Annual Gem Show, Tucson mainstay, kicks off Friday

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(Source: Visit Tucson) (Source: Visit Tucson)

Tucson's annual Gem Show, a two-week affair that brings an estimated 55,000 people to the city, is kicking off Friday at the convention center.

The Gem, Mineral and Fossil show started in someone's garage 63 years ago as an event for local mineral, gem and fossil enthusiasts. It's now the world's largest show.

The event is known for having one different lavish attraction each year. One year it featured a multi-million-dollar uncut diamond. Another included a tiara made of more than 1,000 diamonds.

City leaders say the show is crucial to the city's economy and culture.

Show owners, exhibitors and buyers spent $120 million in 2014, the city says.

RELATED: Opening weekend of Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show

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