The theme of this year's TGMS show was Gems and Gem Minerals and the displays ranged from many 'rough and cut' displays with a natural mineral specimen and a cut stone of the same mineral, to displays of just gemstones to displays of just gem minerals. There was also displays of more unusual minerals not commonly thought of as gemstone material, and of course general mineral displays which I posted in part 1 of this report. It does help if you are a 'stick' person ( a liker of elongate gem minerals such as Tourmalines, Beryls, Topaz) to enjoy many of the gem mineral displays, but regardless some of the displays were pretty jaw dropping.
This is the first time that the TGMS has had a theme that specifically involves gemstones. So what is a gem?
A gem material is something that is fashioned (such as cut and polished) and used for decoration or personal adornment. This includes gemstones in jewellery to inlays in furniture. Almost any mineral could in fact be used as a gem material, however those chosen to be used as a gemstone (especially as faceted gemstones) have qualities of beauty (colour, lustre, transparency), durability (ability to resist damage by their hardness or toughness), rarity, optical properties (fire and brilliance as seen in diamonds, chatoyancy as seen in cat's eye tourmalines and asterism as seen in star sapphires), and of course the influence of fashion. Most people know the popular gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires - so this show was a great chance for people to see superb examples of the more well known gems, but also to see the huge variety of more rarely seen gems.
To start with we have to show the gem display of the GIA, handily located opposite our booth it gave me the chance to admire the kaleidoscope of colours every day.
GIA Gemstone display - 'He fancied himself to be gazing into the interior of Paradise - William Chambers 1862, writing about an Arabian prince looking at a gem'
I thought this display was just stunning. I had a lovely conversation with Terri Ottaway from the GIA about the exhibit. The GIA was very excited about the theme of the show, as this gave them a chance to put on a spectacular display of gemstones, and to reach a different audience. The focus of the display was to exhibit the variety of gems and the variety of colours that occur, hence no locations were given to the stones as they wanted to fit as many stones into the display and give as much variety as possible.
About 80% of the gemstones are from the collection of the late Dr. Edward J. Gübelin, a Swiss Gemmologist well known for his pioneering work on gemstone inclusions.
The GIA spent approximately 2 months working on and off to create a mock up of the display in their collections room back at the GIA headquarters. When they put together the display at the show, they discovered that the due to the different lighting in the display case many of the gemstone appeared a slightly different colour, particularly a Rhodochrosite which appeared pink in their collection room, but a bright orangey-pink in the showcase lights. They then had to rearrange the order of the stones on the day to form the continuous rainbow of colour. The end result was superb.
Gem displays by the GIA
Behind the GIA case was the superb display by HAMS - Houston Area Mineral Society. I happened to catch HAMS member Robert Thacker at the case, and he pointed out some of his minerals.
Robert Thacker in front of the HAMS display.
Cut stones, with 123 carat Fluorite from Bulachi, Pakistan at the front, and left to right - 33 ct pinkish Fluorite - Gilgit, Pakistan; 14 ct Iolite (Corderite) - India; 17 ct Grossular - Sri Lanka; 16 ct blue Apatite - Madagascar; 37 ct Fluorite - Pakistan.
HAMS display - rough and cut Beryls - Heliodor, Morganite and Aquamarine.
HAMS display - rough and cut (left to right) colourless Dolomite, green Peridot, pink Rhodochrosite, smoky Cerussite, yellow and blue Corundum var. Sapphire.
Next door to HAMS was the display was the MAD display (Mineralogical Association of Dallas) focusing on gem mineral specimens.
MAD display of gem minerals
The three central Emerald specimens from Coscuez Mine, Colombia were just killer, the specimen in the centre must have been at least 10cm tall, with huge Emerald crystals.
Emeralds from Colombia
The Wayne R. Sorensen Family trust displayed a selection of Pegmatite Gems, quite mind boggling to see in person.
Pegmatite Gem Minerals.
Gene and Roz Meieran and Bill and Will Larson produced a superb display of gemstone minerals from world wide locations.
Gem minerals from Meieran and Larson.
Gorgeous Kunzites, Aquamarines, Tourmalines, Morganites and Helidors.
There were many rough and cut exhibits, all of excellent quality, so I have chosen a few of the more unusual cut stones:
Rick Kennedy had a great selection of unusual rough and cut gems:
Rough and cut Wulfenite - Red Cloud Mine on the left, a massive 5.04 ct Tsumeb Wulfenite gemstone centre, and Ahumada Mine, Mexico on the right.
Unusual rough and cut - Clinohumite - Tajikistan (L), Thaumasite - South Africa (centre), Eudialyte - Canada (R)
The Natural History Museum of LA County, California (a museum that is definitely worth visiting for its mineral displays) had a superb display of California rough and cut gemstones.
Californian rough and cut gemstones.
The display would not be complete without the Californian state gemstone Benitoite. I love this specimen.
Rough and cut Benitoite.
The Royal Ontario Museum's display of rough and cut minerals was of Rare gemstones of Canada.
ROM's display of rare Canadian gemstones
Rough and cut Catapleiite - there can't be too many gemstones of Catapleiite around!
Edward Swoboda had a very comprehensive display of rough and cut, including a selection of Benitoite gemstones laid out to create a necklace at the top centre.
Edward Swoboda display
Edward had a very nice selection of cat's eye Tourmalines, Diaspore and Kyanite. Cat's eye gemstones occurs when the crystal has many fine needle-like inclusions all orientated in the same direction. The optical effect is revealed when the gemstone is cut as a cabochon with the bottom of the cabochon is parallel to the inclusions. A single band of light appears to hover on the surface of the gemstone like the pupil of a cat's eye at 90 degrees to the direction of the inclusions - the sharper the band of light, the finer the stone.
Cat's eye gemstones.
Garnet of course is one of the more well known, and more commonly found gem minerals, although not always found in a quality suitable for cutting. Wendy and Frank Melanson of L'Amable, Ontario, Canada had this excellent display of Grossular Garnets and associated minerals from Jeffrey Pit, Asbestos , Canada
'A Cornucopia of Grossular Colours' - Grossular Garnets from Jeffrey Pit, Canada
This sweet Corundum caught my eye in one display - I am sorry I did not record whose case it was but unusual colour and form.
Corundum from Afghanistan
Victor Yount displayed a suite of Calcites of both mineral specimens and cut stones. Calcite with hardness of 3 is too soft to be used as a gemstone in jewellery, but due to the range of colours, the strong double refraction (writing viewed through a Calcite crystal will appear doubled) and occurrence of transparent crystals it makes a beautiful faceted gemstone.
And for a different take on gemstones Bill and Diana Dameron exhibited a display of 'Black Beauties' - metallic minerals falling into the groups of Sulphides and Oxides.
Galena and Sphalerite on the left from Bulgaria; a cut Sphalerite gemstone from Spain center; and Sphalerite with Galena and Pyrite from Ireland on right.
Dr Georg Gebhard exhibit a display on Tsumeb, Namibia - as he states the mine can be called a gem amongst the mineral deposits of the earth due to the range and quality of mineral specimens found here. His display includes this Phosgenite cut gemstone, labelled as the largest cut stone of Phosgenite - 200ct!
200ct cut stone of Phosgenite from Tsumeb.
Our good friends at the Natural History Museum in London brought over the Hope Chrysoberyl as one of the feature displays. This is a 45 carat Chrysoberyl from Brazil circa 1821 and once belonged to Henry Philip Hope, famous for being one-time owner of the Hope Diamond. The Chrysoberyl is described as 'absolutely flawless...probably by far the finest cut example of this type of Chrysoberyl known' by Herbert Smith in his text book "Gemstones".
Hope Chrysoberyl, Brazil - 45ct.
Another feature display was this crown - the Marie Louise Diadem, on display from the Smithsonian institute. The Diadem was a wedding present in 1810 from Emperor Napoleon I to his second wife, Empress Marie Louise. It contains more than 1000 diamonds totallying approx 700 cts, surrounding Persian Turquoise. The diadem originally was set with 79 Emeralds, which must have been just breath taking.
Marie Louise Diadem
The (blurry - sorry!) image of the diadem set with Emeralds - courtesy Van Cleef and Arpels
A Diadem is a crown that encircles the head, different to a tiara which is semi-circular going only partially around the front of the head.
The Smithsonian also had a superb display of cut gemstones.
Display of gemstones from the Smithsonian - due to the bad weather on the East Coast a portion of the display had not arrived in time - it looked pretty sensational as it was!
Gemstones of Tourmalines in the Smithsonian display
Gemstones of Spinel - definitely an undervalued gemstone, it has excellent colours, and a high hardness of 7.5 - 8.
And to finish it was the display of Imperial Topaz from the show poster.
Imperial Topaz from Ouro Preto, Brazil. The colour was so amazing that it did not look real.
So that is Tucson over for another year. All in all it was a good show. Attendance seemed to be up and down through out the show, several days of the main show were jam packed with people, but there did seem to be less people around at shows such as the Innsuites. The TGMS main show was slightly different this year with more displays, and it seemed less mineral dealers and more jewellery dealers. Sale reactions were mixed also - some jewellers seemed to have struggled through the show, others reported that sales on opening day alone were better than their whole show last year - hopefully for everyone it ended up a great show.
Until next time!