Tucson Show Report 1
7 February 2009
The Innsuites Report
Tucson has once again provided us with glorious sunny weather. I am a little bit sad that I am missing out on the major snow in the UK, but as everything grinds to a halt over there, I am feeling pretty happy in the glorious weather here. Unfortunately the Tucson colds have hit us again, and taken out a few of our crew for a day or so, myself included. Still it has been a nice start to the show, and it is good to be here.
View of the Innsuites
The Innsuites show is now nearly halfway through, with Westward Look just started.
Everyone has arrived at Tucson expecting the worst given the downward spiralling economic climate, and thankfully most people (including ourselves) have been pleasantly surprised. Most dealers are happy to report that their sales are ok, people who have come to the show are carefully buying, and the show for us has been very robust sales-wise. Foot traffic is way down, with some commenting it is the quietest show that they have ever seen. Car parks are half empty, but at least it means you can get around easily, and move around rooms.
Half empty car parks
Front of one of the Innsuites building - to be fair it was pretty early when I took this photo and it got busier as the day progressed.
There doesn’t seem to much new material at all this show, no major new finds that are the talk of the town, and not even that many new collections being brought to market. There is new material around though, and it is great to see that some people are still having successful mining seasons.
We have two retail rooms at the Innsuites (rooms 174, 175), exhibiting in conjunction with Kristalle, and we are pleased to have quite a lot of new material in our room.
Innsuites Room 175
Innsuites Room 174
We have a lot a wonderful material from the Reg Taylor Collection from Australia, which we purchased in conjunction with Allen Arnold of Canberra, Australia, including a really great selection of Native Sulphur from Agrigento, Sicily, Italy, with bright well formed crystals.
Native Sulphur from Agrigento, Sicily
Also several Opal specimens, including ‘Painted Lady’ opal from South Australia, and Boulder Opal from Queensland.
Boulder Opal from Queensland
Wonderful Crocoites from Tasmania
A selection of Native Coppers
Our wholesale room moved back to the Innsuites this year to the El Dorado Suite.
Wholesale Room - flats, and flats, and flats.....
We have thousands of new specimens this year from a large collection in Africa we purchased at the end of last year including some gorgeous Cactus quartz – lustrous, quite gemmy pieces with rich colour – some were so good we moved them back to retail.
Cactus Quartz from Pretoria, South Africa
We also have many pieces from Erongo, Peru, some lovely Dioptase from the Congo and a large suite of specimens from Malawi – Aegerines, Arfvedsonites and lots of rarities - plus other worldwide material. As we have literally 1000s of specimens we couldn’t bring it all the Tucson – if you are interested to find out more about any of our wholesale material, please contact us by clicking here.
Aegerines from Malawi
Around the Innsuites – John Seibel of Seibel Minerals had some very nice Barytes on Calcite from Elk Creek, South Dakota, USA – these pieces came from a private collection, and this is the first time they have been out. The Barytes are all perfect, gemmy and deeply coloured without the frosted surfaces, and the Calcite is great bright yellow which contrasts well - and John was pleased to say they were selling extremely well. He also had a great selection of Red Beryl from Wah Wah Mountains, Utah, USA.
Barytes from Elk Creek, and Red Beryl from Wah Wah Mts.
Collector’s Edge always have a beautiful room, with a wonderful display.
Display in the Collector's Edge room
Richard was on hand to show their display – I really liked this large and gemmy Cuprite from Red Dome Mine, Queensland, Australia
Cuprite from Red Dome Mine, Queensland, around 4cm high
and this supersweet Calcite which has come from the recent production at Elmwood Mine, Tennessee, USA.
Calcite from Elmwood
Collector’s Edge were very excited to be working Elmwood Mine for specimens, whilst it was in production for Zinc, however with the sudden drop in Zinc prices the mining operations ceased and the mine closed. It is currently on care and maintainence for 1 year, and there is hope that Zinc prices will go up again and the mine will reopen, and Collector’s Edge will have another chance to go into look for specimens. I am looking forward to seeing their booth at the Westward Look where they will have their best material from the recent mining operation at Elmwood.
On to Great Basin minerals I have a lovely chat with Scott Kleine about their mining for Quartz scepters at Jon Johnson’s Claim, Petersen Mountain, Nevada, USA, these specimens were found in July last year.
Quartz sceptres - sorry not a great photo, my camera just couldn't cope with the mirrors!
To learn more please see an article on their site by clicking here
Two benches down from the surface they found this glorious piece of Amethyst rough for faceting – the largest to come out at 870 ct. This zone is quite crushed up, but you can imagine just how amazing the scepter would have been if it was still complete.
Amethyst in the rough, ready for cutting.
They are quite excited as they go deeper with the mining, the colours of the Smoky and Amethyst are richer, so we look forward to the results of their next mining season!
Scott also showed me these amazing Exogenic Fulgurites from near Elko, Nevada – these are natural glasses formed as the result of lighting strikes hitting the ground (which in this case consisted of Quartz sand/pebbles with a low melting point).
A smiling Scott holds the Fulgurite.
The lighting strike literally melted the Quartz to form these amazing dark glassy forms, plus the airborne ‘splatters’ of the molten material formed gorgeous shapes, and were found hanging from the sagebrush.
An 'airborne splatter' exogenic Fulgurite from Elko, Nevada
As the site of the lighting strike was found very quickly these specimens were saved. Definitely amazing pieces! An article was written on the strike in Rocks and Minerals Sep/Oct 2004, Vol. 79, No. 5, pp334-340.
Francois Leitard had a beautiful display, including a lovely selection of Zircons from Pakistan – the crystals are sharp and lustrous on matrix, with deep reddish colour.
Zircons from Pakistan
Green Mountain Minerals also had many beautiful minerals including this very aesthetic Pyrite with Amethyst from Peru.
Pyrite and Amethyst from Peru
Around the corner in Charles Ward’s Fluorescent minerals was some glowingly colourful material, especially from Franklin, New Jersey. The Franklin mine closed in 1954. The material that you see today on the market is from old collections, quite often pieces that the miners brought out, and not material from the dumps. There were quite a lot of specimens of Esperite on display which fluoresce the bright yellow - this is a rare Lead Silicate, but is the most common of the rare minerals found there.
Esperite from Franklin, New Jersey
John Cornish is always a man with a smile on his face. He had lots of new material from his mining of Zeolites at the Rat’s Nest Claim, Idaho - it is really pretty material, pale pinks and peaches. John was really pleased to tell me that his best Mordenite specimen - a very large plate of Mordenite with minor Heulandite - was placed in the Taiwan Museum recently. Discussion with Indian dealers about Mordenite specimens have also led to the conclusion that the Rat's Nest Claim location is the best in the world for Mordenite, as no Indian locations, nor anywhere else, have produced the large plates of Mordenite crystals.
Mordenite, Heulandite, Stilbite specimens from Rat's Nest Claim, Idaho
John also had a new find of Native Gold from Mulatos Mine, Sonora, Mexico. It is a new find in an old mine, and the Gold has formed on Rhyolite, quite an unusual association. John acquired the lot.
New find of Gold with Pyrite and Quartz from Mulatos Mine, Sonora, Mexico.
Earth Gems of China had these funky looking balls of Pyrite and Shale measuring approx 30cm across.
Pyrite and Shale balls
Uruguay Amethyst & Specimens always have the most amazing Amethyst Geodes, they are on display across from the lobby and main entrance of the Innsuites so you can't help but stop and stare.....
Massive Amethyst Geode pair, thank you to the random person for being my scale.
And for some interesting specimens that we have in our booth - most people probably don't know what a great field collector Wayne Leicht is. He is credited with the discovery of Grandviewite back in the early 1970's when he and Dona were doing field work at the Grand Canyon. At the time Wayne was going to Cal State, and he was granted permission by the park service to map the mine for them, as part of his project. At the time the mineral was set aside as Mineral no.5, and was finally analysed, and approved IMA in 2007.
Leicht, W.C. (1971), Minerals of the Grandview mine, Mineralogical Record: 2: 214-221
Specimens of Grandviewite collected by Wayne, from Grand View Mine, Grand Canyon National Park.
Life at the shows is not all just about the minerals. We were very excited to be celebrating three big birthdays this year in our team, and we threw a suprise combined 160th party for Wayne, Lois and Ian (we will let you guess the math!). Gorgeous decorating and unbelieveable organisation by Dona; fantastic catering by Albert Hall, owner and chef of Acacia restaurant, Tucson, who is a two time 'Iron Chef' winner; dancing to the live music by the favourite Bad News Blues band, long time resident at the Chicago Bar - it was a really wonderful night and enjoyed by all.
The Birthday peoples!
Westward Look show report coming in the next few days!
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