For Mr. Turner, a real estate mogul who in November introduced a fine jewelry brand named for his daughter, Jamie, the gem shows are the perfect place to get lost in conversation, as he did with Lee Collins, a dealer in Reno, Nevada, who had just returned from Ratanakiri Province in northeastern Cambodia with bright blue zircons, one of Mr. Turner’s favorite gems.
“Most of them are a couple billion years old,” Mr. Turner said. “Nothing — not water, earth, sky — is as old as a piece of zircon.” Mr. Turner said that he had been collecting gems for about 30 years, but that he had avoided Tucson until 2016 because he thought it “was like a giant garage sale with geodes.”
“Then someone was like, ‘You really should go,’” he said. “I went and I was blown away.”