Snapshots from the Tucson 2007 Gem and Mineral Show
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Warming Up

Hey rockhounds, greetings from Tucson and welcome to my online 2007 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show report!

Sunday, Jan 28th was my first day out at the 2007 Tucson Show this year. Tucson came through with a beautiful day for browsing the Show with sunny skies and a high temperature of 68°. I am joined for the first 10 days of the Show this year by Karen Williams who is attending Tucson for her first time.

Today Karen and I browsed the fossil show at the Ramada Limited, located along the frontage road at 665 N. Freeway. Veteran Tucson Show goers will recognize this location as the former La Quinta Inn. Yes, we are still playing musical chairs with the motel names in Tucson - it seems like the motel people here just aren't doing their jobs if they don't rename at least one or two of the Show motels every year....

The Ramada Limited show is now one of five of show promoter Marty Zinn's Arizona Mineral and Fossil Shows. The Arizona Mineral and Fossil Shows are public shows and are considered by many to be the finest shows for fossil and mineral collectors that Tucson has to offer. Many of the fossil dealers who had amalgamated over the years at the venerable fossil show held at the Ramada Inn on Oracle Road migrated to the Ramada Limited when their former venue was disbanded due to a change of management several years ago. I consider the Ramada Limited to be the top fossil show at Tucson now and noted over 150 dealers listed for this show in the 2007 Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show show guide, most of them fossil oriented. The Ramada Limited show lacks the spacious grass courtyard, outside dealer tables and the Fossil Hall exhibition we enjoyed at the former Ramada Inn show, but this new venue appears to be serving the fossil dealers well, with most of the dealers I queried today smiling and reporting brisk sales over their opening weekend there.

In addition to a 2007 Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show Dealer Directory, in the lobby of the Ramada Limited I snagged gratis copies of the Colored Stone Tucson Show Guide 2007 Exhibitor Lists and The Metaphysical Guide to Tucson Jewelry, Mineral, Gem & Fossil Shows 2007. These show guides are available free for the taking in the lobbies and entry ways of many of the Tucson Show locations.

The Colored Stone guide is the most comprehensive index and guide published for the Tucson Shows and it weighs in at a hefty 498 pages this year! Of course most of that bulk is comprised of advertisements by many of the more well-heeled dealers at Tucson, but it sure beats laundry detergent ads on TV. The wadded up pages from this one also make class packing material for shipping rocks and gems once the Show is over.

I didn't really need a Metaphysical Guide, as my own spirit guide revealed to me long ago that the metaphysical realm is saturated with clueless, money corrupted pretenders and malpracticing charlatans when it comes to understanding and teaching the unquantifiable and ethereal properties of crystals, gems and minerals. Much better to nurture and be guided your own inner knowledge when it comes to these matters, but the Metaphysical Guide usually contains some great jewelry making ideas in its advertisements... and the price is right!

I'm sad to report that my trusty, dusty Sony Mavica 1.2 megapixel, 1.44 megabite floppy disk storage digital camera appears to be on its way to rock camera heaven, so this year's report will be photographed with a recently acquired Nikon Coolpix L1 6.2 megapixel camera with 2 gigabite storage card. The Coolpix is so new to me that I am carrying and frequently consulting the user manual for the Coolpix as I warm up with it, but this camera is about a light year ahead of my Sony in terms of its technology and it appears to be an exceptional and very affordable camera for taking rock pictures. Now where is that shutter button...

We decided to check out the tents on the north side of the Ramada Limited first and encountered crate upon crate filled with immense amethyst geodes lining the driveway as we approached the first tent. These are very popular with decorators with a budget and are ubiquitous at Tucson. They originate from amethyst bearing lava flows in the Paraná Basin, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Above left Karen provides scale for a sliced pair that bear some resemblance to a Saguaro cactus. These want $4500 to grace your home decor project.

We ventured on inside the first tent to check out some of the smaller amethysts offered by Real McCoy Mining Company. These were marked with color coded tags designating the price per pound, which ranged from $4 per pound for the doggy ones to $10 per pound for top quality. Karen likes them and if I were to ever spring for one of these for her it looks about like a $400 hole in my pocket [sigh].

Real McCoy Mining Company is also showing several bins of jasper spheres that we thought nice. These want $15 per pound. Karen shows her favorite below left, which she appreciated for its druzy cavities. These are one pounders. If you have ever done lapidary you appreciate the amount of work and time that goes into making a sphere. I can't help but marvel at $15 spheres...

Real McCoy Mining Company (Bevipe Stones) , Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show (Frontage Road Tent) - Fernando Beneduzzi, Av. Julio De Castilhos 3447, Soledade - RS - Brazil CEP - Phone/Fax: 55-54-3331-2361 Cell: 55-54-8132-2066 Email: contato@bevipestones.com.br or bevipestones@hotmail.com


Adjacent to Real McCoy Mining Company is Raj Minerals Inc., showing an extensive selection of Deccan Traps zeolites and other minerals from India. Indian zeolites and associated minerals provide some of the most affordable silver picking opportunities for specimen collectors on a budget wanting a lot of display bang for their bucks. So when I encounter a large deposit of them at Tucson of course I just have to check them out.


Depicted at left is a pretty plate of prehnite crystals from Mumbai that caught my eye. This prehnite was about 10" overall and I thought it had a lot of presence going for its keystone price of $200. If you are not yet acquainted with keystone pricing, "keystone" means the item will cost you half of the marked price. So this prehnite actually needs $100 to go home.

Keystone pricing is also ubiquitous at Tucson. While there are some sources at Tucson who offer keystone pricing to dealers only and who require a resale license or other credentials to prove you are in the trade before they will discount the marked price to you, for the most part, nowadays keystone pricing is simply a feel good sales gimmick employed to titillate the customer with a perceived deal. A lot of dealers at the public shows keystone price simply because their competition is doing it and it is sad but true there are buyers who won't even walk into a room or tent if the merchandise is not keystone priced.

Shown above right is an attractive chalcedony from Jalgaon offered by Raj at $400 keystone. The chalcedony in this approximately 8" overall piece is very translucent and it seems to glow with an internal light of its own.


Depicted above is an 8" overall scolecite from Nasik that was handsome to my eye. It was offered at $100 keystone. Scolecite is hydrated calcium silicate and a member of the zeolite group of minerals. I found this specimen irresistibly elegant due to its sprays of thin, acicular crystals and their unusual, serrated terminations. Hmmmm, the old rock computer ground out the bottom line... only $50 for a cabinet size scolecite ... this one went home with me.

There are a mumber of tables here covered with cabinet size specimens of the more common and affordable specimens of Deccan Traps zeolites and associated minerals. Among them are apophylite, stilbite, heulandite, okenite, prehnite, gyrolite, calcite, scolecite, mesolite, natrolite, chalcedony, stilbite, chabazite and quartz. Raj also sources some more rare Deccan Traps and Indian minerals including goosecreekite, stellerite, powellite, yugawarlite, cavansite, thomsonite, babingtonite, mordenite and julgoldite. Collectors on a budget can silverpick some nice mineral specimens with presence here for a very modest amount of money.

One row of tables against the wall of this tent is piled high with $20 (net) flats of Deccan Traps minerals. There are 24 miniature size specimens in each flat - Hmmmm... that works out to less than a dollar per specimen. This is an promising feeding area for rock dealers. We will no doubt be seeing some of these rocks on future ebay auctions and stores and you can be pretty sure the pricing on them there won't keystone down to a buck...

Adjacent to the flats of miniatures are several tables loaded with okenite filled basalt vesicles or "geodes". Okenite is hydrated calcium silicate hydroxide, a zeolite that forms delicate ball shaped clusters of fiber thin crystals bearing a resemblance to cotton balls. The soft appearance of okenite tufts is very inviting to curious fingers but they are delicate and readily damaged so don't pet them!

These okenites are priced at $10 per kilogram - rather expensive for basalt which is by far the bulk of their weight until you factor in the okenite for just about free... This calculates out at approximately $10 to $150 for the specimens depicted here. The more basalt you pay for, the more okenite you get - funny how that works. If I did not already have a fine okenite filled vesicle in my own collection I probably would have found one of these irresistible.


Raj was also showing an extensive selection of Shiva Lingams. These phallus shaped stones are significant icons for Hindu that are employed in conjunction with Yoni (Sanskrit for "Divine Passage") pedestals as icons in a Hindu religious ceremony during which water is poured over the Shiva Lingam and collected from the Yoni.

Depicted above left are a number of tables loaded with Shiva Lingams throughout a range of sizes. They are priced by the inch - $3 for a 2 incher, $5 for a 4 incher, $10 for a 6 incher, $20 for a 7 incher and on up from there...

The metaphysical community has latched onto Shiva Lingams and these have become ubiquitous at Tucson. Somewhat less commonly seen and offered are the Yonis, I suspect because they require more extensive lapidary and are more expensive than a proportionate lingam, and because many in the metaphysical community are simply ignorant of full symbology, resulting in a smaller demand and market for Yonis. Now to my way of thinking, having a Shiva Lingam without a Yoni is like a having a mano without a metate. Raj also offered a more limited selection of Yonis carved from dolomite in several colors and sizes ranging in price from about $10 for the smallest up to $200 for the largest.

Karen and I are intrigued by the religious symbolism here and decided to acquire a Shiva Lingam and Yoni. We debated what size to get as the larger Yonis were more elaborately carved and much nicer to the eye than the smaller ones, but the cost of a large Yoni and Shiva Lingam was more than we were prepared to spend on a set. We finally hit upon the idea of reworking one of the smaller Yonis and embellishing it ourselves, as the dolomite they are fashioned from should be relatively undemanding to carve. So we ended up purchasing the 5" Shiva Lingam with Yoni depicted above right. The Shiva Lingam set us back $6 and the Yoni $10. I'm looking forward to embellishing that Yoni.

It is frequently claimed by purveyors of lingams like those depicted here that these stones are naturally shaped and polished in the Narmada River, but I will most likely remain unconvinced of that until I make my own pilgrimage to the Narmada and collect one for myself.

The following description of Shiva Lingams came from a dealer's handout and employs typical metaphysical diction and marketing:

"'Tantric Shiva Lingams', sacred to the Hindu tradition, are ceremoniously gathered once a year from the muddy banks of the Narmada River, one of the 7 sacred places of pilgrimage in India.

Of those found, very few have the characteristic patterning that make the Tantric Lingam so unique. They are naturally formed of a mineral called cryptocrystalline quartz, with iron oxide deposits said to have been implanted in the riverbed by a meteorite millions of years ago.

Hindus worship Lingams in Shiva temples as a representation of the Lord. In the Tantric tradition, the shape embodies masculine energy: dynamic expression and knowledge. The markings called 'Yoni' depicts feminine energy: wisdom and intuition. Together , the female energy aroused the masculine urge to create. The mineral composition and the shape make the stones unique objects for meditation. They are said to contain the loftiest vibration of all stones on Earth."

Note the use of "cryptocrystalline quartz", which sounds a whole lot more cosmic than "jasper". Also the iron providing coloration and patterning of the Shiva Lingams being derived from a meteorite is twist I have not previously encountered. I have also not previously heard the markings on the Shiva Lingam being referred to as "Yoni" and can't help but construe that as a marketing strategy to portray the Shiva Lingam as a symbol complete unto itself. Hey I'm sorry but it really does take two to tango...

Karen provides scale for the really, really big Shiva Lingam depicted at left. This nine footer plus seems just the thing for religious ceremony where the corporal dimension really does matter. It will take $15,000 to adorn your shrine with this one. If that seems excessive, consider that the shipping alone to get it to Tucson cost $6500.

Significance of the Shiva Lingam
Shiva Lingam - About
Lingam - Wikipedia

Raj Minerals Inc., Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show (Frontage Road Tent) - Rajender S. Mukar, 7 Kubala Avenue, Carteret, NJ 07008 - Phone: 732-969-0782 Fax: 732-969-0783 Cell: 201-982-2324 Email: rsmukar@aol.com


After Raj we moved on to another tent on the north side of the Ramada Limited where we encountered this flat of sectioned Moroccan ammonite fossils at Schöne Stones Sahara. These were priced at $10 per pair your pick and the pretty pair shown above right went home with us. The plan is to eventually incorporate them into a still undefined jewelry project, but in the meanwhile I will be happy to give them a home on display with the rest of my ammonite collection.

Shown above are two pairs from that $10 box that grabbed my eye but managed to get away. In hindsight I don't know why I hesitated and am still kicking myself over not taking them home too when the opportunity was at hand.

Pictured at left is a 42mm pyritized pair that was the best to my eye from a $5 per pair your pick flat. These also went home with us.

Perhaps due in part to my diving experiences, I have been fascinated with cephalopods for some time and my primary ammonite collecting interest is intact specimens of their shells with well preserved external detail.

It took some time before I acquired my first cut pair similar to these, but they can be so aesthetic they are difficult to resist and I finally succumbed to them. Sectioned halves like these do serve to nicely illustrate the septa and internal chambers and they are often cut from specimens in such worn and shoddy external condition as to be otherwise undesirable.

Schöne Stones Sahara also showed several plates of attractive crinoid fossils. I didn't see any identifying tags or cards on these and when I queried the dealer he responded that he was unsure as to the identification of them. I am hardly a crinoid expert but I will venture a tentative identification of these as fossils of Scyphocrinus elegans, a crinoid with worldwide distribution that lived about 400 million years ago and which marks the border between the Silurian and Devonian periods of the Paleozoic Era. Scyphocrinus elegans was a free swimming species of crinoid with its column terminating in a floating ball instead of gripping structures.

The plate depicted above left was about 24 inches overall and wanted $650. The plate shown above right was about 18 inches overall and wanted $500. To my eye the smaller plate was the better of the two, due to the larger and less compressed crinoids gracing it.

A close-up of the calyx and arms of one of the specimens on the smaller plate is provided at left. Pretty isn't it.

Schöne Stones Sahara, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show (North Tent) - Mr. Moussadak My Abdellah, 20 Rue Le Caire Mimlal 54350 Midelt - Phone: 00 212 55 36 10 99 Fax: 00 212 55 36 05 92 Email: stones_sahara@hotmail.com


A few tables from Schöne Stones Sahara we encountered these intriguing 6" to 8" Chinese chrysanthemum stone carvings shown by Guilin Rock Shop. Chrysanthemum stone is a dark brown to black limestone and dolostone rock embedded with white crystal patterns composed of andalusite or celestite sprays that suggest a blooming chrysanthemum flower, which is a Chinese symbol of immortality.

Chrysanthemum stone is a classic Chinese ornamental rock originating from Liuyang, Hunan Province in China. It is found and collected there as river transported boulders and then broken open and worked by artisans into ornate sculptures.

I thought these carvings rather clever and when we inquired as to how much they wanted I was dumbfounded to hear $10 each. A closer inspection revealed that one of four had been broken and repaired but the other three were intact. We promptly snagged what we thought to be the best of the lot to go home with us, which is depicted below.

Now I don't know about you but I think these are a whole lot of carving for $10! If you disagree tell me that after you make one of this quality and I will be pleased to buy it from you at that price... Upon reflecting on how is it possible to make something like this and then ship it from the other side of the planet to the Tucson Show to sell for ten bucks, it is now clear to me why the Chinese are next up to rule the Earth. While I was quick witted enough to recognize I really needed one of these, I have concluded in retrospect I am still an idiot for not snagging the other two undamaged ones to go home with us as well.

Guilin Rock Shop, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show (North Tent) - Dai Daisen / Liu Xuquan, #22, Bld 4 Western Sec. Guilin Int'l Tourism, Goods Wholesale City, Guilin, Guangxi, 541003, China - Phone: 86-773-360-0987 Fax: 86-773-360-9270 Email: ltw612@yahoo.com


While browsing in yet another tent on the north side of the Ramada Limited I came across this beautifully preserved osteoglossiform fish in lateral view showing nice scales, fins, bones and fantastic teeth. Osteoglossiforms are an order of soft-rayed fishes distinguished by paired, usually bony rods at the base of the second gill arch, a single dorsal fin, no adipose fin, and a usually abdominal pelvic fin.

This one is Phareodus testis from the Fossil Butte Member, Green River Formation, Frontier Fossils Quarry, Kemmerer, Lincoln County, Wyoming. Phareodus was a predatory fish with a mouth full of sharp teeth. It dates to the Lower Eocene Epoch, Tertiary Period and is approximately 54 million years old. This fish is approximately 12" long and the matrix slab is approximately 18" wide. It wants $600 to go home.

George Ast, Fossils-Coins-Stamps - Barstow, CA - Phone: 760-217-0584


While perusing several of the pneumatic fossil preparation tools displayed at the PaleoTools booth in one of the tents on the north side of the Ramada Limited, I was approached by PaleoTools owner Bill Murray who asked if I had any questions. Well I have a lot of questions about fossil preparation but know so little about the subject that I was at somewhat of a loss as to where to begin.

Finally I started with "Well, I have some ammonite fossils with some encrusting limestone matrix still attached that I would like to clean up, so what would be the most fundamental tool for a rank amateur at preparation to begin working on them and learning with?"

When Bill asked "how big?" and I clenched my fist to show an approximate size. He then handed me a pneumatic tool consisting of a handpiece and a working tip that looked something like a thick awl. "This tool would be a good place for a beginner to start - come on over here and I'll give you a first hand demonstration with one."

Before I knew it I was seated at a demonstration table along one side of the PaleoTools booth operating and getting the feel of one of these pneumatic vibratory tools which are generically known as air scribes. It was rather loud and high pitched - not something you would want to run in an apartment at 2 AM in the morning, but I was amazed at the precision with which I could remove rock with the vibrating stylus of this tool. After I had played with it for several minutes inscribing tiny spirals and other mini petroglyph-like patterns and doodles into a chunk of limestone, Bill switched the working tip to a chisel shaped stylus, which lacked the precision and fine control of the pointed stylus but which did a much more efficient job of roughing off material.

One of the really great things about the Tucson Show is the numerous opportunities it provides to sit down and get a hands-on demonstration of tools and equipment that you would otherwise have to simply tire kick or purchase untried and sight unseen and hope it all works out.

Bill informed me the tool I was using required only about 2 cubic feet per minute of 90 psi compressed air which means even a modest capacity air compressor capable of running a household paint sprayer is sufficient to operate one. After the hands-on, my interest is really peaked over these precision air scribe type tools. I also have a number of mineral specimens that would benefit from a good trimming but I just don't have the courage to stick some of them in a hydraulic trimmer and pull the lever, as a bad break would be disastrous and that does happen. With one of these air tools you could remove the unwanted matrix in a much more controlled manner. I also see rich potential lapidary applications for carving with these tools in addition to using them for fossil and mineral specimen preparation.

These pneumatic tools are available in a number of sizes and capacities ranging from the Micro-Jacks suitable for ultra-fine micro fossil preparation under a microscope up to the Mighty-Jacks, the mother of all air scribes designed for those big dinosaur jobs where you have literally a ton or more of matrix to remove. PaleoTools also sources pneumatic abrasive blasters of various capacities. If you are also interested in these tools you can learn more about them on the PaleoTools web site.

PaleoTools, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show (North Central Tent) - Bill & Jane Murray, 805 W. Hwy. 13, #4, Brigham City, UT 84302 - Phone: 435-734-0148 Fax: 435-734-0151 Toll Free: 800-493-8130 Email: bill@paleotools.com


Sahara Overland AZ is showing this case of interesting trilobite fossils that I just had to check out more closely. This dealer was facilitating in bringing specimens out of the case for me to photograph and providing their particulars to share here. Depicted above right is a heavily armored Dicranurus trilobite from Atchana, Morocco. This specimen dates from the Devonian and is approximately 110 mm in length. It wants $1300.

Shown left is another heavily armored bug, a Comura trilobite from Oufaten, Morocco. This specimen dates from the Devonian and is approximately 70 mm in length. It wants $1800.

Above right is a Crotalocephalus trilobite from Atchana, Morocco. This specimen dates from the Devonian and is approximately 85mm in length. It wants $210. I am intrigued by the form of this bug. It somewhat resembles a millipede type insect that my parents accused me of lifting and overturning the flagstones on their patio to find and eat when I was too young to remember doing so. Now my parents did not always tell me the truth but there is still something about this one...

Depicted above left an Odontochile trilobite from Atchana, Morocco. This specimen dates from the Devonian and is approximately 85 mm in length. It wants $420. Above right is a closer shot showing detail of the compound eyes on this specimen. One can only wonder at how the world must have appeared from the perspective of a trilobite.

Sahara Overland AZ, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show (North Central Tent) - Braheem Aaronson, PO Box 50005, Tucson, AZ 85703 - Cell: 813-361-0182 Email: saharaoverlandaz@gmail.com


We found an extensive selection of "onyx" tableware and other ornamental objects shown by Oceaninc Linkways at the western most tent on the north side of the Ramada Limited. One happy lady and her husband were in the process of buying a setting for 12 including 12" plates and bowls while we browsed here.

I was impressed by the vase depicted above right with Karen's hand providing scale. As a lapidary this is interesting to me from a 'how'd they do that' point of view and I think it would be illuminating to observe one of these spherical vessels in the process of being made. This vase needed $350 to go home.

Karen purchased the box shown in hand at left for $15 to give as a gift. I don't know about that it looks like a keeper to me...

Oceanic Linkways, Inc., Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show (North West Tent) - Kamal Laidoui, 35 Ruta Court, South Hackensack, NJ 07606 - Phone: 201-994-0417 Fax: 201-994-0438 Email: oceanic@oceaniclink.com


We dropped in at Fossil Lake Fish Company in Room 168 to visit with owners/diggers/preparers/showpersons Bob and Bonnie Finney and to introduce Karen to them. Bob and Bonnie have a longstanding presence at the Tucson Show and I have learned from these experts about the Eocene fish and other fossils of the Green River Formation in southwest Wyoming during my Show visits with them over the years. These are very personable, knowledgeable and connected people who I highly recommend if you have an interest in fish, bat, bird or other Green River Formation fossils.

Bob and Bonnie reported brisk sales so the Ramada Limited is also working for them as a replacement venue for the former fossil show at the Ramada Inn on Oracle Road. They had already sold a significant amount of inventory but I still had no difficulty finding specimens attractive to my eye to show here.

A specialty of Bob and Bonnie are large, showy plates such as the two depicted above. The plate pictured above left is about 43" overall. It features a rare Heliobatis ray, several Priscacara which are the perch shaped fish below the ray, and a Diplomystus which is the herring at the 2 o'clock position on the ray. This plate is also graced with trace impressions from a grape vine. It wants $8000 to go home.

The plate depicted above right is about 40" overall. It also features a rare Heliobatis ray, a fine fossil of the uncommon Phareodus which is the largest fish on this plate, and number of Diplomystus and Knightia herrings. The Knightia are the most common of the Green River Formation fish and the smallest on this plate. $7500.


Shown at left is a aesthetic 10" plate with five Knightia arranged in a somewhat abstract form. This piece of art by God wants $75. You can hardly get a decent piece of art by man for that...

Depicted above are several tables in Bob and Bonnie's room covered primarily with specimens of Green River Diplomystus and Knightia herrings. You can acquire a nice 54 million year old fish here for only $8.

Karen shows a fine 6" Diplomystus in hand above. This fish wants $35 and it would have gone home with me if I did not already have a nice Diplo in my collection. Pictured below is a close view to show the detail on a Knightia specimen I purchased during our visit with Bob and Bonnie. This one will be used as a future Bob's Rock Shop contest prize.

Fossil Lake Fish Company, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show Room 168 - Bob and Bonnie Finney, PO Box 92, Frontier, WY 83121 - Phone: 307-877-9636 Email: fossils@stoneaquarium.com


We encountered these cave formations displayed along the driveway outside Jeda Import Company in Room 170. Seeing these was disturbing to me and distressing to Karen, who is a cave enthusiast and appreciator and who has visited more caves than anyone else I know. One can only hope that the cave from which these were obtained would have been otherwise demolished by a mining or construction operation that was destined to proceed no matter what. Otherwise these rocks bear silent witness to a crime against nature and posterity.

These cave rocks were offered between $100 and $300, which included the display stands. Karen and I both considered the piece shown above right to be the most attractive of the lot. It is about 36" overall and wants $200, which seems very cheap to me considering the rarity of such specimens and the cost to posterity it represents.

02.02.07 Update: Today I returned the Ramada Limited show for a short while to follow up on other business and while there I encountered these formations again. New on display with them were several stalactites. I just had to know and spoke with the owner/importer of these cave formations to learn more regarding the circumstances of their removal. I am very sad to report that he informed me these cave formations were simply harvested from a cave in a remote region of China for profit and not salvaged from obliteration during the course of some sort of imminent domain construction or mining operation.

SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOU!!!

Sin-Am Bridge, Zhouping Guo, 7153 Celome Way, San Diego, CA 92129 - Phone: 760-805-8888 Fax: 858-248-4959 Email: zpguo123@aol.com


I was impressed with the price of space rocks at Moroccan Desert in Room 164. The flats depicted above left contain assorted, unclassified stony meteorites recovered from various locations the Moroccan Desert. The price on these flats varied from $20 each your pick to $50 each your pick. A good number of these are complete rocks with intact fusion crusts.

Karen shows a nice sized $50 chunk of chondrite in hand above right. Note the fusion crust. This meteorite was readily attracted to a magnet, indicating a relatively high percentage of iron, likely placing it as an H-Chondrite (the H designation standing for "high-iron"). There wasn't a scale handy to weigh them, but I guesstimated that many of these work out to 20 cents per gram or less, which is pretty cheap as space rocks go.

The unclassified stony meteorite Karen is showing in hand at left exhibits flow lines in its crust, which is a plus plus for meteorite collectors and appreciators. This space rock also wanted $50 to fall your way.

Moroccan Desert, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show Room 164 - Khalid Aziri, 67 Lot Riyad Midelt, Midelt, 54350, Morocco - Phone: 212-64-999-666 Fax: 212 5558 2771 Email: kaziri@hotmail.com


Tom and Betty Wooden of Dakota Fossils in Room 169 are showing this spectacular Baculites grandis ammonite dating from the Upper Cretaceous and recovered from the Pierre Shale Weston County, Wyoming. This species name is derived from the large size this animal obtained and at approximately 60" in length this one is a whopper of an ammonite. Baculites grandis is known to have obtained up to two meters in length. This specimen was bearing an $8500 price tag and was marked "On Hold". All but the very tip of this fossil shell is from the same animal. Tom related that the missing tip was restored employing the fossil shells of several other Baculites grandis. This practice is not uncommon in the field of fossil preparation and restoration. Try and find a complete T. Rex sometime...

The fossil turtle shell shown above right caught Karen's eye. It is a Stylemys nebrascensis dating from the Oligocene and found in the White River Badlands, South Dakota. This specimen is approximately 20" overall. It wants $6900 to crawl home with you. Tom is known as the "Turtle Guy" so if you are in the market for a fossil turtle, he may well be the man to see.

Dakota Fossils, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show Room 169 - Tom & Betty Woodden, 3716 Dawn Lane, Rapid City, SD 57703 - Phone: 605-393-1963


While browsing at Rocks & Relics in Room 159 I came across a box of containing some pieces of chalcedony from broken fossilized coral heads. Both the cherry picked pieces depicted above are about 4" overall and they struck me as having interesting potential for cutting into some unique stones to be incorporated and set in jewelry. The dealer made an offer I couldn't refuse - $15 for the pair and so both of them came home with me. Rough is where you find it...

Rocks & Relics, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show Room 159 - Becky & David Richter, Paso Robles, California - Phone: 805-237-2848 Email: richter@tcsn.net


Shown here is a Moroccan trilobite fossil I met at Africa Fossils in Room 137. My interest in trilobites has been increasing but I been hesitant to start silverpicking them, as my eye seems to gravitate to specimens with four figure price tags attached. However, with the flood of Moroccan material at Tucson increasing seemingly without bound every year, there appears to be an opportunity to begin a satisfying trilobite collection without breaking the bank.

A table in Africa Fossils offered a selection of 15 to 20 or so of this trilobite. Most of them did not like me, but I found this one irresistible and it went home with me for $30.

There were no specimen tags or cards accompanying these and the dealer here had to be prompted to supply one after I paid him and he had wrapped it up and handed it to me. He then tore off a piece of scrap paper but was unable to find a working pen to write with. After I gave him one of my spare pens he wrote "Kritalose Trylobite Anif-Arfoud" upon it.

I just don't know, there must be some kind of language or cultural issue at play here [sigh]... I can tell you there is most definitely an issue and peeve on my end when I walk into a room at a public show at Tucson filled with specimens without a single identifying tag or card or plaque in sight. I have a strong clue for the dealers who are good to go after just piling unidentified rocks and fossils upon your tables. You will sell more if you simply go the last five yards and prepare, deploy and supply some proper specimen tags with your wares. If you don't know what you are selling get some qualified help to prepare your specimen tags before you open the door. This should not be made your customer's job. Price signs or tags will serve to save both you and your customers a lot of time and wind as well...

My identification of this bug is tentative at this point due to my inexperience and ignorance regarding trilobites, but that will improve over time as I begin to read, acquire some trilobite books for my library and hobnob a bit with other bug nuts. This one appears to me to be a Crotalocephalus trilobite dating from the Devonian. The specimen is approximately 85mm in length. The preparation is a bit rough but hey I think this is one cool bug and this one puts a great big smile on my face for $30. Welcome to my collection. Yummm... :)

Africa Fossils, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show Room 137 - My Said Hachimi, B.P. 49, Midelt 54350 Morocco - Phone: 212-555-80173 Fax: 212-555-82315 Email: hachimi.ismail@caramail.com


Karen is heavy into beads for working into jewelry . Not just any beads will do however, she is into "real" beads fashioned from gem materials like turquoise, charoite, lapis, amethyst, labradorite, ruby, pearls... [sigh]

Fortunately, Tucson provides opportunities to acquire some pretty nice gemstone beads without breaking the bank. While there are a number of dedicated bead shows here, beads are so ubiquitous at Tucson you would be rather hard pressed to find a show where beads do not have a presence. The fossil show at the Ramada Limited is no exception.

We were leaving the Ramada Limited show and on our way home for the evening when we passed by these garnet beads displayed on a table outside Beads and Rocks in Room 129. Of course we had to stop for a closer look. Judging from their saturation and color, these looked to me to be rhodolites, which is a solid solution somewhere between and pyrope and almandine garnet. 5 strands of these came home with Karen. She is very happy with them and I am happy with a total outlay of $15 for the 5 strands. :) These are real beads mind you, sold retail for $2.50 per strand. How do they do that?

Beads and Rocks, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show Room 129 - Jim Goldstein and Lafaye Cobb, 335 Virginia Beach Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 - Phone: 757-428-9823 Cell: 757-343-7232 Fax: 757-428-5671 Email: lafayecobb@yahoo.com


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