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Parallel Lines



Over 45 years ago, Ed and Judi Tripp, the founders of Shows of Integrity, embarked on a journey that began with the humble setup of their merchandise in a single hotel room in Tucson, Arizona, at the same time as the Tucson Club Show. Initially, they extended invitations to fellow dealers and friends to join them, while also promoting the event locally to ensure its success. As the number of participating dealers grew, they recognized the need to establish an official Gem Show Promotions Company. In 1978, together with Warren Matthews, they established Shows of Integrity/Gem and Lapidary Dealers Association and relocated their Tucson show from the small hotel to The Tucson Quality Inn.

To manage the growing event, they enlisted the services of Glenn James as the security guard, with Terry James overseeing the ticket desk. The following year, the show attracted an increasing number of dealers, prompting the opening of a second location at The Tucson Desert Inn. With two venues to manage, they introduced a shuttle service between the two hotels, with Glenn taking on the role of the inaugural shuttle bus driver. Subsequently, security personnel were hired for each location.

Year after year, the business grew and as it expanded, it became necessary to divide the operations. Warren Matthews assumed responsibility for the Holiday Inn/GLDA show, while Ed and Judi focused on the Desert Inn/Shows of Integrity. The Desert Inn location quickly reached full capacity, leading Shows of Integrity to further expand to the Americana Hotel in Tucson. Over time, the Tucson Show has evolved into the world’s largest gem and mineral exhibition, attracting hundreds of thousands of attendees annually.

During those early years, Ed also dedicated himself to showcasing his merchandise at the Kansas City show, hosted by The Association of Earth Science Clubs of Greater Kansas City. His strong rapport with the club members led to Shows of Integrity being the natural choice when the Association sought a wholesale promoter. Today, the Kansas City March Show, now in its 61st year, stands as a resounding success. Furthermore, Ed and Judi initiated the Kansas City November show, which celebrates its 44th year. We have also organized shows in various other cities across the United States, including Reno, Nevada, and Louisville, Kentucky.

Given their extensive involvement with Shows of Integrity and the shows in Kansas City, Tucson, and Louisville, Glenn and Terry seamlessly assumed leadership when Ed and Judi made the decision to retire. Throughout our history, we have fostered strong relationships with our dealers, police officers, decorating suppliers, and venue employees, and we aim to maintain and strengthen these connections in the future.


Throughout my six-decade tenure in the import/export and jewelry industry, I have encountered numerous intriguing inquiries. Here, I will present a selection of them.

What is the most valuable piece of jewelry you have ever possessed?

The most valuable item I ever owned was a 24K gold bracelet clandestinely brought into the United States by Junita Castro, sister of the then Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro.

Could you describe the most extraordinary hardstone carving you have ever handled?

On one occasion, I commissioned the carving of a substantial Boulder Opal, which was skillfully crafted into an exquisite replica of Mount Rushmore.

What is the most exceptional gemstone you have ever possessed?

We once acquired the largest known cut Burmese Peridot, weighing 308 carats. This remarkable gemstone became a centerpiece in our promotional campaigns for several years until we eventually sold it to a prominent jeweler on Fifth Avenue, New York, during the Tucson gem show for $16,000.

Could you recount your experiences as a direct importer from Hong Kong and Beijing in Mainland China during President Nixon’s historic visit to the country in 1972?

We were honored to be direct importers of goods from China when President Nixon made his iconic visit to the country. During that time, we resided in the same four-room apartment where President Nixon stayed..

Which is the most captivating restaurant you have ever dined at, and what type of cuisine did they offer?

The most captivating restaurant we have had the pleasure of dining at was named “The Carnivore,” located in Kenya, Africa. The dining experience was centered around a large Lazy Susan at the table, filled with potatoes, vegetables, and assorted items. The waiters would then serve a variety of meats, such as Zebra, Wildebeest, and Antelope.

What was the most enjoyable gem show that you have organized and promoted?

The Gem Show at John Asquagas Nugget Hotel and Casino in Reno, NV stands out as the most enjoyable gem show. In addition to the exceptional exhibition of gemstones, attendees had the opportunity to engage in gambling activities and enjoy captivating performances by renowned artists like Roy Clark, Loretta Lynn, and Boxcar Willie. Following the show, we would take a well-deserved week off in Lake Tahoe.

Could you mention any other highly successful shows you have participated in?

The Kansas City March show, hosted by The Association of Greater Kansas City Gem Clubs, as well as the Kansas City November fall show, have consistently proven to be immensely successful events for us.

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