Snapshots from the Tucson 2001 Gem and Mineral Show
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The Main Event IV: Détente

Pictured above left from case 29 titled "Minerals of Russia" is a fantastic quartz with sprays of orangish crystals on ilvaite from Dal'negorsk, Russia. Ilvaite [CaFe2FeSi2O7(OH)] is a silicate member of the orthorhombic crystal system. This specimen was about 7" or so overall and displayed by Roz and Norm Pellman.

Shown above right is a Dal'negorsk pyrrhotite on quartz which was also displayed in case 29 by Roz and Norm Pellman. This handsome specimen was about 4" overall and the pyrrhotite crystal was approximately 2" in length. I thought the aesthetics of this piece first rate due to the visual contrast provided by the underlying bed of acicular quartz crystals complimenting the metallic luster of the pyrrhotite crystal. Pyrrhotite [Fe(1-x)S] (x=0-0.17) is a ferrous sulfide crystallizing in the monoclinic and hexagonal crystal systems with a platy to tabular or bipyramidal habit and which also occurs as massive, granular aggregates.

Above is a colorful and eye catching Russian specimen of bertrandite, fluorite, rhodochrosite and beryl which was displayed in case 108 courtesy the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh. This pretty piece was about 6" overall and given by its label as being from Koundradskiy, Russia.

Shown above left is a beautiful fire agate and silver belt buckle that was displayed in case 90 by Philip and Ginger Rothengatter. The spectacular iridescent colors of fire agate are best revealed and displayed by very fine and delicate contour carving and Philip Rothengatter's world class fire agates and carving technique are second to none. I also appreciated the complimentary silver work on this buckle, which was about 3" overall. The fire agate carving set in it was about 1 3/4" or so overall.

Above right is a calcite displayed in case 100, titled "Phelps Dodge Mining Company Presents Minerals of Bisbee". This specimen was about 5" overall. I also appreciated the functionality and straightforward lines of its mahogany stand but felt the engraved label was a little on the Spartan side. It was of course displayed courtesy the Phelps Dodge Mining Company.

A collection of Nebulatm Stone objects was displayed in case 93 by Ron and Karen Nurnberg. You won't find "Nebula Stone" listed in your Fleischer's Glossary of Mineral Species as it's one of those lapidariable materials that's been promoted and marketed as a mysterious metaphysical rock.

Displayed in Ron and Karen's case was the "Blue Flaming Star Mystery Stone" shown above left, which was about 7" or so across. Sure looks like a genuine petrified ET skull to me... I noted this rock displayed the reverse of the pattern that's characteristic of Nebula Stone, which is black overall with green spots. Shown above center is a skull carved from Nebula Stone displayed in the Nebula Stone case. This skull is about 1" overall. Above right is a jaguar Nebula Stone carving by Morgan, which is about 8" overall.

Much to do has been made over the "mysterious" composition of Nebula Stone by its promoters, which is said to come from an of course undisclosed location somewhere in Mexico. Samples of Nebula Stone have been reportedly characterized by various authorities as a groundmass of quartz/orthoclase feldspar of igneous origin included with spherules containing riebeckite and aegirine, a rock of metamorphic origin that also contains zircon, and as "chloromelanite", a green to black-flecked variety of jadeite. Gee, I have a slab of Nebula Stone that I was thinking of cutting up for a bola tie. But with all the confusion over this stuff, maybe I better save and donate it to science. You see, I have a theory that Nebula Stones may actually be ballast rocks ejected on the way down by ship(s) fatefully connected to the CSD (Crash Site Debris) from the 1947 Missouri UFO crash site I inspected during the Tucson Show a couple of years ago. In all fairness I should stress that the Nebula Stone/CSD relationship is still most properly considered a theory at this point which of course is subject to the results of ongoing review and verification by the scientific community... ;).

Pictured above left is another one of those pretty orangish sprays of Dal'negorsk Russian quartz. This approximately 5" specimen was displayed in case 108 courtesy the Hillman Hall of Minerals.

Above right is a calcite with included aragonite crystals from the Nikolaevskiy mine, Dal'negorsk, Primorskiy Kray, Russia. Calcite and aragonite are isomorphous and both composed of [CaCO3], aka calcium carbonate, which crystallizes in the hexagonal crystal system as calcite and in the orthorhombic system as aragonite. This interesting specimen is about 4" overall and was no doubt drooled over by numerous calcite collectors attending the Show. It was displayed courtesy the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History in case #103.

Above left is shown quartz "Roses on Necklace", displayed by Cindy Ferris in case 89. The sectioned roses spanned about 4" across.

The specimen depicted above right is an aragonite spray which was also displayed by Phelps Dodge Mining Company in case 100, "Minerals of Bisbee". This piece was about 4" overall. I thought this specimen reminiscent of the "Crystalline Entity" battled by the crew of the Enterprise on Startrek Next Generation...

Shown at left and above is a cool terminated barite crystal with included pyrite displayed in case 123 courtesy the Bill and Diana Dameron collection. This barite specimen is about 7" long overall and about 1" wide. It is from the Noibec mine, St. Honore, Quebec.

The Russian calcite crystal perched on matrix pictured above left was shown in case 115 by Karp Minerals. This specimen was about 5" overall with the calcite being about 2 1/2". Its label gave its locality as Rudniy, Russia, 1994 Kazakhstan.

Also displayed in case 115 by Karp Minerals was this green fluorite from the First Sovietskiy mine, 1999 Dal'negorsk, Russia. This specimen was about 4" overall with the prominent fluorite crystal being about 1 1/2" across.

Seen in case 126, titled "The Sterling Hill Mining Museum Presents Mining History in Metal and Paper", were three boxes presenting these interesting shovel shaped spoons. The longest example was about 6" overall. They were displayed courtesy the Sterling Hill Mining Museum.

Displayed in case 108 by the Hillman Hall of Minerals was this Russian emerald specimen from Malyshevo, Russia. It was about 6" overall.

Shown at right is a pretty upscale Russian fluorite on aragonite from the Nikolaevskiy mine, Dal'negorsk, Russia. This specimen was about 10" overall and was displayed in case 115 by Karp Minerals.

Pictured at left is a rather unique intarsia object d' art by lapidary artist Jim Kauffman of Sedona, Arizona. Jim's exemplary work has garnered him 3 AGTA Cutting Edge Awards and he was inducted into the Lapidary Hall of Fame in 1997. Above right is a bracelet featuring opal intarsia which was one of a number of other pieces shown in Jim Kauffman's case.

BTW, if you're interested in learning to do intarsia from a practicing master, Jim holds 5 day classes in Sedona for students which are limited to 3 people each. The basic 5 day session costs $750 and includes all materials. This looks like a really great way to spend a rockhound vacation to me as when you're not concentrating on little rocks in Jim's class you could be taking in and appreciating big ones Oak Creek Canyon and the scenic red rock formations elsewhere that Sedona is world famous for. More information on Jim Kauffman and his lapidary work and classes are online at the Gallery 1600 web site.

This appealing microcline var amazonite with smoky quartz and albite was displayed in case 118 courtesy the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum. According to information included in the case this cabinet size specimen will be featured on the 2001 Denver Gem and Mineral Show poster. The theme for the 2001 Denver Show is "Minerals of the Pikes Peak Batholith". This example was about 10" overall and the largest amazonite crystal was about 3". It is from Teller County, Colorado.

Case 117 harbored the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum's display of convincing fakes and frauds which included the Haploscaphites cheyennenis fossil from the Upper Cretaceous Fox Hills Formation of South Dakota pictured above right. It was about 6" overall and the fossil was real enough but what was faked was the shell color, which had been enhanced with the addition of reddish lacquer to make it appear this specimen was covered with a pearly red iridescent layer that does occur naturally but rarely this fine and of course makes such unaltered specimens much more valuable.

At left is an another Russian ilvaite and quartz, this one heavy on the ilvaite, which was displayed in case 29 "Minerals of Russia" by Roz and Norm Pellman. This specimen was about 3 1/2 inches overall and it is from Dal'negorsk, Russia.

Shown above left is an truly outstanding aegirine aka "acmite" specimen featuring long prismatic, vertically striated crystals on feldspar from Mount Malosa, Zomba District, Malawi. Aegirine [NaFeSi2O6] is a silicate belonging to the monoclinic section of the pyroxene group. Aegirine is a comparatively rare rock forming mineral found in rocks rich in sodium and poor in silica such as nepheline syenite and phonolite, and is associated with orthoclase, feldspathoids, augite and soda-rich amphiboles. It is named after Aegir, the Scandinavian God of the Sea. Black minerals like aegirine are not as popular with many collectors as the more colorful species, but I don't know too many who wouldn't covet this cabinet sized black beauty for their own... This specimen was about 12" overall and really had 'presence'. It was displayed in case 22 courtesy the Bossi and Picciani collection.

Above right is a large spodumene var kunzite from the Paula Chief mine, Pala, CA which was displayed in case 20 titled "From the Pegmatite Gem Minerals of the San Diego County, CA". This exceptionally gemmy kunzite crystal was about 12" high and was displayed courtesy the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Displayed in case 41 were minerals of the former Soviet Union. Among them was this gemmy beryl var heliodor crystal shown near right. It's from the Yellow Water mine, Tajikstan, former USSR. This heliodor was about approximately 1 3/4" high.

Shown in case 62 was this 3" cluster of prehnite crystals from the Jeffrey mine, Quebec Canada, pictured to the far right.

Above left is a beautiful anatase on adularia (orthoclase) from Valdres, Norway that was shown in case 138 courtesy the Frinchillo collection. This specimen was about 4" overall and the anatase crystal was about 3/4".

Shown above right is a nicely contrasting sphalerite on quartz from Dal'negorsk, Russia. This specimen was displayed in case 41 and was about 2" overall with 1" or so sphalerites.

Here's another Russian from case 41 above left. This cluster of intergrown quartz crystals was about 4" overall. It is also from Dal'negorsk, Russia.

Russia is also known for spectacular malachite. The beautiful botryoidal formation pictured above right was about 10" or so overall. It's from Nizhnyj Tagil, Ural Mountains, Russia and was shown in case 47 courtesy the Harvard Mineralogical Museum.

Pictured above left is an aesthetic Russian chalcopyrite from Dal'negorsk. This specimen was displayed in case 41 and was was about 1 1/2" overall.

From the same case was this quartz with actinolite from Primorie, Russia. It was about 2 1/2" overall.

Shown above left is a gemmy grossular garnet specimen that's about 3" overall. This was shown in case 62 and is from the Jeffrey mine, Quebec, Canada.

Above right from case 58 is a fluorite from the Homestake mine, Oatman district, Mohave County, AZ. This specimen is about 5" overall and the largest octahedral crystal is about 1 1/2" on an edge. It was shown by Arizona Minerals of Phoenix, Arizona.

At right is a pretty fluorite with apatite and bertrandite, from Kazakhstan, Russia. It is about 2" overall and was displayed in case 44 courtesy Marty Zinn Expositions.

The arty illustration below graced the 1st Russian edition of J.G. Kurr's "Mineral Kingdom", St. Petersburg, 1871. This was displayed in case 109 which featured antique Russian mineral collections and memorabilia courtesy the Obodda collection.

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