Denver Show report 1
16 September 2009
The Denver show began with an early and quiet start this year. Crystal Classics and Kristalle exhibit firstly at the Colorado Mineral and Fossil Show at the Holiday Inn - Denver Central. Exhibitors were allowed to open on Sunday this year instead of Tuesday, and this led to a staggered start, with some dealers open first thing Sunday and others not opening properly until Tuesday. There did not seem to be any advertising about the early start too, which meant that there was very low foot traffic for those that did open early, so with the added cost of the room rental, it may not have been a worthwhile thing.
This year our retail room is in room 133 (our new room for last year) which is more spacious with four large cabinets of goodies.
Our big splash for the room is the new green Fluorites from Riemsvasmaak in South Africa, which have been selling really well. The colour is so attractive, and interspaced with other purple Fluorites made for a really beautiful display.
Green Fluorites from Riemvasmaak with other locality Fluorites
Green Fluorites from Riemvasmaak.
We chose to put a mix of odd ball minerals in this room this year, interspaced with some classics such as this gorgeous Rhodochrosite below, and are holding off on many of our best specimens until the main show.
Huge Rhodo from N'Chwaning Mine in South Africa approx 20cm long.
Our good friend Roberta McCarty who has helped out at shows for many years, and is a collector of Arizona minerals, is caught wrapping a mineral for a customer.
This year we moved our wholesale to the small ballroom at the Holiday Inn, which gave us three times as much room for our wholesale material. The Mt Malosa, Malawi specimens (Aegirines, Smoky Quartzes, Feldspar combos) have been very popular, as have specimens of Beryl and Schorl from the Erongo region of Namibia.
The team over in the wholesale room - Lee, Audrey, Jon and Liz.
We are sharing the room with Terry and Doug Wallace of Mineral Search, Texas. They are a lovely couple and we are having a lot of fun with them.
Terry and Doug Wallace
In their display of retail specimens is one of THE specimens of the show - this huge Specular Hematite and Quartz specimen from Beckermet Mine, Cumbria, England. Originally in the collection of Brian Lloyd, this specimen has since passed through several hands to Doug. It was nicknamed the 'praying mantis', however everyone has a different idea of what it looks like - a wave etc. The specimen has caused quite a stir with anyone familiar with English minerals, and is probably the largest and best specimen of Specularite and Quartz known from Northern England.
Specular Hematite and Quartz from Beckermet Mine, Cumbria, England
Into the large Ballroom next door, Throwin' Stones (cool name) had these new Fluorite 'sceptres' from Erongo Namibia, very pretty colouration.
Fen's Gem and Minerals, of New Mexico had new Calcites from Charcas, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, with bladed intergrown crystals which have inclusions of black Goethite preferentially in the tops of the blades, making quite an attractive sparkling black and white specimen. This location is famous for its 'poker chip' Calcites, and this new material is thought to come from the San Marcolo Mine.
Sparkling new Calcites with Goethite inclusions
A large specimen of bladed Calcite with dark edges from Goethite.
Down the hall to Pinnacle 5 Minerals, owner Joe Dorris had a fabulous cabinet of Smoky Quartz with Amazonite specimens - for me one of the true American classics (he also had the specimens interspersed with Sweet Home Rhodos - what more could you want!).
Amazonite with Smoky Quartz, Cleavelandite and Fluorite from Smithsonian Pocket, Smoky Hawk Mine, Colorado.
The specimens are all mined by Joe, and he has been mining in the Teller County region of Colorado since 1993. The current claim he is working on is the Smoky Hawk Mine which he has had the rights to since 1998, and this claim has produced unusually good blue colours in the Amazonites, with super dark, nearly black Smoky Quartzes, a superb colour combination. In 90% of the district occurs specimens of common Microcline (pale pinks, tans to creams) with the Smoky Quartzes, so finding an Amazonite pocket is always a great excitement.
Amazonite and Cleavelandite from Smoky Hawk Mine, Colorado
The latest pocket that Joe has been working on is the Smithsonian Pocket, named because Mike Wise of the Smithsonian was visiting them at the time they uncovered the pocket in June 2008. It takes about a year to prepare the specimens once they are found. As the pockets are found in Pegmatites, they have quite often imploded under the pressure and heat, and it is incredibly unusual to find a pocket intact. This is why more than 95% of specimens have been repaired and restored - if they weren't we would probably never see these beautiful specimens on the display.
Smoky Quartz and Amazonite from Kestrel Pocket, Smoky Hawk Mine, Colorado.
Normally once a pocket is uncovered the pieces are taken out, washed of clays and then pieced back together into specimens to return them to their original state. The specimens are often encrusted with Iron Oxides which adds to the cleaning process which can take more than a month to clean. Joe believes there is one more season in the Smoky Hawk mine, fingers crossed it is a good one!
Onto Collector's Edge I found Steve Behling having a chat with Tom Spann of Mineral Masterpiece.
Steve and Tom
Collector's Edge always has gorgeous well presented minerals - and of course are famous for their Rhodochrosites such as this whopping crystal:
Rhodochrosite crystal from Sweet Home Mine, Colorado, approx 10cm across
Collector's Edge had several of these very attractive Quartz var. Amethyst with Calcite from Tonglushan Mine, Hubei Province, China - nice colour combination and very nice form.
Quartz var. Amethyst with Calcite from Tonglushan Mine, Hubei Province, China.
Rob Sielecki of Ausrox always has something wild in his room. Today was not disappointing with this massive Cornetite from the DR of the Congo. The botryoidal form showed rich blue to green colour. Cornetite is a rare Copper Phosphate mineral, and is commonly found with Chrysocolla, Libethenite, and Malachite, given a lovely range of blue to green colours. The specimen was about 50cm across, if not more, and had not yet been cleaned.
Botryoidal Cornetite from DR of Congo
Rob also had a great selection of Native Sulphur from Agrigento, Silicy, Italy. The crystals are large and quite translucent, and well formed.
Native Sulphur from Agrigento, Sicily, Italy.
He also had these two excellent Coppers from Michigan and this large Pyromorphite from Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Idaho.
Back down the hall is John Cornish, the smiliest dealer in the business. He was very proud to show me his new Japan-law twinned Quartz specimen, with lovely smoky phantoms, from Montana. The specimen exhibits the 'rabbit ear' style twinning and is very large.
John with his new Smoky Quartz japan-law twin.
John also had this very attractively coloured Fluorite from Switzerland.
Sitting in John's room was dealer Chris Tucker.
Outside in the car park the wholesale tents are set up ready to go. And across the road the Quality Inn has a continuation of dealers, although many were not quite ready to open on Tuesday.
Wednesday (today) is the official opening day for this show, and it already looks like there are alot more people around in the morning. Further updates to follow.......
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