Denver Show report part 3

16 September 2008

Friday was the opening on the Denver Gem and Mineral show at the Merchandise Mart, several blocks away from the Holiday Inn.

It was hard to judge just how busy the show was. Many people had commented that foot traffic seemed to be down this year, particularly at the Holiday Inn, but the main show seemed to be constantly bustling the entire time which was great to see.

Crystal Classics shared the usual booth with Kristalle this year. We had so many great specimens to display, and with Dona's decorating skills the room looked really spectacular. I was manning the room at the Holiday Inn, so was not there for set up day, and it was very impressive to walk into the finished room at the main show on opening morning.

One side of our booth
One side of our booth.

Here is a snippet of some of my favourite minerals that we had on display.

Cobaltoan Calcite, Mupine Mine, DR Congo
Cobaltoan Calcite with super colour from Mupine Mine, Kolwezi, Katanga, DR Congo.

Vanadinite from Mibladen, Morocco
Very rich Vanadinite from Mibladen, Morocco

Spessartine Garnet from Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Gemmy and lustrous Spessartine Garnet from Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Azurite display
Azurites on display, many from Arizona, USA

Azurite with Malachite from Bisbee, Arizona
Azurite with Malachite from Bisbee, Arizona, USA

Tourmalines
Two of my favourite Tourmalines, I just love these colours, and the unusual sceptre form of the one on the right. Both are from Barra de Salines Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Mimetite, San Pedro Corralitos, Mexico
Bright yellow Mimetite from San Pedro Corralitos, Mexico on left and superbly formed Acanthite from Reyes Mine, Guanajuato, Mexico.

In the room next door was Collector's Edge. They had another spectacular display of the new 'neon green' Fluorites from Riemvasmaak, South Africa. I know I have already talked about these (see my show report part 2) but they are just so nice, I couldn't resist photographing a few more specimens.

neon green Fluorite from Riemvasmaak, South Africa
Neon green Fluorite from Riemvasmaak, South Africa

Collector's Edge were also premiering a new find of Native Gold from Colorado Quartz Mine, Mariposa County, California. These caused a bit of a stir with the two best pieces snapped up almostly instantly as the doors opened on opening morning.

Gold from Colorado Quartz Mine, California
One of the best - nicknamed the 'Bristlecone', a jaw dropping Gold from Colorado Quartz Mine, California. The specimen was approx 15cm high.

The Golds have come out this year, and over the last few months of last year. The Gold is found in Quartz, particularly cavities in Quartz. Collector's Edge have done the prep work themselves, most of which was mechanical work, keeping the crystal form of any prismatic Quartz crystals in the cavities.

Golds from Colorado Quartz Mine, California

Golds from Colorado Quartz Mine, California
New Golds from Colorado Quartz Mine, California.

Heading across the hall into the booth of Stuart Wilensky of Wilensky Fine Minerals, these two minerals caught my eye.

Tourmaline var Indicolite with Quartz from Pederneira Mine, Brazil
What a great piece with Quartz perched on an Indicolite Tourmaline crystal. From Pederneira Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Calcite on Fluorite with Sphalerite from Elmwood Mine, Tennessee
I am quite partial to specimens from Elmwood Mine, Tennessee, and this gemmy Calcite on Fluorite with Sphalerite was rather nice.

Further down the hall was Evan Jones, and he had another of the new finds at the show - a new batch of Azurites and Malachite pseudomorphs of Azurites from Milpillas Mine, Sonora, Mexico. Azurites from this mine were one of the new finds at Tucson this year. All of these specimens in Evan's booth are new since Tucson.

Evan holding one of the new finds
Evan Jones, holding one of the new Azurites from Milpillas

Azurite from Milpillas Mine, Mexico
Evan had been working on these two specimens when he realised.....

Azurite from Milpillas, Mexico
They actually fit together and were part of the same piece!

The Azurite plates were really interesting, sharply formed crystals, which when turned over were actually cementing together a gravel matrix.

Azurite cementing the matrix
The back of the Azurite plate, with the Azurite cementing together the matrix.

Azurite on Malachite, Milpillas Mine, Mexico
Azurite on Malachite from Milpillas

Malachite pseudo of Azurite from Milpillas, Mexico
Malachite pseudomorph of Azurite from Milpillas.

The Malachite pseudomorphs were very interesting. The majority were velvety Malachite, retaining the shape of tabular to more prismatic crystals, however some specimens had a bright lustre, and the crystals tended to be bladed in form. Evan thought it was possible the shinier lustre was caused by a micro layer of Azurite on the Malachite.

Sharing Evan's booth was Marcus J. Origlieri, from whom we had acquired earlier on the new Nifontovite specimens from Charcus, Mexico (click here) Marcus also had this new find of Cuprian Adamite from Ojuela Mine, Mexico which were found in the last two months.

Cuprian Adamite from Ojuela Mine, Mexico
New Cuprian Adamites from Ojuela Mine, Mexico.

Out onto the main floor I was introduced to Keith Proctor and Scott Rudolph. Scott has recently purchased Keith's collection and has since added to it with other specimens and collections, and they have formed a partnership. There were two cases featuring minerals from the collection, and the specimens are among some of the best you will see.

Keith Proctor and Scott Rudolph
Keith Proctor (L) and Scott Rudolph, in front of their case, with the favourite 'Big Red' Rhodochrosite captured in the middle.

Punters crowd around the case
The continual sight of collectors crowding around the two cases.

Keith Proctor and Scott Rudolph's case
one of the cases.

Big Red
Rhodochrosite from Sweet Home Mine, Colorado, nicknamed 'Big Red'. I have put photos of this piece in previous show reports, the red colour is just so vibrant, you just can't help but be drawn to it.

Gem Minerals
The collection is heavy with Gem Pegmatite Minerals - Tourmalines, Beryls (Morganites, Aquamarines, Heliodors, Emeralds), Spodumene var Kunzites etc. The specimens are very large and gemmy and are amongst some of the best examples in the world.

Achilles Heal Gold
25oz 'Achilles Shoe Nugget' found near Melbourne, Australia.

Keith believes that the most popular minerals are Rhodochrosite, Gold and Gem minerals, with the majority of money traded for specimens occuring for these specimens.


The Denver Gem and Mineral show is of course not just all minerals. There is a whole hall devoted to fossils, as well as dealers dotted through the rest of the show.

Fossil Hall
Fossil Hall

Green River Stone Company always has superb fossils in plates designed to be hung on a wall like a painting. This was the first time I had seen a Turtle fossil, the turtle was about 1 metre long.

Fossil Turtle
Fossil Turtle

Fossiled Ammonites
Canada Fossils had these very pretty and colourful Ammonites, from Southern Alberta, dated at approx 71 million years old.


This year the theme of the show was 'Colorado Minerals' which instantly brings to mind the classics - Sweet Home Rhodochrosites, Pikes Peak Amazonite, Golds etc, which lend to creating colourful displays.

Rhodochrosites from Sweet Home Mine, Colorado
Display of Rhodochrosites from Sweet Home Mine - the state mineral of Colorado. This case was the C. E. 'Shorty' Withers Trophy winner.

Amazonite and Smoky Quartz from Park Co, CO
Amazonite with Smoky Quartz

Colorado Minerals from Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Display of Colorado Minerals from Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Gold from Farncombe Hill, Breckenridge, and Ground Hog Mine, CO, Rhodochrosite Sweet Home Mine, CO
Native Gold at the rear from Farncomb Hill, Breckenridge; Rhodochrosite from Sweet Home Mine, and two Gold wires at the front from Groundhog Mine (part of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science display)

Colorado School of Mines display
Display by the Colorado School of Mines - specimens chosen for their uniqueness, history, reputations and beauty.

The Collector's Edge had a fantastic display in the front cabinet facing the entrance to the show.

Colorado Minerals from Collector's Edge
One side of the Collector's Edge display

Colorado Minerals from Collector's Edge
The other side

A really neat display was one of old stock certificates for Colorado mines, set with a mineral specimen from that mine.
Share Certificates

I bumped in to Jolyon of www.mindat.org at the display cases, who was busily photographing the displays for his show reports

Jolyon of Mindat
Jolyon of www.Mindat.org

There were many other interesting displays including displays from personal collections. This display of thumbnails from the collection of Ralph Clark was just superb. For me, seeing collections like this is really inspiring in how to create a collection that you love, as the pieces all work together as a whole , and each individual piece is just stunning on its own.

Collection of Ralph Clark

Pyrite on Emerald
What a stunner, Pyrite crystals on Emerald from Chivor, Colombia - divine!

Proustite and Metautunite
Proustite from Chile, and Meta-Autunite from Brazil

Benitoite
John Veevaert of Trinity Minerals, was also stood nose pressed to the glass of this case, his eye fixed on the Benitoite and Neptunite specimen above. John rates this as one of the top Benitoite specimens in the world - and this is coming from a Benitoite expert! Very aesthetic.

There were fun collector's displays like this one:
Preston and Grandpa Ed collecting in Leadville
Preston and Grandpa Ed's Rock Collecting Trip to Leadville.

It is good to see the youngest generation is keeping the interest in minerals and collecting, and better still just having fun!

The National Museum of Scotland had an interesting display on Mt Vesuvius in Italy.
National Museum of Scotland display

Coin in Lava
Interesting artifacts of a coin embedded in lava; and lava with lettered impression. The coin is dated 1825 and is one used only in mainland Italy (Naples). It was common practise in the 19th century for coins to be embedded in molten lava.

So another show has successfully passed, it was fun to catch up with everyone, and to meet a few more people for the first time, to put more faces to the names.

The Dream Team
Time to break open the champagne, and from everyone in the Dream Team 'cheers!'

Author: Robin
Categories: News & Information