Friday, February 22, 2013

Tucson part 2: Hotel shows

Shows take place all over the city and a lot of time is needed to explore all them. In addition to the many mineral shows are fossil shows, shows with beads and cheap jewelry, shows with healing crystals, shows with meteorites and some with a little bit of all of that.
The first show we visit is called the Westward Look show (after the hotel it's held at). This is a show with expensive high-end mineral specimens. We rarely buy anything here but we do love to look.

We are joined this year by new Gem and Mineral Council Board member Joel Siegel. It's his first trip to Tucson, he wants to buy a dioptase and we decide to bring him here first just to mess with him.
Bill Larson has a pretty rhodocrosite to show off.
Many beautiful displays, these rooms are like small mineral museums but with better lighting. Courtesy Alain Martaud.
Crocoite. Courtesy Christophe Gobin.
Such nice specimens, so not going to happen (this year!). Courtesy: Kosner family.
We also saw these at AGTA, purple quahog pearls! I really liked them, maybe because I used to eat stuffed quahogs while living in Rhode Island. Courtesy: Cal Graeber.
This opal, on the other hand, is really not speaking to me!
Invariably we run into other museum folks. Nice to see you, Mike Rumsey (Senior Curator, Natural History Museum London) Jorgen Langhof (Curator, Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm) and Alan Hart (Head of Earth Sciences Collections, Natural History Museum London).
In Christophe Gobin's room are some beautiful new pyrites on hematite from Elba, Italy.
We are thrilled to find out he is donating one to the museum!  Merci beaucoup Christophe!
Dealer Alain Martaud also made a wonderful donation, a fluorite from Wise mine, New Hampshire, still on quartz matrix. We have an octahedron from the mine but the colorless overgrowth was removed, and this great piece is unmodified, we will add it to our display case at the main show!
Alain also had some fun stuff to show us, a plumbogummite (after baryte) from Badenweiller, Black Forest, Germany and a vivid blue fluorite from Puy Saint Gulmier, Puy de Dôme, France. We have no blue fluorite in the collection and would especially love that one if we find a donor!

Belgian geologist Valère Berlage had read Eloïse's blog post on new azurite and malachite deposits in Congo. He very kindly offered to donate a reference piece of the material!
He also "donated" some killer Belgian chocolates! Merci Valère!
A few other things we liked include this nice tantalite in Mineral Classic's room. I think the American Museum of Natural History may have bought this guy, so yay!

We want one of these French fluorites so badly, but who doesn't?  Seeing P.O.R. (price on request) is never a good sign.

Time to get out of there. We are heading over to Marty Zinn's show at Hotel Tucson City Center. Still called the Inn Suites. This a great show with hundreds of dealers and a huge variety of mineral specimens, we always find specimens for the collection here and I'm sure we will find a dioptase for Joel that costs less than $100,000.

Just like last year, the hotel courtyards and volleyball courts are filled with giant dinosaur statues for sale.
Including these guys, wrapped and ready to ship!
We stop to chat with Tomasz Praszkier of Spirifer Minerals. He has nice corundums on matrix from Madagascar that are on our list.  He also lead a mineral trip to Poland for Mindat that everyone raved about. We are interested in having him lead a similar trip for the Gem and Mineral Council. It sounds so great, we are ready to go now!
A visit with Rock Currier of Jewel Tunnel Imports.

Nice to see Joe Marty, micromounter, discoverer of new minerals, frequent collaborator with Tony Kampf.
Rick Kennedy of Earth's Treasures has a lot of California minerals, including spectacular benitoites.
He gives the museum quartz from the California Blue mine in San Bernardino County, thanks Rick!
Rick always has California minerals and California wines. Good times! He also tells us that the source of the Calfornia demantoid garnets is a guy named Shawn. He knows Shawn is in Tucson but isn't sure how to find him, he'll ask around!
A gold crystal from Venezuela in Jungle Buyer's room.
Looks great like this, yes?
I showed Joel some affordable and lovely dioptase from Kazakhstan but he has seen the Westward Look specimens and is spoiled. He finds a nice one at Green Mountain Minerals. Let the haggling begin...
We grab a drink and wait...
Success, Joel is happy and buys the museum corundum and a star rose quartz from Madagascar, thanks Joel!  You'll be cursing us later as your mineral collecting addiction grows!
We have some impromptu planning meetings with GMC board member Danusia Niclewicz, time to talk strategy!
Another thing on the list are these faceted kunzite from the Oceanview mine in San Diego County, CA. Eloïse finds a few nice ones but we cant get them just yet, we need to find a donor first.

We spend several days at the Inn Suites, as well as a few other hotel shows like the Pueblo show and the Holidome. We usually visit the Ramada which has fossils and meteorites, and the Days Inn with many foreign mineral dealers. Great bargains can be found there. Minerals that might need a little cleaning but good minerals with very reasonable prices. Unfortunately we were in a rush this year, need to make sure we spend more time there next year.
Our team often split up to try and visit more of the smaller shows. I was determined to see more of the CA garnets. Rick Kennedy tells us that Shawn is hanging out over at the annex behind the River Park Hotel. Cool! After lurking around for an hour or two, I finally meet him. He and his father discovered the garnet outcrop decades ago but the Bureau of Land Management shut down access to area due to asbestos hazards (natural outcrops of chrysotile asbestos). Shawn can't even get to his mine right now. These are old stones that he has been cutting. He has about 8 or 10 of them, some larger than the ones we saw at GJX. Eventually Eloïse and Tony see them. Tony is surprised by their green color and thinks that one is nice enough to be displayed in the vault and the museum should really have it for the California gems display! We still need a donor. Much begging and pleading to the Gem and Mineral Council members commences. To be continued...

Since Tucson is the biggest get-together for the mineral community, it's not all work, there are a lot of parties. One that we were really excited about was Kristalle/Crystal Classics party at Wayne and Dona Leicht's house. This is always a costume party and we were so excited to be invited to this years 1950's theme party!  How fun to see guests from all over the world interpret the 1950's.
Eloïse, being French, had no idea what to do. Delphine Leblanc from Tiffany's in New York is also French and knew exactly what to do! Thanks for the help Delphine!
Two Marilyn Monroes!  Diana Schlegel (Crystal Classics) and Tomasz Praszkier (Spirifer Minerals).
Penny Williamson (University of Woolongong, Australia) Jean-Claude Boulliard (La Sorbonne, France), Eloïse, and Tomasz.
Brice Gobin, a little later...
Jolyon and Katya Ralph of
(Later addition by Eloïse: Alyssa & Christoph Keilmann at the 1950's party -revenge-. Photo by Mark Mauthner).
(Another later addition: Katherine Dunnel (Royal Ontario Museum) & Alyssa. Photo by Mark Mauthner).
From left to right: Alyssa, Dona Leicht and Delphine Leblanc.

Oh great, back at the Inn Suites bright and early the next morning! Getting ready to get up and go find some minerals!  Alyssa with Jamie Newman (American Museum of Natural History, New York).
Can't get enough of these Madagascar tourmaline slices from Polychrom.
There were neat pyrites from Merelani, Tanzania, with interesting morphologies. Roy Foerster, Gem and Mineral Council Treasurer bought us a flat of them. Thanks Roy!!
Look at these guys, aren't they fun?  We will have a few extra to auction off at the GMC Annual Meeting on April 28th.
As we start to get ready for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society Show (the Main Show) at the Convention Center, the hotel shows start to wrap it up, literally. Oh if only the dinos had bubble wrap back in the late Cretaceous.

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