Friday, February 21, 2014

Tucson Gem & Mineral Show 2014: Gem Shows

Another year at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. This year, the show was celebrating its 60th anniversary. The theme of this show? Diamond... but also gold, silver and gemstones. So we decided to bring some goodies from California, of course! Before showing you a selection of fun gems during the AGTA show, let us show you some of our selected pieces for display at the TGMS show. (All photos and copyright by E. Gaillou unless notified).

Getting our exhibit ready

California: the Golden State... and also the Gem State!

It was the discovery of gold that transformed California into a state and provided it with its nickname – “The Golden State”. However, while Idaho calls itself “The Gem State”, California has by far a greater quantity and diversity of gemstones. The diversity of California’s minerals, and the presence of gold as well, comes from the geological processes that created California.

Below is a small selection of some minerals we chose to  exhibit at the Tucson show. We also brought some matching cut gemstones to go along (ok, except for the gold!).

The Gold Tree from Colorado Quartz mine, Mariposa County, CA. Photo taken at packing.

The Benitoite wreath from the Benitoite Gem Mine, San Benito County, CA. Photo taken at packing.

A diamond from California? YES! Alluvial, of course, this one was collected in the late 1800s at Smithflat, El Dorado County, CA.

We also brought our favorite kunzite from Pala Chief, San Diego County. From the collection of Dr. Kunz. Photo by Erica and Harold Van Pelt.

Our bi-color elbaite from Himalaya Mine, San Diego County, CA, almost ready to go to Tucson!

On the road to Tucson

Our annual road trip to Tucson! We left on Tuesday 4th, the first day of the Gem shows (AGTA and GJX). Here is a selection of pictures while going through the desert and arriving in Tucson, 7.5 hours later. 

AGTA show

I still can't believe how busy the AGTA show was this year. Over the last 5 years, the aisles of AGTA were rarely crowded... almost empty at some times. But this year, people were there... and buying. We arrived for the second day of the show, and some dealers were already happy.
What I noticed since I began this blog is that gem dealers are usually more reluctant for me to take pictures to post on my blog (because yes, I ask permission for ALL the pics I take). Except for dealers that already know me. This report might be a bit biased because of that... Still, there was no new exciting gemstones (to the best of my knowledge), and I hope it's still representative.

The AGTA booth stepped it up this year!

Overview of the AGTA show.

From right to left: Alyssa Morgan, Caroline & Franklin Moser, Eloïse Gaillou. Caroline and Franklin won a day with Alyssa and I at our annual auction, so we toured around gem & mineral shows with them. We had great fun! Photo by Delphine Leblanc.

What are we looking at? (Photo by Alyssa Morgan)
This amazing 24.48 ct cat's eye chrysoberyl from Evan Caplan's booth.

I have two great "recto-verso" for you.
This stunning carved / cut topaz from Somewhere in the Rainbow collection. There were other incredible stones at the Somewhere in the Rainbow booth, but unfortunately, we were not allowed to take more pictures (we came back at a quieter time - the booth was super crowded - the curator was not at the booth anymore, no more pics for us...). They were displaying mostly spinels and garnets... Unfortunately, it is not through their website that you will see more pictures, which is a shame, because they have some of the most amazing rare gemstones I've even seen. Still, check out the story of the collection here:  

I can't do a show report without mentioning opals. Also, I can't go anywhere without people asking me about opals or showing me some stunning ones. For example, this 11.50 ct black opal from Lightning Ridge, Australia was set in a two-face pendant, and displayed by Jeff Bilgore. Yes, it is the same opal. Amazing, isn't it!

Because we like rare stuff. This necklace was on display at Equatorian Imports, and made off 56 red beryl (27.3 ct total) and 56 diamonds (13.28 ct total) on a 18K platinum setting.

A few things we would love to add to our collection: here, these Zambian Emeralds, as seen at Edward Boehm's booth (Rare Source). We do not have any emeralds from this locality.

Also, we were looking for a "hot pink" spinel from Tanzania. Again, Edward had some good ones.

Dudley Blauwet as well, especially this 5-carat one!

Talking about spinel... Aren't those rough and cut red spinels from Burma amazing? Seen at Pala International's booth!

Also seen at Pala International, this suite of sapphires. From left to right: 3.70 ct blue from Madagascar, 27.27 ct yellow from Sri Lanka (no heat), 5.67 ct Padparadscha from Malawi, 2.62 ct pink from Burma, and 10.09 ct from Sri Lanka.

AGTA spectrum awards

As usual, beautiful gemstones and pieces of jewelry are selected for the AGTA spectrum award winners. Here are a few that we especially liked or thought were interesting. Oh, just one thing: we were really surprised to see that the display cases with the award winners were getting removed by mid-day on Sunday, when the show was closing much later that day.

Morganite earrings by Kerri Halpern, Madstone Design. Honorable mention evening wear.

 Multi-colored gold locket featuring a boulder opal accented with white, pink and yellow diamonds, by Annie Fensterstock. Gem diva award business / day wear.

Yellow gold "Blue Waters" necklace featuring opal doublets and diamonds, by Jonathan Lee Rutledge. 1st place business / day wear.

White gold earrings featuring Paraiba tourmalines, emeralds, tanzanites and diamonds, by Caroling Chartuni. 2nd place evening wear.

21.97 ct cushion cut red spinel, by David Nassi, 100% Natural Ltd. Honorable mention all other faceted.

24.69 ct cushion cut pink sapphire by David Nassi. 2nd place classic gemstone.

That's a fun ring! By Mark Schneider. Presidents award.

And this one, by Galetea.

Lovely bracelet by Tara.

GJX show

We heard that on the opening day, Tuesday 4th, 2014, some people were in the starting blocks to be the firsts to enter the show! We were not part of that crowd, as we arrived only on Tuesday night. GJX was crowded, but just as usual.
The GJX entrance.
Love the advert!

We didn't see any new gems or deposits since the Munich show in November 2013. But here are some stones that caught our eyes.
This 7.43 ct kyanite from Nepal at Gravier & Gemmes. Unbelievable color and clarity for such a stone! Later on, at the main show, I saw some oval shape earring that caught my eyes. I'm not ashamed that I thought they were sapphires when I fist saw them... That's how good the color and clarity gets!
We considered getting it for our collection, but other plans (well, minerals) got in the way. Eventually, the Smithsonian got it.

Still looking at spinels... Another hot pink 3.31 ct spinel, seen at Abouchard's booth.

More spectacular, and still at Abouchard's booth, this 3.78 ct cobalt spinel. That's another gemstone on our wish list! I saw it last year at Tucson, and it's still here this year...

Something crazy fun: this is a 11.37 ct lepidolite from Brazil, seen at Mauro Panto's booth. You know, this lithium-rich mica... which has a perfect cleavage and is very soft! Yes, someone managed to cut several gemstones out of that. It goes without saying that it is a collector's gemstone only!

This year, Mauro Panto was sharing his booth with Jeff Bergman of Beauty in the Rocks. Jeff had incredible trapiche sapphires from Burma, especially the one above. It weighs 36.16 ct and what makes it special is that the white areas cover a wider volume than the blue areas. Both blue and white areas are sapphire, and not inclusions as for other types of trapiche. Jeff Bergman gave us a great sample of trapiche sapphire from Burma (see below) for our collection!

You are wondering why I took a picture of a gem not face up. Look closely: it's because it shows amazing pleochroism, visible without tool just by turning the stone around. This kornerupine from Vance Gems was just incredible. I've heard that Robert Weldon got a few good pictures of it, stay tuned!

Here the same kornerupine with a hand dichroscope. See what I mean when I talk about amazing pleochroism? Green to purple, just like that!

And of course, more opals... This spectacular ring with a hologram base was seen at Gemoa (Opalinda) booth.

Pretty in purplish-pink! This Mozambique 9.55 ct tourmaline is just stunning (Paraiba-type, copper bearing tourmaline). The perfect eye candy! Seen at Ekhehard Schneider, in the Idar-Oberstein group.

My favorite of the gem show: this 103 ct spessartine from Nigeria, seen at Constantin Wild's booth. Un-be-lie-vable! Thanks Constantin for letting us share this beauty! Obviously, my picture doesn't do it justice..


Again, this year, some gem dealers were generous with us! And they are right: we provide a permanent home for minerals and gems. We have 2,000 minerals and gems in our exhibit, and over 100,000 in the collection. We are always looking at gems or minerals we don't have, or localities we don't have. Even if our specialty is California, we have a wide variety of world class gems & minerals from all around the world.

Oligoclase from Kenya (3.12ct), gift of Edward Boehm of Rare Source:

Tourmaline from Moragoro, Tanzania (6.06 ct), gift of Menahem Sevdermish:

Trapiche sapphire from Mogok, Burma (22.20 ct), gift of Jeffrey Bergman of The Beauty in the Rocks: 

From left to right: Brendan Laurs, Mauro Panto, Jeff Bergman, George Harlow & Jamie Newman (from the AMNH) and Alyssa Morgan.

Contraluz opal from Ethiopia (7.7 x 5.8 x 3 cm), gift of Francesco Mazzero and Eyassu Bekele of Gemoa / Opalinda:

Thanks again to our donors!

1 comment:

  1. Very well be looking forward to these beautiful photographs.
    Thanks for providing us this opportunity to look at and enjoy this event.
    Thank straight from Brazil.
    Carlos Peixoto