Jordi Fabre of Fabre Minerals and hailing from Barcelona, Spain, has what may very well be the best dealer's location at the Executive Inn in terms of exposure and traffic. For about the last five years Jordi has been setting up in a small, glass enclosed room in the lobby of the Executive which normally does duty as an Executive Inn sales manager's office. But Jordi has an arrangement with the show promoter and motel management where he takes over the office during the Tucson Show and converts it to his strategically located if somewhat diminutive "Fish Bowl".
The Fish Bowl is well organized with a number of glass display cases which are open in the fronts for unobstucted access to inspect the specimens, and Jordi also does a nice job of lighting his displays with numerous sources. There are quite a few dealers at Tucson who could take some display and merchandising lessons from Jordi Fabre. I've come to appreciate that Jordi has a good eye for quality and I never fail to find some outstanding and unique specimens here. While some of Jordi's finest material goes for pretty big money, a intermediate to advanced collector with an eye for finer specimens and several hundred to a thousand bucks or so to spend will find a wide variety of temptations in the Fish Bowl.
Shown above is a exceptional miniature of some really, really red vanadinite crystals from the Sanderi mine, A'heif shaft, Mibladen, Morocco. Jordi related this very red material is from a new pocket found less than a month ago. This specimen is about 2 1/2" overall, a dime is included in the overview above left for scale. This piece had already been spoken up for and came out from under the table for photos, so I'm not at liberty to disclose the price other than to relate is was 'pretty big money'. And no doubt worth every penny if you've got it...
Shown at left and above is another Mibladen vanadinite from a recent find at the same locality as the preceding piece in November 2000. Jordi described this pocket as being "the size of a bus" and Jordi related that there would be a lot of material from this find on the market. There is a very marked color difference with this earlier material being much more orange. This plate of crystals on matrix measured about 4 1/2" overall and with the largest crystals being about 1/2" in diameter. This pretty Moroccan piece wanted $2900.
Shown at left and above is a Bolivian paravauxite with sigloite and childrenite. Paravauxite and sigloite are both members of the Paravauxite Group. Paravauxite [FeAl2(PO4)2(OH)2·8H2O] is a phosphate mineral belonging to the triclinic crystal system and is dimorphic with metavauxite. Sigloite, which is very similar chemically to paravauxite [FeAl2(PO4)2(OH)3·7H2O] also belongs to the triclinic system. Here the greenish paravauxite crystals have developed "toasted" ends due to their alteration to yellowish brown sigloite through the loss of water from the mineral's molecular structure. Minor childrenite as small black blebs and crystals was also present on some of the paravauxite/sigloite crystals. This specimen was about 7" overall and is from the Siglo XX mine, 480 Level, Llallagua, Bolivia. It wanted $1800. Paravaxite crystals are usually very small with 1/4" crystals considered big for the species, so these are real whoppers.
Now here is a rare mineral the way I like them! Most rare mineral specimens remind me of driveway gravel with some dirt or lichen on them and frankly I wonder sometimes about the rare mineral enthusiasts who go about systematically collecting specimens of that ilk....
Shown at left is a Godzilla of manganocolumbites, a rare niobate/tantalate member of the Columbite Group. Manganocolumbite
Jordi was also showing some nice green Chinese pyromorphite miniatures and thumbnails. The cluster shown at left and above did not have the top color of some of the Losa mine, Guang Xi Province pyromorphites I've seen, but the form and aesthetics of this 2 1/2" or so piece are very handsome to my eye. Matrix pieces with perched crystals like this one really tick my clock. A dime provides scale. This piece from a May 2000 find was priced at $750.
Now here is some really top color pyromorphite from the same locality and find as the specimen shown above, and it also wanted $750. At 2" or so overall, this piece is smaller than the former. A dime provides scale. Decisions, decisions...
This one also featured very nice aesthetics and since I think the top electric green color is what this material is all about, as much as I like the overall shape of the former piece, this one has the pick of the pair in my book for the same money. If the former piece also had this color you can pretty much bet your piggy bank it would be wanting bigger money than $750.
Above is another Chinese specimen, a rather handsome cabinet specimen of barite with quartz from a 2000 find at Shi Kuang Chang, Hunan, China. It is about 8" overall and the barite crystal spans about 4 1/2". It carried a price of $590.
Above left is a apple green peridot (forsterite) crystal from Skardu, Nooristan, Pakistan. It was nearly 1" across and only wanted $320 to go home. Peridot is a varietal name for gemmy, green forsterite [Mg2SiO4], a magnesium bearing silicate occurring as a contact mineral in metamorphic zones of alteration where igneous rocks intrude and bake dolomite.
I facet gemstones and appreciate displays of exhibition stones that incorporate a mineral specimen of the same species and preferably locality that produced the rough each stone was cut from. I think such displays are educational to the public at large and they also give the mineral collectors something to relate to and look at. ;). Peridot can produce gems of beautiful green color but it can sometimes be a difficult material for faceters to polish to a perfect, scratch free surface. While I wouldn't cut this terminated specimen, if I ever do cut a large Pakistani peridot I'll no doubt wish I had this crystal in my mineral collection to go with.
Above center is a gemmy transparent Russian calcite with hedenbergite inclusions from a 1998 find at the Verchniy mine, Dal'negorsk. It is about 2 1/2" overall and was priced at $650.
Above right is a Japanese twin quartz crystal, the rarest twin form of quartz, with included chlorite from an October 2000 find at Mina la Tentadora, Cerro Ullpace, Castrovirreyna, Huancavelica, Peru. The twin is about 2" across. Chlorite included Japanese twins are rare and the chlorite makes this specimen want $740.
Now here is a quartz Japanese twin floater Jordi pulled from beneath the table that really rings this quartz collector's bell, also from the same locality and find as the former chlorite included miniature. At about 6" across, this piece really has some presence. I asked Jordi if it was already sold and much to my surprise he said no, that he hadn't shown it. When I asked why not he said he was saving it to take back to offer to a European quartz collector who is a regular customer but that it was available for $490. Big Japanese twins like this are highly sought after and can command rather exorbitant money, so I considered $490 to be an attractive price on this specimen. I have seen J twins that were lesser in both size and aesthetics sell for much more.
When I asked Jordi how come this one was so modestly priced compared to others he related that Mina la Tentadora is an active, productive locality which has produced numerous J twin specimens in the past and is likely to continue to do so in the future. Jordi told me he has seen about 500 J twins from this locality over the years, but that this specimen was in all likelyhood the largest he's seen. I hated to pass on this big J-twin for my quartz collection as it would really make a great centerpiece, but I just didn't have the budget. If only I'd gotten with the quartz program and sold off that indicolite elbaite crystal and a couple of other odds and ends before the 2001 Show...