Denver Show report 2

24 September 2009

Holiday Inn show continued for the whole week with most dealers open until the Sunday 20th Sept.

Mikhail Anosov of Russian Minerals, who brought the new Copper and Cuprite specimens from Rubtsovskiy Mine, Altaiskiy Krai, Siberia, Russia to the Tucson show this year had more new specimens from the mine including some amazing new Marshite specimens.

Marshite on matrix from Rubtsovskiy Mine, Russia

Marshite is a very rare Copper Iodide (CuI) which starts as colourless or yellow, and turns pinkish to brownish red with sunlight. These specimens were so fresh and properly stored they were colourless. The crystals were also very large, and are amongst the best seen in the world.

Mikhail was very kind to show us photos of the Mine.

Entrance to the mine
Entrance to the mine

The headframe over the Mine shaft
The headframe over the Mine shaft

View of the mine in Dec 2008
Snowy view of the mine in December 2008

Snowy view of the headframe

Oxidation zone on surface
Oxidation zone at the surface

Oxidation zone
Oxidation zone rich with Azurite and Malachite. No good specimens of Azurite and Malachite have been found, but they have discovered 70kg concretions of Azurite.

Marshite and Copper in the oxidation zone
Rich Marshite seam is the dark brown running up the left of the photo, and the pinkish brown areas are Copper.

Copper in a cart
Copper fills a mining cart in the mine.

The Copper and Cuprite specimens from the Mine are quite spectacular, the Coppers are very sharply crystallised with excellent patina, and sculptural arborescent forms. The Cuprites are found as crystals growing on the Coppers, or as individual crystals, and form super sharp octahedrons of high lustre. To coincide with the Copper and Cuprite specimens that we had on offer at the Main show in Denver, we are doing a special update of specimens here on our website. The new update can be viewed by clicking here.

The Denver Gem and Mineral Society show is held in the Merchandise Mart, a short shuttle bus ride from the Holiday Inn. This show runs from Friday to Sunday and has a huge range of mineral dealers plus a fossil hall and a separate wholesale-only jewellery and gemstones area. The show also has lots of exhibits and this year's theme was Fossils - Windows to the Past. There are many presentations about displays and activities for kids - the whole show is full of things to do and see.

Crystal Classics and Kristalle shared in our usual rooms in Aisle J, and we had some really superb minerals on show - Ian and Wayne have been doing really high quality buying, and it makes for a wonderful display.

Please click on the following two pictures to see videos of our booth.

Video of our booth
Please click for video of our booth

Video of our booth
Please click for video of our booth

Our room on opening day
Our booth on opening day.

One of the biggest splashes at the show was the new Emeralds from Kagem Mine, Zambia from The Collector's Edge. The Kagem Mine is one of the world's largest coloured gemstone mine and produces high quality Emeralds for gemstones. Collector's Edge was approached by the mine owners to be involved in collecting Emeralds for minerals specimens, and this is the first time that the Emeralds have been available on the market in their natural form.

Emeralds from Zambia

The Emeralds are stunning, the colour is incredibly rich and the crystals are elongate and well formed with a good lustre. The Emeralds have been classified into two types - Quartz hosted and Mica Schist hosted. The Quartz hosted are of the best quality, with excellent clarity and fewer inclusions, and they have a white Quartz matrix which creates a lovely backdrop to the Emerald green.

Emerald from Zambia
What amazing form - it appears as if one crystal was split and a larger crystal intruded through the middle with displacement of the first crystal either side!

The Mica hosted specimens still have excellent colour and range from gemmy to include by Mica, and the specimens often have many Emerald crystals, or sprays of crystals.

Mica hosted Emeralds from Zambia
Rich Emerald specimens on Mica Schist matrix.

The Edge also had some yummy cut stones to display with the specimens.

Emerald gemstones from Zambia
Cut Emerald gemstones from Kagem Mine, Zambia.

Evan Jones had several new finds in his booth including these botryoidal Smithsonites from 470 Level, 79 Mine, Gila Co., Arizona USA collected in May 2009. The Smithsonites were an attractive grass green colour. They are not sure what causes the colour - most likely Copper, but analysis has not found any difference in the composition of this Smithsonite and blue Smithsonite. Green Smithsonite was last found at the 79 Mine in 1994.

Green Smithsonite from 79 Mine, Arizona
New Green Smithsonite from the 79 Mine, Arizona.

Evan also had this large specimen of Nifontovite on matrix from Charcas, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Nifontovite is a rare Borate mineral, and is normally found as microcrystals. Just before Denver last year (2008) there was a new find of large glassy single crystals of Nifontovite, the second find in the last 60 years at this location. There has been further finds in the last year including several of crystals on matrix such as this specimen.

Nifontovite from Charcas
Nifontovite on matrix from Charcas, Mexico.

If you are interested in seeing more specimens of Nifontovite, please click here.

Fine Minerals International had a selection of the new Demantoid Garnets from Madagascar, seen earlier this year at the Sainte Marie-aux-Mines show.

Demantoid Garnets from Madagascar
Demantoid Garnets from Antetezambato, Antsiranana Region, Madagascar

But what really caught my eye was the Aquamarine on the shelf above

Aquamarine from Haramosh Mts, Pakistan
Aquamarine from Haramosh Mts, Skardu, Pakistan, approximately 25cm high.

Another new find at the show, also from Mexico was new purple Fluorites from Ojuela Mine, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico. These were in the booth of IC Minerals.

Isaias Casanova and Robin
Owner of IC Minerals Isaias Casanova with Robin, holding one of the new Fluorites.

Fluorite from Ojuela Mine, Mexico
New Fluorite from Ojuela Mine, Mapimi, Mexico.

The new Fluorite ranges from deep purple to transparent purple with phantoms, and is associated with Calcite and Goethite. It fluoresces bright red under long wave UV light. There were approximately 150 specimens found in total earlier this year, Fluorite has not been found at this location since 1983.

Also from Ojuela were new Willemite on Calcite specimens. These apparently look amazing under the microscope as the Willemite crystals are growing on sprays of Aurichalcite.

Sam holding a Willemite on Calcite from Ojuela
Sam Nassar holding one of the Willemite on Calcite specimens. Sam is recovering from a serious illness and it was great to see him back on his feet at the show.

IC Minerals also had spinel-twinned Fluorites from Erongo, Namibia. These were new last year, and have really interesting form.

Spinel twinned Fluorite from Erongo, Namibia
Spinel twinned Fluorite from Erongo, Namibia.

Graeber and Himes had two included Quartz specimens that caught my eye. The first was this large Quartz with deep red inclusions, most likely of Rutile, from Hiddenite, North Carolina, USA.

Quartz with inclusions from Hiddenite, North Carolina
 Quartz with inclusions from Hiddenite, North Carolina, USA

The second was also a red included Quartz - an 'Eisenkiesel' or Iron Quartz from Florence Mine, Cumbria, England, circa 1960. I love these specimens, the small Quartz crystals are included by Hematite and sit like red glass crystals on the Hematite matrix.

Eisenkiesel from Florence Mine, England.
'Eisenkiesel' Quartz included by Hematite from Florence Mine, Cumbria, England.

The Denver show always has excellent exhibits, and there were many following the fossil theme. Even the Colorado School of Mines, which is so well known for its collection of Colorado minerals had a great fossil display of fossil fish from the Green River Formation of southwestern Wyoming.

Green River Fossil Fish
Fossil fish from the Green River Formation, southwestern Wyoming

Australian Fossils
Australian life through time, the display of Australian fossils by Wollongong University, NSW, Australia

Didymoceras fossils from South Dakota
An exhibit of Ammonite fossils Didymoceras showing the different growth stages. These fossils come from the Pierre Shale of South Dakota. Because of their distinctive bizarre form, and widespread occurence the Didymoceras have been designated as biostratigraphic index fossils to help correlate stratigraphy across Northern America.

The Society of Mineral Museum Professionals had a great display of fossils replaced by minerals:

Minerals replacing Fossils by the SMMP
Minerals replacing fossils.

Goethite after snake skin
Goethite after Snake skin - very cool

Chalcedony after Crinoid
Chalcedony after Crinoid with fantastic detail.

Placenticeras intercalare from Alberta, Canada
A gorgeously iridescent Placenticeras intercalare fossil ammonite from the Bearpaw formation, Alberta, Canada.

There were still plenty of minerals exhibits at the show:

Colourful Calcites from Cincinnati Museum Centre
Colourful Calcites display from the Cincinnati Museum Centre.

Sterling Hill Mining Museum exhibit on cleavage
The Sterling Hill Mining Museum had this excellent and educational display on identifying minerals by their cleavage, with a quiz set up to identify the minerals in the first two rows.

How cool is this Moogate, from the collection of Richard Tripp.

The Mineralogical Museum of Bonn, Germany had an excellent display concerning Real or Fake?  I love the plastic fake Smoky Quartz and Amazonite specimen seen on the top right hand side in front of The Vug's Quarterly Magazine - Fakes edition.

Real or Fake - Mineralogical Museum of Bonn, Germany
Real or Fake? by the Mineralogical Museum of Bonn, Germany.

Crown by the Mineralogical Museum of Bonn, Germany
The Bonn Museum also had a display of a replica Bavarian crown, highly valued for its craftmanship, even though it was not made of gold and diamonds like its original counterpart. The crown was displayed as a tribute to Donna Chirnside, who sadly passed away in November 2008. Donna was a Special Exhibits Chairperson for many years at the Denver show.

One thing that is so good about the Denver show exhibits are the displays of self collected specimens. The sense of pride and accomplishment in both the hard work of finding the mineral specimens, and having them on display at a major mineral show must really be something.

Hutchison Family collecting season 2008
The Hutchison Family collecting season 2009

and lastly the sort of mislabelling that everyone is happy to discover:

Wittichenite from South Australia
The Smithsonia Institute discovered that this specimen, which was sold to them as a very good Chalcocite was in fact a very rare Copper Bismuth Sulfide mineral Wittichenite. This specimen is one of the finest examples of the species known.

The Denver show ended with excellent timing to the weather, on Monday it changed dramatically from warm and sunny to very cold and wet, thankfully it was not like that on pack up day on Sunday.

Author: Robin
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