So far a so-so gem show

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Along the bustling corridor of the Interstate 10 frontage road, motel rooms have become makeshift gem show kiosks.

Here, customer service replaces room service.

Yet, vendor Jim Goldstein can't help but count all the cash he hasn't made today. "I'm a little bit nauseous about how slow the day was," Goldstein said.

Goldstein came from Virginia to sell his collection of beads and rocks, just as he has done every year for 28 years.

But this year is different. "Definitely," he said. "We're not seeing near as many people as we usually do."

He says the buyers are still here.

Cindy Korn is one such buyer. She traveled from California to make her annual gem show trip, and she says she's definitely felt the effects of the recession.

"Oh you're just more cautious with what you buy, more aware of prices," Korn said. "But no we're doing ok, thank goodness."

Mexican vendor Diego Aguirre is not doing ok, but he's willing to let this gem show slide.

"We've been having really nice years every year, so maybe one year, it's ok you know," Aguirre said.

After all, if you're in the business of gems, minerals, or big statues of Buddha, many say there's no place they'd rather be than Tucson.

The chances of finding a buyer are greater here right now than if we go somewhere else.

Meantime, many of the vendors are holding out hope that some of the big out-of-town buyers will come toward the latter half of the gem show.