Saturday February 10th - The weather was sunny today with a high of 86 degrees.
Today is the last day for a number of the shows, and some are already over. Tomorrow will be
the last official day of the Show for the rest of them, and many participants were
making preparations to pack up and leave town. Some of them travel in style. Here is an Aerobus
parked outside the Ramada Inn that was being loaded and prepared to return to Regina,
On my way downtown I stopped by the Executive Inn to purchase some mineral specimen stamps from one of the dealers there. I plan on combining these with a collection of duplicates given to me by rockhound and stamp collector John Hopkins of Adairsville, Georgia, and having them all scanned for a significant expansion of the Shop's mineral stamp collecting feature. I bought two of every stamp this dealer had, in hopes of acquiring some duplicates of my own that would be of interest to John.
While cutting through the patio at the Executive this great Russian smoky quartz specimen caught
my eye. It was brought to the Show by a Czech Republic dealer,
Pljaskov - van Scriver Minerals, who offered it at $17,000. It's from the Puyva Deposit
near the village of Neroyka on the west slope of the Prepolar Ural Mountains, Tyumen Oblast,
North Russia. No way could you have picked up this specimen up all by yourself.
Here's the rig of a rockhound who really knows how to travel in style. This great camper truck was parked outside the Pueblo Inn on the strip. Check out the skylight "point" on the homemade shell over the cab. And look closely at the dashboard ornamentation in the cab. Now is this the truck of a hard-core rockhound or what? I'd be most pleased to publish a little info on and a picture of its owner if anyone can put me onto this New Mexico rockhound.
Also note the FedEx truck visible through the camper's windshield, doing a pickup at the Pueblo. They ain't hauling hay away from this show... This is the busiest time of the year for several small Tucson custom crating, packing and shipping firms. A lot of money leaves town with the dealers, of course, but one estimate I heard on a local TV show put the Show spin-off into Tucson's economy at $33 million. The cab drivers sure love it.
While at the Pueblo we stopped in the ZEE'S tent and checked out some of their
large "decorator" specimens. ZEE'S is a Tucson dealer. Here is a pretty good sized chunk of
gemmy aquamarine beryl from Brazil. Note the floppy disk I placed in front of it for scale.
You'd have to have a pretty swank place for this $150,000 rock to feel at home in it.
Another ZEE'S specimen was this fairly good sized copper from the Adventure Mine in Michigan.
Cathy helps establish the scale of this one, which was reputed to be the largest copper ever
produced by this locale. It might not be wise to do any second floor decorating with this
rock. I wonder if the $45,000 included delivery?
We looked at a lot of junk on the strip that was closer to vegetable than mineral, but we never did find any gourds. Maybe we should plant a garden full of them and open Cathy's Gourd Stand and Healing Crystal Emporium at the 1997 Tucson Show?
Anyway, Cathy enjoys checking rocks for fluorescence with my UV light, so I wasn't about to let
her miss the FMS fluorescent displays at the Convention Center. Here's an another overview of
the main floor of TGMS show in the Convention Center, full of rockhounds this time.
After visiting the fluorescent room again (it was even more crowded than the first time I was there at the opening of this show) we toured the main floor for awhile. I made a point of stopping by to see Lance Kanaby, firstname.lastname@example.org, an on-line acquaintance. Lance is the the owner of The Spectrum Network, formerly a dial-up BBS and now a commercial website featuring a searchable database of colored gemstones, diamonds and cutting rough for sale by its supplier members.
I found Lance in the Mine Design booth, busy selling some gemstones. While I was waiting
for Lance to steal away for a few moments to chat, I noticed this turntable loaded with
Australian Opal Intarsia in one of their display cases. These pieces ranged in price from $1300
to $1800. I don't know much about current trends in jewelry, but this Intarsia form seems to be
quite popular. I would describe it as two and three dimensional objects built up of multiple,
precisely worked and fitted pieces of rock. All Intarsia work is done by hand and no automated
processes are used in its creation. Sure looks like inlay to me...
Shown at the Inland Creations booth was this interesting Paraiba tourmaline in feldspar
with quartz. These pieces were priced at $60 per pound.
After wandering around the Convention Center with me for a while longer, Cathy had finally had her fill of rocks and crowds and she wanted to leave. I was feeling rather fatigued myself and suddenly realized I was functionally sated for another year and ready to call it quits too. You know you're there when you start arguing with yourself that it doesn't matter if you've seen everything or not because there's nothing more to see except for more rocks. At this point they all start looking the same anyway...
The weather was partly cloudy today with a high of 82 degrees.
Did I say sated? Well, okay, I lied. I did go back to Ramada Inn for about an hour today to look for a few more inexpensive specimens with some photogenic appeal to use for playing with specimen photography later on. I very purposely left the video camera at home so I could have these last moments at this year's Show to myself. Although the show at the Ramada officially ended yesterday, I found Jeanne of Jeanne's Rock and Jewelry in Room 192 still open and ready to wheel and deal on some rocks.
At Jeanne's I found and purchased a dynamite Sweetwater Mine calcite crystal associated with sphalerite and galena for $4, a nice specimen with a pair of very sharp pointed, pyramidal apophyllite crystals from Bombay, India for $4.50, another Salton Sea halite, smaller but even brighter than the one I'd previously acquired, this one for $6.00, a lovely little cluster of Vera Cruz, Mexico amethyst with crystals that were clear at the base with light violet points for $7.50, a... ;)