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Barlows Gems

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About Us

drusy-chrysocolla

We have been in the semi precious gemstone cabochon, and rocks and mineral business, for more than 30 years!

When Bruce was a small boy growing up in California, his Uncle Harry used to take him out rock hounding on the weekends. Countless hours were spent on giant treasure hunts! His parents bought him equipment so he could learn to cut and polish his treasures. He soon joined a local Lapidary Club. Lapidary Clubs give lessons on how to cut and polish stone, arrange group field trips to collecting sites, and put on small lapidary trade shows. At the shows people exhibit their work or collections and dealers sell their wares. Bruce competed in competitions through the California Federation of Rock Clubs, cutting cabochons and making jewelry.

In middle school he took several jewelry making classes. He found that he could make money selling jewelry to teachers and neighbors and an entrepreneur spirit was born! After graduating school he attended the Gemological Institute of America and obtained a degree know as a G.G. (graduate Gemology). It was during this time that he met and married me, Debbie.

In 1983 we purchased a lapidary business in Arizona from an retired elderly couple who traveled the country doing the Rock and Mineral shows. The first year we did 54 different shows, sometimes going separate ways, but most of the time traveling in our van and sleeping at KOA campgrounds.

We begin to get involved in various mining projects. And our business went more in the business to business or wholesale direction. Life on the road got old quickly, especially once our two daughters came along, and we eventually cut back to only a few shows a year and started an online business. In 1988 we were lucky enough to get a contract with the Bagdad Copper Mine to recover some of the rock and mineral specimens. We knew we were an inconvenience to the large mining corporation, but everyone felt it was important to recover and save some of earth’s treasures from being crushed into copper. The mine did produce some beautiful gemstone material in the early 1990's and we were fortunate to be able to stock up enough material to run our business for many years before the supply was exhausted.

Now we search worldwide for unusual, and distinctively patterned, rough semi precious gemstone materials.  We will custom cut the heart out of a stone to bring you the best designer cabochon available!

We sell everything from gemstone cabochons (both designer and bargain) on this site- to decorator polished pieces, rough rock, slabs, spheres, eggs,  beads, bead pendants, minerals, and more!  

For more rock and mineral items see our sister website www.oakrocks.net! 

 

 

You can see us at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (The world's largest gem and mineral show!!) the first 2 weeks of February at the InnSuites Room 116-117.

We also do the West Coast Gem and Mineral Show at the Holiday Inn, 2726 South Grand Ave in Santa Ana, CA BOTH in May and November. We are in the wholesale ballroom. If you do not have a tax number you must ask them to come get us to escort you to our booth.

You can see us at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show at the Holiday Inn North, in the north parking lot tent, space T12.