Hey Rockhounds, Greetings from Tucson!
I had planned to kick off my '99 Tucson show report with the first of a several day tour of the mineral show at the Executive Inn. However, due to some technical difficulties with some of my video gear needed for low lux and macro work after arriving at the EI, I wound up switching gears and cameras and heading out for the show at the Congress Street Expo.
Shown above is the view of the main tent and a few of the many side tents and stalls which surround it as you approach this show westbound on Congress street. In the background is Tucson's "A" mountain. It was a beautiful day today for browsing this show, with clear sunny skies and a high of about 75 degrees. I consider the Congress Street Expo to be main show for lapidary equipment and lapidary rough, although there are minerals scattered here and there, as well as a pretty amazing assortment of other interesting and sometimes just strange stuff. There is a lot of jewelry offered here and it is very popular show with the locals.
One of the first displays to catch my eye were the piles of Madagascar rose quartz and other materials in front of the MJ3 tent. The large pieces of rose quartz were offered at $6 per pound. Behind it was a big pile of labradorite which was priced from $7 per pound for the larger pieces to $10 per pound for the smaller ones. After seeing the rose quartz boulders I wondered if they had any smaller pieces suitable for faceting.
Sure did, a little pricer a $1.50 per gram of course , but that works out to only 30 cents a carat and I was able to find some clean and blocky pieces after about 5 minutes of close inspection and debate. Shown at left are the four pieces that came home to my faceting rough box. The lot set me back about $15 and there's enough rose there to keep me busy for at least a hundred hours even after I've traded off one or two to another facter for something else...
MJ3 Inc. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Snail: 570 5th Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036 Phone: 212.302.7600
This basket of "Real Aggies" was displayed at the entry to the Richardson's Recreational Ranch tent. That may be a bit of a misnomer for nit pickers, as when I inquired I was told they were actually sphered from fancy jasper and bloodstone from India. "Real Chalcedonies" for sure... You could take your pick for 50 cents apiece, and while I'm not a marble or sphere collector, I just couldn't resist cherry picking a few of these for myself. Shown above right are the half dozen that went home with me. The size varied a little from marble to marble. I expect they quit grinding as soon as they get round. These were also offered in bulk pre-bagged by the 1 kilo bag (approximately 70 marbles) for $25.
Hey, check out these display cases brought to the Show by David's Handcrafted Custom Displays and located in one of the many satellite tents around the main pavilion at the Expo. You don't have to be into rock collecting for too long before you need some of these! David offered cases in a variety of configurations, sizes and finishes, starting at about $15 and running up to about $150. David's prices are very competitive!
I was touring with Greg Holland of Stone Haven Minerals when we first spotted David's stall. Greg and I snapped up 3 of these cases on the spot. I purchased a badly needed, large 16x25x4.5" wall mount style case with 8 glass shelves for only $35. Greg needed some cases for show and swap meet work and treated himself to the largest table case style for which he paid $27, and a nice sized, rectangular free-standing case with glass shelves which cost $50. We purchased pine units with a burnt wood finish, which were the least expensive. David also offered his standard cases in hand lacquered oak or mahogany, which of course increased the cost somewhat.
I'm still kicking myself for not picking up another case or two for myself from David while I was at the Expo, and I'll most likely be making a special trip back to rectify that short-sighted tactical error. Hope he's got some left...
David's Handcrafted Custom Displays Web: David's Displays
Dave of Intercontinental Minerals in Tucson showed me a few samples of some epidote included quartz from Tepustete, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico during Old Pueblo Lapidary Club's annual show last November. The samples were eye catching with a striking green color. The pieces he showed me were just that - unfortunately, it appears the Mexicans are blasting this material. Dave has since shown me some tantalizing pieces of clusters of prismatic crystals that were heavily included and opaque green at the base, graduating to clear crystal tips. And some of it is amethystine to boot!
Dave has my standing order for his 100 best intact miniature to large cabinet sized clusters and sprays of epidote included prismatic amethystine quartz crystals if and when his Mexican connection stops blowing them up. In the meanwhile, Dave brought a table full of pieces for lapidary and metaphysical work to the Congress Street Expo, which Intercontinental was selling for a buck a point, some of which were way cool, and small miniature to small cabinet sized chunks for $3 to $8. According to Dave, Intercontinental can wholesale this material in large quantities.
Turns out epidote quartz was featured in a "New Minerals for 1999" write-up by Melody in The Metaphysical Guide to Tucson 1999. According to Melody, epidote included quartz is used to "enhance abilities to see the aura, to open/energize the third eye, to receive telepathic messages, to initiate and strengthen the clairvoyant and clairaudient aptitudes, and to assist in the field of phrenology. It brings a diagnostic energy with transference of healing energies and has been used in the treatment of disorders involving imperfect form and function."
Wow... and that 2" self-healed, epidote included point with the amethyst phantom shown in the pictures is all mine! First well-heeled healie-feelie to offer $500 takes this power crystal from the Bobharashi. ;) Otherwise, if you need healie-feelie rocks without the healie-feelie margins, you may want to check with Intercontinental Minerals...
Intercontinental Minerals Inc. Email: email@example.com