
- Where are these pieces sourced from?
- Do you always come to this show? Which other gem shows do you go to? Do you have a physical location? (In case you want to visit them again.)
- What are your wholesale prices? Do you have a minimum purchase amount?
5. Don’t feel pressured to buy
You might feel like since you’re at the gem show, you have to come back with a certain amount of items. While you’re shopping with suppliers, they might use sales tactics to encourage you to purchase things you’re not sure about.
Follow your intuition! If you fall in love with a piece for your personal collection and want to splurge on it, go for it!
But if you’re shopping for your crystal business and you’re not sure if you can turn a profit on something, you don’t have to buy it.
I went into the Santa Rosa Gem Faire with a certain budget in mind that I wanted to spend. But after shopping at all of the stalls, I had some money left over. I decided to hold onto it rather than to buy more items I wasn’t really excited about.
Have fun at the gem show
Whether you’re a first-timer or crystal show regular, I hope you find these tips helpful! Above all, enjoy your trip surrounded by gem lovers and beautiful minerals.
Crystal vendor list
This exclusive list contains wholesalers I’ve used for my crystal shop, including 2 of my main suppliers.