Tucson 2010 - Westward Look Mineral Show

8 February 2010


The Westward Look Fine Mineral show is now in full swing, opening on Friday and running until Monday evening. The show has a special Collector’s Day on Saturday, featuring Will Larson and his private collection of Japanese Minerals, and at the Sunday evening program the talks this year are given by four of the Grand Masters of Mineral Art.

Westward Look crew
The crew at the Westward Look - Ian Bruce, Lois and Diana Schlegel

I may be biased but I think our room looked pretty sensational this year – we have a superb range of minerals on display and the displays looked excellent.

High end cabinet

Minerals on display

Minerals on display

Minerals on display

Minerals on display
Photos of our mineral cabinets

  Please click here to see a 5 minute video of the minerals that we have on display at the show. If you would like any further information or photos of any of the minerals, please let us know the approx minute and second that it appears.

There were only a few new finds at the show, and there were many very fine minerals to see. These days the majority of new material is coming from old collections and the excitement is in bringing out old specimens that have not been seen on the market for a while. It also seemed to be the show for Kunzite and Tanzanite, there were specimens in almost every dealer's booth!

First stop was Marcus Budil Fine Minerals, he had a very fine selection of Tanzanites:

Zoisite var Tanzanite, Arusha, Tanzania

He also had this cluster of Sturmanite from N’Chwaning Mines, South Africa:

On to Herb Obodda’s room, Herb had several amazing cut Sphalerite gemstones. Sphalerite has a high refractive index and dispersion, and cut stones exhibit fantastic ‘fire’ or flashes of rainbow colours. These three were sensational as they rotated beneath the lights.

Cut Sphalerite
Three cut Sphalerite gemstones, and a Cuprite.

Herb shares the room with Mo’s Meteorites, who had this massive slab of Mundrabilla Meteorite from Western Australia. Small chunks of Meteroite were found in 1911 on the south eastern side of Western Australia, and in 1966 two multi-ton pieces were discovered and collectively dubbed the Mundrabilla meteorite after the area in which they were found.This slice weighs 18.5kg and the total known weight of the meteorite was labelled as a whopping 24,000kg.

Meteorite from Mundrabilla
Mundrabilla Meteorite slice

Andreas Guhr had this aesthetic specimen of Quartz with Tourmaline and pink Albite from Santa Rosa Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Quartz, Tourmaline from Santa Rosa Mine
Quartz with Tourmaline and Albite from Santa Rosa Mine, Brazil.

He also had this etched Topaz still on matrix. Normally the Topaz are found detached from their matrix, in unusual etched concave shapes, but this one was still attached to its matrix of Mica and Albite.

Etched Topaz on Matrix, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Topaz on matrix from Minas Gerais, Brazil

Miner’s Lunchbox had a great Malachite with Shattuckite from Otjikotu, Kaokoveld, Namibia. This was another mineral combination that appeared often at the show, a very pretty combination.

Shattuckite and Malachite
Shattuckite and Malachite from Otjikotu, Kaokoveld, Namibia

Dave Bunk was exhibiting for the first time at the Westward Look show, and was sharing a room with Lithographie who produce the extraLapis magazines. The latest magazine no.  13 ‘Smithsonite’ is imminent and hopefully will be available for the main show. We hope to have copies available for sale in the UK shortly after our return from Tucson. Please contact us to preorder a copy, or order any of the previous 12 issues.

Dave had a good display including two excellent and large Proustites from Chile

Large specimen of Proustite from Chanarcillo, Atacama, Chile.

Ausrox had some new material freshly gathered from DR Congo and South Africa. There was a fine selection of primary Malachite as fibrous chatoyant Malachite, and stalactitic form from Katanga, DR Congo, and several Carrollite specimens.

Malachite stalactites from Congo
Malachite Stalactites

Malachite and Carrollite
Malachite, and also Carrollite specimens.

There was also Olmiite with rich salmon pink colour from N’Chwaning II Mine, South Africa, and from the same location chunky Hematite crystals and also Ettringite with Calcite, it is rare to find Ettringite associated with large Calcite crystals.

Olmiites from South Africa
Olmiites from Kuruman, South Africa

Rob also had this excellent Calcite twin from Pallaflat Mine, Cumbria, a really luscious specimen.

Calcite twin from Pallaflat
Calcite twin from Pallaflat, Cumbria

Stuart Wilensky had this fantastic Beryl specimen on display – the crystal on the right changes from an Emerald (coloured by Chromium or Vanadium) to an Aquamarine (coloured by Iron), indicating the change in conditions as the crystals grew.

Emerald and Aquamarine from Swat Valley, Pakistan
Aquamarine and Emerald from Swat Valley, Pakistan.

Dan and Diana Weinrich had many specimens from newly acquired Lloyd Tate Collection such as this rich salmon pink Smithsonite from Tsumeb.

Smithsonite, Tsumeb
Smithsonite from Tsumeb, Namibia

There was also this great Spodumene var Kunzite with an etched termination, also from the Lloyd Tate collection.

Kunzite from Paprock, Afghanistan

Dan also had a superb Native Silver wire from Kongsberg with a lovely old label.

Native Silver wire, Kongsberg
Native Silver wire from Mildigkeit Mine, Kongsberg, Norway

Native Silver label
Nice old label for Silver.

I had a lovely chat with Stephanie and Robert of the Stonetrust. They also had several Spodumenes on display.

Spodumene from California
This large specimen of Spodumene, exhibiting excellent pink colour through the centre was from a 1903 find at Pala, San Diego Co., California. The specimen was once in the Museum of the University of Bonn, Germany, and was purchased three years ago by the Stonetrust. Spodumenes of this size from Pala are rare, and it is hard to find such pieces on the market.

In contrast the Stonetrust also had this juicy Spodumene from Nuristan, Afghanistan which is a contemporary specimen, also with excellent colour.

Spodumene from Nuristan, Afghanistan
Spodumene var Kunzite from Nuristan, Afghanistan.

Continuing on our tour of Spodumene, Bill Larson of Pala International had this brand new Spodumene from Ocean View Mine, Pala, San Diego Co., California - just 5 weeks old. The specimens weighs 80grams, with great lilac colour.

Spodumene from Pala, California
Spodumene var Kunzite from Ocean View Mine, Pala, California.

Pala had a lovely painting by mineral artist Gamini Ratnavira of an Epidote from Knappenwald, Austria, with the specimen. Bill was really pleased with the painting - a mineral artist to look out for, and keeping with the theme of the Sunday Evening talks.

Epidote painting
Painting of Epidote by Gamini Ratnavira

Epidote from Knappenwald, Austria
The Epidote specimen from Knappenwald, Austria.

Alain Martaud was sharing the room with Pala International, and he had this large and well formed Stolzite crystal from France. Stolzite crystals are rare in this size and quality.

Stolzite from Sainte Lucie, France
Stolzite from Sainte Lucie, Lozere, France
Victor Yount had interesting twinned Calcites from Sambava, Madagascar, which show twinning in two directions creating interesting zigzag mirrored specimens. These specimens came out about 5 years ago by Laurent Tomas of Polychrom, and Victor purchased all the remaining specimens.

Twinned Calcites from Sambava, Madagascar
Twinned Calcites from Sambava, Madagascar

Victor also had this Autunite from Portugal - radioactive specimens always have such amazing colour, that you just know it is something to beware. Autunite is a Calcium Uranium Phosphate.

Autunite from Portugal

Mike Bergmann had this fabulous Legrandite from Ojuela Mine, Mexico, very aesthetic.

Legrandite from Ojuela Mine, Mexico
Legrandite from Ojuela Mine, Mexico.

Mike showed us this Calcite on Amethyst from Uruguay that I believe he had just sold, whilst his lovely wife Sally looks on.

Calcite on Amethyst from Uruguay
Mike and Sally Bergmann with a Calcite on Amethyst from Artigas, Uruguay.

Mike and Sally's son Matt showed us this large polished Calcite crystal from China which has a very large two phase inclusion, you could see the liquid sloshing around as the gas bubble moved with in the cavity. Please click here to view a video of it.

Green Mountain Minerals always have excellent displays of fine minerals. They had this unusual Shattuckite included Quartz, which was found in the last year, and is one of the best they have seen.

Shattuckite in Quartz
Shattuckite in Quartz from Kaokoveld Plateau, Namibia

They also had this large and exceptional specimen of Cuprosklodowskite (gotta love that name).

Cuprosklodowskite, Musconi Mine, DR Congo
Cuprosklodowskite from Musconi Mine, Kolwezi, Katanga, DR Congo.

The Gobin brothers also have wonderful minerals on display and they had this sensational gold Calcite from Daye Mine, Hunan, China - really glowing colour - and unsuprisingly already sold.

Gold Calcite from Daye Mine, Hunan, China
Calcite on matrix from Daye Mine, Hunan, China.

The Calcites are very new, they were first seen at Munich last year, and this latest pocket was found in December. Most specimens from the pocket were very damaged or the crystals were coated giving them a brownish colour, so this specimen was the best one seen.

Down to Mineral Decor, they had several specimens of green Heulandite from Chalisgaon, India.

Heulandite from Chalisgaon, India
Heulandite from Chalisgaon, India.

Owner Dr. Hemant Merchant showed us this cool botryoidal red-orange Fluorite that he had just sold, great colour!

Botryoidal Fluorite

Lastly, but not least was a stop into The Collector's Edge. The Edge had several new finds. The first was some amazing Elbaite Tourmalines with Quartz and Albite from Paprock, Afghanistan. All of the Tourmalines have come from one very large pocket, excavated over the last few months. There were two types of Tourmalines found in the pocket, the first with flat pinacoid terminations with yellow to green caps, up to 6 inches in height and as wide as a soda can.

Tourmaline from Paprock, Afghanista
Tourmaline with Quartz and Albite from Paprock, Afghanistan.

Tourmaline from Paprock, Afghanistan
Tourmaline from Paprock, Afghanistan

The other form of Tourmaline has a pyramidal termination and is more blue green in colour, and has been found up to 45cm in height. Steve Behling was kind enough to show me this super example.

Tourmaline from Paprock, Afghanistan
Tourmaline  from Paprock, Afghanistan.

Both types of Tourmaline are found in the same pocket, and there are even specimens that have both types of the Tourmaline together. The Tourmalines are all very aesthetic specimens, and there are no repairs and they are undamaged. The size of the specimens plus the fact they are all unrepaired and undamaged indicates that it must have been a very large pocket, what an amazing experience it must have been to find it!

The Edge also had some brand new Silver bearing minerals from Bouismas Mine, Morocco. Analysis is on going, but it is currently thought that the specimens are dominantly Allargentum with Schachnerite, Dyscrasite and Native Silver. Some of the specimens have the characteristics of primary Allargentum with pseudooctahedral crystals, if this is the case they may be the best of species found to date. Other specimens have forms resembling Dyscrasite from Pribram, and are likely to be Allargentum pseudomorphing Dyscrasite. Some specimens look like Native Silver but do not have the same physical properties. These specimens were found just before the Munich show last year. We look forward to the final study results!

Allargentum from morocco
New Allargentum, Schachnerite and Dyscrasite from Bouismas Mine, Morocco

Allargentum Morocco
Allargentum, Morocco

The Edge had a brand new Emerald specimen on display from Zamibia, and what a killer! This specimen is new since the Munich show, having only been recently finished preparation. Elongate prismatic crystals grow in different directions and you can see the curved growth of the crystals, and where the Emeralds were natural broken and rehealed by Quartz. This specimen took 150 hours to prepare, and the Quartz was carefully removed to reveal the Emeralds, but still remain to strengthen the specimen. And this specimen is unrepaired! I don't even like to think of the stress in just transporting the specimen to the show. The latest Mineralogical Record features an article on the Emeralds from Zamibia.

Emerald from Zamibia
Emerald specimen from Zambia

Set up for the main show is in a few days time, and we are looking forward to seeing the displays on the Gems and Gem Minerals. In the next day we will also have  an update of new minerals that we have acquired at the show.

Author: Robin
Categories: News & Information

News Categories

News Archive