Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tucson - Day 1

I'm down in Tucson, Arizona, visiting the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. Actually, it's several dozen different shows, each with many, many dealers selling rocks, minerals, gems, fossils, meteorites, jewellery, and more.

I'm really tired, because while I made a short connection at O'Hare yesterday, one of my bags didn't, so I ended up spending another two hours in the Phoenix airport waiting for it to catch up with me.

Today, I spent the whole day at one of the Arizona Mineral and Fossil Shows, at the Clarion Hotel on Alvernon. Lots of very beautiful minerals, most out of my price range! In fact, I'd like to title this day "in quest of the 6-figure specimen".

To start off with, this past summer there was a nice find of amethyst at Jackson's Crossroads in Wilkes County, Georgia, and they were available at Mountain Gems and Minerals. The color is really good, but as you can see, I'm still only at 4 figures.

Gold, of course, is always good for a nice price, and this native gold from Mineral Exploration Services at Lehigh Minerals is no exception. But we're still only at 4 figures.

Next, I was off to see Jordi Fabre at Fabre Minerals, one of Spain's premier dealers.

He had some really beautiful items, including this aquamarine in the high 4 figures.

Another nice piece was this rhodochrosite from the classic location of the Sweet Home Mine, from Isaias Casanova at IC Minerals. Amazing color!

To get to 5 figures, I went to Matrix India, where M. F. Makki had this really gigantic green apophyllite on stilbite from Momin Akhada, near Rahuri, Ahmednagar District, Maharashtra State, India. These deposits are often found when wells are being dug.

It's hard to tell from the photo, but this specimen is the size of a small refrigerator!

But to get to 6 figures, I had to go to Ausrox, where an amazing Pakistani aquamarine was on sale for $100,000. A little out of my price range!

Whew, all those expensive minerals have me exhausted. Now it's time to go see some rare ones.

The goal of the species collector is to have an example of every known mineral. Since there are more than 4,000 minerals currently known, with dozens of new ones found each year, this can be a real challenge. Luckily, at Tucson there are people to help.

Tony Nikischer runs Excalibur Mineral Corporation. He brought over 3100 different species to Tucson, and was kind enough to let me look through his flats of rare minerals. He also does mineral analysis, and edits Mineral News. There's even a mineral named after him! Here's his smiling face:

And another nice gentleman is Dr. Jaroslav Hyršl, co-author of the wonderful reference book Minerals and Their Localities. He's also got lots of rare species, mostly from Europe, and is very knowledgeable and friendly.

Well, that's all for today. Stay tuned, I may have some surprises later.

1 comment:

Carl said...

I used to attend the Tucson show when I lived in Arizona; it's always a treat. Nice to be reminded of it. Thanks!