Gem shows could seemingly be found around every turn this past weekend in Franklin. Set up on the Highlands Road, Georgia Road/441S, and two locations on the Sylva Road, visitors and locals alike were able to check out a variety of vendors specializing in jewelry, gems, fossils and a ton of other things.
Booth operator Mary Lou Brock, owner of Mary Lou's Jewelry in Asheville has attended the whole-sale show on the Sylva Road for the last 15 years and every year she finds a good turnout.
“It's something that I look forward to. We're constantly going to these shows. We come here and we go to New Orleans, Florida, and out west. It's just a big network,” she said. “Every year we benefit from coming. We wouldn't keep doing it if we didn't.”
Brock's location was filled with gold, silver, and pearls. Anybody browsing could find necklaces, rings, bracelets, and most any other type of jewelry.
“We keep a good variety. I offer my business card to anybody who buys my stuff, too. Emergencies may happen and if it does, then I want to be able to help,”said Brock. “I had a bride once who lost all of the necklaces she bought for her bridesmaids and so we calmed her down and overnighted more necklaces.”
When combing through the booths and crowds that are sure to fill every location, it is difficult to pinpoint the people you may know, a true testament to how large these events are and how many out-of-towners they attract to our small town. According to Brock, she sees people from not only all around the country but all around the world.
“One of the best parts about coming here is all of the people that you get to see. You see them from a lot of different states of course, but you also see a lot from Asia, South America, and European countries as well.”
The benefits of going to these shows are not only that you may find something that could be found nowhere else, but also that you might, or most likely, will find things at very good prices.
Franklin resident Lisa Marling helped out with the 48th annual Macon County Gemboree on Friday and attended the whole-sale show on Sunday.
“Usually when I come out to these shows, I find a lot of good deals. Deals that you just wouldn't get in a regular store,” said Marling. “When you look around, you see so many buyers and sellers and you think, 'if the economy is bad, it sure isn't affecting the gem shows'. It's just so amazing to see that many people come out. The boom that it provides has got to be helping the local economy.”
Overall, the shows looked as though they were successful and Linda Harbuck of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce agreed that the Gemboree at least was.
“The gem show that we are in charge of at the community building had a steady flow of attendees for all four days,” she said. “Most of the dealers who were there said they had a good show as well so we had a successful show.”
Up next is the 24th Leaf Lookers Gemboree Oct. 25-27.