After re-invigorating the gem, mineral and high-end jewelry worlds with its dynamic Denver, CO. debut in 2021, the HardRock Summit show returns to that city from September 8 – 11th 2022. Taking place in the Colorado Convention Center, this year’s HardRock Summit is open to buyers and sellers as well as the general public. Building on the success of last year’s event, during which 2,000 professional buyers attended and 3,800 visitors filled the halls, the 2022 Summit will feature exponentially more exhibitors and special showcases than previously. This September, many leading exhibitors from around the world are offering high-quality gems, plus rare and upmarket jewelry and minerals. As the most significant US show of its kind taking place in autumn 2022, the HardRock Summit represents a well-timed, highly organized and easy-to-navigate event for sourcing and business ahead of the winter holiday shopping season. According to HardRock Summit co-founders Christoph Keilmann and Wolter Mehring, “We are pleased to report that this year’s registered professional buyers already exceed last year’s numbers.”
One of the most compelling aspects of the HardRock Summit is that it will debut unprecedented special exhibits and education around the theme, “Fabulous Treasures”. The treasures in question include the most precious natural gold specimens ever found, plus gold artifacts from two historic sunken ships of the 18th and 19th centuries that carried the most significant bounties ever recovered from the bottom of the sea.
Although the Hard Rock Summit is a connoisseurs’ international gem, mineral and high-end jewelry show that’s free to members of the trade, it’s also geared towards the public: the $9.00 public admission fee offers solid value to students and families in addition to gem and jewelry lovers. The HardRock Summit invites the public to visually study, and learn about, some of the world’s most beautiful, rare and unusual precious gems, minerals and other treasures. (There is a full schedule of educational programming including lectures that are recommended for ages 14 and up.) While the HardRock Summit at the Colorado Convention Center and its partner hotels are all located in downtown Denver within walking distance of one another, they are also close to 16th Street – Denver’s popular stretch for dining, nightlife, and shopping. Thus, a rental car is not necessary for enjoying a HardRock Summit visit.
Neatly divided into themed sections, the HardRock Summit is easy to navigate. Evolution, the fair´s expansive mineral and fossils section, is located in the Four Seasons Ballroom and features 125 exhibitors. The spectacular Sparkle & Joy showcases 215 fine jewelry and gemstone exhibitors in the Mile High Ballroom. With 40 exhibitors, the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, which has been in existence for nearly 50 years, is located in 200 meeting rooms.
The HardRock Summit’s second edition enables visitors to immerse themselves in atmospheres that are alive with the earthly beauty, terrestrial energies and organic power of numerous natural treasures. (Both Evolution and Sparkle & Joy are open to trade professionals as well as the general public.) As Keilmann and Mehring relate, “Under one roof, the HardRock Summit will feature several key areas for attendees to explore and discover exhibitors. The exhibition areas include Evolution for sourcing various high-end minerals and meteorites, along with Sparkle & Joy for fine jewelry and gemstones in cooperation with leading industry associations such as AGTA GemFair Denver, the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) and Brazil’s IBGM.” Equally important, HardRock Summit 2022 houses the Denver Gem & Minerals Show, which presents a wide range of jewelry, gems, minerals, metaphysical products and educational presentations. This show within the HardRock Summit also presents live gemstone cutting demos, a fluorescent gemstone room to explore and an adventure zone where visitors can pan for gold. (Everyone who pans gets to keep a gold souvenir.) As the two co-founders note, “An exciting draw for attendees is the access to exclusive special exhibits and expert-led educational seminars throughout the show.”
For example, one of the HardRock Summit’s most intriguing special exhibits is the historic, never-before displayed array of more than 60 California Gold Rush-era gold and gemstone rings, gold nugget stick pins and gold quartz cuff links that were recovered from the infamous 1857 shipwreck of the S.S. Central America. The ill-fated ship sank 7,200 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean off the North Carolina coast during a hurricane on September 12, 1857. Voyaging from Panama to New York carrying tons of California Gold Rush coins, ingots, and gold dust from the San Francisco and Northern California area, the Central America is one of history’s most tragic and costly shipwrecks. While the tragedy took the lives of 425 of the ship’s 578 passengers and crewmembers, the loss of the gold cargo played a decisive role in the USA’s economically devastating financial Panic of 1857.
“Historically significant Gold Rush-era creations will be displayed for the first time ever in Denver at the HardRock Summit,” says Fred Holabird, president of Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC www.HolabirdAmericana.com), which is based in Reno, Nevada. One of the important recovered items is a large 18-karat gold quartz engraved brooch that the prominent San Francisco businessman Samuel Brannan was sending to his son in Geneva, Switzerland, as a gift to the son’s teacher. There is also a recovered REGARD ring created with a ruby (missing), emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, and diamond. (The Central America’s recovered artifacts will be offered in public auctions in October and November by Holabird Western Americana Collections.)
The reclamation of the Central America’s treasures occurred in several stages between 1988-1991, and again in 2014. Although thousands of retrieved gold coins and hundreds of gold bars have been sold since 2000, the items to be shown at the HardRock Summit were kept in storage in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Ohio until a court-approved settlement was reached ending a decades-long ownership dispute.
In the final analysis, the smart timing, educational opportunities and gathering of illustrious gem, mineral and jewelry retailers make the HardRock Summit an important show for the gem and jewelry industries, as well as the public. The once-in-a-lifetime special exhibits featuring world-famous fine specimens differentiate the HardRock Summit further from other shows of the genre by imbuing it with rare historical, cultural and experiential value.