Tucson Show Report 4 2012 TGMS

12 February 2012

The 58th annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show opened on Thursday morning 9th February with a special collection of exhibits featuring the Minerals of Arizona in recognition of Arizona’s State centennial.

The show started back in 1955 as a small gathering for rock and mineral collectors and has now become the climax of a collection of shows held throughout the later part of January and beginning of February each year, collectively the largest mineral, rock and fossil gathering in the world.

As many collectors will know Arizona has produced over its mining history some of the most colourful and spectacular mineral specimens to be found in the cabinets belonging to museums, educational establishments and collectors throughout the world. From the rich greens and blues of Malachite and Azurite from the Bisbee copper mines, to the vibrant oranges and reds of Wulfenites and Vanadinites from such famous mines as Red Cloud and North Geronimo. When we evaluate the rich gold and silver deposits also attributed to this state we begin to realise its considerable mineral wealth and importance in the history of mineral mining.

The show lived up to the challenge of exhibiting some of Arizona’s finest pieces in cabinets assembled by both private collectors as well as museums and organisations around the world. Many of the show cabinets were devoted to either one location or mine, whilst others were showcases for one particular species found at various locations across the State. Every cabinet had its story to tell.

Here are a couple of corker specimens to get you started on this, the first of our reports from TGMS.


An exquisite, vibrant blue botryoidal Azurite specimen from the Holbrook Shaft, Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Warren District, Cochise Co., Arizona, USA measuring around 20” in length. 
Owned by Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold.


A large fibrous and botryoidal Malachite from the Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Warren District, Cochise Co., Arizona, USA. Measuring around 18” x 14”.
Owned by Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold.

The day prior the show the Kristalle/Crystal Classics team convened in full force to set up the cabinets and displays in our booth at TGMS. The cabinets and mineral specimens had to be transferred from our previous locations at the Hotel Tucson City and Westward Look venues which were now closed for business, to the new location at the Tucson Convention Centre. All hands were on deck.


Ian and Robbie looking through the stock deciding where each specimen should be located.


Dona and Diana meticulously caring for each individual piece.


Wayne,  keeps a careful watch over the proceedings.


Lois carefully arranges the gold specimens in one of our narrow, vertical cases.


Dave Spiller bringing a couple of our larger specimens.


Every piece is carefully sorted and allocated to a particular cabinet.
Robbie and Audrey selecting specimens.


Liz putting in some of the final touches to one of the displays.


Lloydy sorting out a technical hitch. One of many!!


A well earned break for a few.
(L to R, Wayne, Dave Spiller, Diana and Tana).


Audrey, Stephanie and Robbie relax a little.

On the morning of the opening, the show chairman Paul Harter introduced the Governor of Arizona, who officially opened the event:


Governor Jan Brewer kicks off the start of the 58th annual Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson, Arizona.
To the right in the background Paul Harter, show chairman of the TGMS.


Mayor Jonathan Rothschild with presentation for TGMS show chairman Paul Harter.


Peter Megaw speaking with Governor Jan Brewer.


Governor Jan Brewer inspects the items in Wayne and Dona's display case illustrating some of the historical aspects of the minerals of Arizona.


Wayne  and Dona’s collection of minerals, books, maps and artifacts depicting the history of mining in Arizona.
One of many fascinating world class displays at the show.

Here's a closer view of three of Wayne and Dona’s specimens from that cabinet:


A beautiful cluster of wafer thin Wulfenite plates intermingled with tiny deep vibrant green Dioptase micros from the The Mammoth St. Anthony Mine, Tiger, Pinal County, Arizona.


Chrysocolla pseudomorphs after Azurite from the Schulze Claim (Oxhide Mine), Miami, Gila County, Arizona.
Interlocked crystals to about 5/8” inch in size.


From the Mammoth St. Anthony mine again, this particularly fine pale blue aggregate of Leadhillite crystals.
The specimen reaches around 2” with individual crystals to a few millimetres.

Wayne and Dona also have in their collection two specimens of Wulfenite which have found fame through being depicted on the front cover of two of the Arizona copies of The Mineralogical Record:

This 1.3/4” Red Cloud Wulfenite piece was the front cover specimen for the 1980 May/June issue of Mineralogical Record “Arizona 1” pictured below (Centre copy).


The Arizona IV issue of The Mineralogical Record, March/April 1981, pictured above, carried this Wulfenite (below) from Old Yuma Mine, Tucson, Pima Co., Arizona, on it’s front cover.

Early in the morning George Elling called by the booth to talk with Ian and Diana.

With time passing, I needed to get to see exactly what was in the rest of those show cabinets.

One of my first calls was to the cabinet with specimens belonging to Bill and Robbie McCarty who over the years have put together a fine collection of superb miniatures from Arizona at the University of Arizona in Tucson.


A small selection of some of Robbie's miniatures.


Another outstanding Wulfenite from Red Cloud Mine, Silver District, Trigo Mts, La Paz Co., Arizona, USA.


One of my favourites for the show - a superb golden yellow coloured calcite with inclusions of Chalcotrichite from the Ray Mine, Pinal County, ASrizona, USA.

The American Museum of Natural History had a couple of great specimens in their cabinet:


This Linarite (in part covered by what appears to be Brochantite) measured around 4” x 2” with individual crystals to 2”


A reticulated Cerussite from Mammoth, Tiger, Pinal County, Arizona was particularly good measuring around 2.1/2" across.

The American museum also had this recognisable material most often seen on mineral stalls as inexpensive geological samples:


Peridotite xenoliths in basalt from the San carlos Indian Reservation.
This specimen had been sawn to reveal the peridotite xenoliths.

Searching for the more unusual pieces amongst the copper minerals from Arizona, I came across few spectacular pieces from private collections. The first was this really attractive Azurite from Bisbee.


A superb Azurite piece belonging to Paul Harter. Globular, richly coloured, fine grained, banded Azurite with what appears to be a secondary growth of darker crystallized hemispheres. The piece measures around 4” long.
From the Holbrook Shaft, Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Warren District, Cochise Co., Arizona, USA


This Connellite piece had needles extending into the cavity up to nearly ½” in length.
A very rich specimen with the cavity measuring 2” overall length. From The Czar Shaft, Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Warren District, Cochise Co., Arizona, USA
Harvard Mineral Museum Specimen.

Also from the Czar Shaft of the Copper Queen Mine was this Calcite with Chalcotrichite inclusions:


The specimen measures 7” in length and belongs to the Graeme family.


A particularly pretty piece was this pristine Cyanotrichite from the Grandview Mine, Coconino, County, Arizona.
With radiating rich blue coloured tufts spanning a shallow 1.1/2” inch cavity/vein section of matrix. Beautiful colour.
The specimen belongs to Malcolm Alter.

Not all the display cases were dedicated to Arizona. A few collectors had their own displays of minerals with a different theme.

The first I came across was the case containing Feldspar group Minerals, owned and compiled by Jesse Fisher and Joan Kureczka. A surprising array of fine crystallised pieces some of considerable scarcity.


A closer view of one part of Jesse and Joans collection.

One of the cabinets on display was that arranged by the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada.
Their particular theme was a collection of fine crystals and minerals from Mount Malosa, Zomba Region, Malawi:


A particularly rare and fine example of Niobophyllite from the Zomba district measuring around 2"


Another rarity from the same location.

To round off this initial report from TGMS it was nice to see a cabinet filled with a few objects more related to the general history of Arizona. The cabinet arranged by the Arizona Historical Society had some items of significant historical importance:


The rifle at the centre was recieved by John P. Clum, agent for the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in the Arizona Territory from Geronimo in 1877.
The revolver in the front belonged to Wyatt Earp.

Stay Tuned. There will be more minerals in the next day or so!

Author: Dave Whipp
Categories: News & Information