Tucson 2015 - 1st Report
3 February 2015
Early sunrise in Tucson after a very wet night.
Welcome to the first of the Crystal Classics show reports for Tucson 2015.
It's great to be back here and we hope to bring you just a little of the excitement the world's biggest annual mineral, fossil and gem show has to offer.
At Crystal Classics this year we have our largest selection of great mineral specimens than ever before.
Here in Tucson this year we will not just have our normal wide range of bargain-buy minerals specimens with the lowest prices and highest value for money in our regular wholesale room - The Mission Meeting Room suite at the Hotel Tucson City Centre, but we will also be opening for the first time a retail room in the foyer of the same hotel. Here you will be able to get a glimpse of some of the high grade specimens which will set the standard for our exhibits here this year. We'll of course be exhibiting at the Westward look show in a few days time and later at the TGMS show. We'll bring you a little of the flavour of what goes on at each of these events together with a selection of some of the greatest mineral specimens available to visiting collectors.
The first of the Crystal Classics team arrived here late on Sunday to rapidly deteriorating weather. The first couple of days were tolerable but as time has gone by the heavens have opened and we at this point have now seen in excess of 48 hours of near relentless rain.
It's the first time I personnally have seen rain during our stay here in Tucson. I guess the Cactus have to get a drink sometime!!
Flooding just outside the Hotel Tucson City Centre on Friday afternoon.
The orange trees within the grounds of the Hotel Tucson City Centre - before the rains came.
Our first task was as normal the set up of the tables at the Mission Room Suite.
Last years layout served us well, so we proceeded to duplicate this, setting out the tables and lights in a similar fashion.
Some 350 flats of our best ever wholesale stock had to be unwrapped from 14 crates out in the open air a long task that took six of us a few hours.
Pos and Frank wiring in the lighting for each of the tables at the the Mission Room.
Not just a case of laying out the flats of wholesale minerals we also have two glass fronted display cases to show off some of the highlights of the wholesale collection.
Simple and versatile halogen lighting does the job.
Peter Schlegel with Australian collector Frank Aloe who accompanied us for a week and was an immense help when it came to set up. Thanks guys.
Just a glimpse of some of the wholesale items.
As previously mentioned we had to set up a second room for the first time this year at the Hotel - to house some of the retail pieces. Set up at the second room which is normally a small gymnasium for guests of the hotel was not to commence until a couple of days later.
A view of the grand foyer and reception room at the Hotel Tucson City Centre.
This is the gymnasium - soon to be filled with great minerals.
....and the transformation begins.
Our glass display cases go in....
....and then filled with specimens.
A closer look at one of those cases.
The first day of opening at the wholesale room saw a queue forming outside the doors to our sale room.
It pays to let folks know what they might miss.
Plenty for everyone - minerals from Africa, Europe and many other worldwide locations.
Here's a tray of great British Fluorite specimens - one of many, and all at keystone prices.
It doesn't get better.
At times there wasn't a lot of room to move around the tables.
Before the retail room opened for trade I wanted to spend some time getting pictures of some of those minerals before they start selling. So here are a few of those pieces.
Please note that if any of these specimens are of interest, let us know and we will retrieve the specimen and answer any questions you have about the piece/s.
Deep blue Azurite "Lips" from Malbunka Copper Mine, Areyonga, Gardiner Range, MacDonnell Region, Northern Territory, Australia.
Caramel coloured and etched crystals of Vesuvianite from New York State, USA.
Rare salmon pink bladed Serandite crystals with flaky Polylithionite from Mont St. Hilaire, Quebec, Canada.
Very lustrous and richly coloured Grossular Garnet specimen from Vesper Peak, Sultan Basin, Sultan District, Snohomish Co., Washington, USA.
Well defined hexagonal crystals of Pyromorphite on a little matrix from
Bunker Hill Mine, Bunker Hill properties, Kellogg, Coeur d'Alene District, Shoshone Co., Idaho, USA.
Unusual "Cockscombe" aggregates of Azurite with Malachite from the Burra Copper Mine, Canbelego district, Flinders Co., New South Wales, Australia.
Dark orange well developed, square tabular Wulfenite crystal scattered across near pure white calcite matrix, from the Erupción Mine, Los Lamentos Mts, Mun. de Ahumada, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Dark yellowish green Pharmacosiderite crystals richly encrusting matrix from the classic Cornish location - Wheal Gorland, St Day United Mines, Gwennap, Camborne - Redruth - St Day District, Cornwall, England.
Liroconite crystals - another Great British specimen from the same location - Wheal Gorland, St. Day United Mines, Gwennap, Camborne - Redruth - St Day District, Cornwall, England.
Many will be aware that Crystal Classics has recently purchased the Milton Lavers Collection of fine specimens from Broken Hill, Australia.
This is just one of them - lustrous encrustations of Azurite crystals on matrix with a little Malachite from the Broken Hill Proprietary Mine, Broken Hill, Yancowinna Co., New South Wales, Australia.
Water clear, pencil point crystals of Calcite from the West Cumberland Iron Ore Field, Egremont , Cumbria, England.
Here are three great Fluorite specimens all from the North of England. Crystal Classics has recently acquired some of the best British Fluorites we have ever come across. Don't miss out - be sure to see what we have in our showrooms throughout the Tucson weeks. There are also some of these classics in our wholesale room.
Pale yellowish green interlocking cubes of Fluorite from West Pasture Mine, Stanhope, Weardale, North Pennines, Co. Durham, England.
Deep lilac and very fluorescent, interlocked, twinned crystals of Fluorite in association with Galena - from the Blackdene Mine, Ireshopeburn, Weardale, North Pennines, Co. Durham, England.
Greenish Yellow coloured cubes of Fluorite resting on Galena from West Pasture Mine, Stanhope, Weardale, North Pennines, Co. Durham, England.
Another Cornish Classic, this "Ladies Slipper" is made up of tiny crystals of Siderite which once coated a Baryte crystal that no longer remains. So, viewed from the other side, it appears hollow like a shallow slipper. Unique - from the Virtuous Lady Mine, Buckland Monachorum, Tavistock District, Devon, England.
Now to the French Alps for a couple of Alpine classics.
Above - a splendid group of smoky Quartz crystals resting randomly against one another, but with a solitary "Gwindel" formation attached to the right hand end.
From the Mont Blanc Massif, Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, France.
An old time specimen from Switzerland this time. A bed of lustrous black Magnetite crystals scattered across matrix and in association with a tiny Iron Rose of Hematite, Rutile, Adularia and Quartz from the Binn Valley, Wallis (Valais), Switzerland.
The original label for the above mentioned Magnetite specimen from Switzerland - hand written in ink on the inside of the lid of what we assume was the specimens original container.
Two great French Classics now.
The above is a shallow bed of rich green Pyromorphite crystals some showing "hoppered" structure - particularly on the better developed crystals.
From the Les Farges Mine, Ussel, Corrèze, Limousin, France.
A superb cluster clean, sharp, clove brown blades of Axinite crystals particularly well preserved from Le Rocher d'Armentier, Bourg d'Oisans, Isère, Rhône-Alpes, France.
As always at Tucson there is the eagerness to get out and find out what some of the other dealers have been up to - to see what new things they may have tucked away.I ventured out as soon as possible to see what I could find.
Here are just the earliest of the things that some of us came across at the Hotel Tucson City Centre. I'm sure other great finds will follow.
A few rooms along from the wholesale room at Crystal Classics I found Bruce Wood Minerals. He had a couple of interesting specimens. This pseudomorph (coating) of Prehnite after Glauberite took my eye.
An unusual piece - from Paterson, New Jersey, USA.
Bruce also had this flat plate of Gold flecks scattered across what appeared to be a Quartzite matrix:
Gold on Quartzite Matrix from Antofagasta, Chile.
Next door to us at the wholesale room, as they are most years are the Brazilian mineral and gem dealers Vasconcelos. The also have a marquee opposite us that is always worth investigating.
One of the first things that caught my eye was this huge cluster of Phenakite crystals measuring around 10 inches (25cm) from Brazil. Unfortunately the owners could not disclose the exact location for this piece.
Another specimen without full provenance was this Tourmaline from Minas Gerais, Brazil, made up of very fine fibres - needles almost.
I found this Fluor-Apatite specimen across the road in their Marquee -
Clusters of tiny blue crystals on Feldspar from the Golconda pegmatite, Golconda District, Governador Valadares, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil...
...and these Smoky quartz crystal clusters from Minas Gerais, Brazil.
I always try to get round to John Cornish's room - he always has a few interesting things This blue Fluorite with Baryte from a location I'm not familiar with - the Frustration Mine, Bernalillo Co., New Mexico, USA.
A plate of colourful, gemmy Tourmalines collected by John himself just a few weeks prior to the Tucson Show from the Himalaya Mine, Gem Hill, Mesa Grande District, San Diego Co., California, USA.
John also had this flat bed of bright gemmy Grossular Garnet crystals from Jeffrey Mine, Asbestos, Les Sources RCM, Estrie, Québec, Canada.
Dehne Mclaughlin from Australia had a selection of great pieces from Whim Creek Copper Mine, Whim Creek, Roebourne Shire, Western Australia, Australia including this superb pseudomorph of Chrysocolla after Azurite with associated tiny orange Wulfenite crystals. Dehne tells me that this location has not been mined for at least the last 10 years.
Another great piece I saw with Dehne - this Pyromorphite on Malachite from the Emerald Pocket, Rum Jungle, Brown's Prospect, Rum Jungle, Batchelor, Coomalie Shire, Northern Territory, Australia.
Well we're not done just yet but we have to draw a close to the first of our reports for Tucson 2015.
There's a lot more to follow.
We'll be setting up for the Westward Look event over the next couple of days and we hope to bring you more from the Crystal Classics room there as well as mineral delights from other dealers at the show and a little more from one or two of the other shows around town.
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