Tucson Gem, Rock & Mineral Show 2014 - Part 1

Write By: tmmadmin Published In: Mineral Show Reports Created Date: 2015-02-05 Hits: 5012 Comment: 0

The weather for the 2014 Tucson Show was stellar - sunny days with temperatures in the low to mid 70s for our first week there, followed by sunny days with long-pants weather in the 60s, then drawing to a close with shorts and T-shirts weather reaching into the 80s for our final week. Meanwhile, back home in New England, there were blizzards and record cold temperatures dipping below zero, which made the sunshine and warmth all the more enjoyable. And the rocks weren't bad, either!

We visited every one of the 30 or so mineral specimen shows in town, skipping all but one of the jewelry, bead, and gem stone shows (we only visited the one jewelry show because we were told a dealer there had some emerald crystals... and that turned out to be bad information). For 3 weeks our daily routine was to arrive at the first dealer at 9 AM and look at crystals until 5:30 PM, then go back and pick up all of our purchases, take the boxes to our storage locker, then meet with friends, customers or vendors for dinner and to talk rocks. Shopping entailed finding a place to park the car (frequently a challenge), walking to the venue - usually a hotel, then going from room to room to peruse the dealer's displays. If the vendor had something we liked, we would make our selections, then open the negotiations to get the best possible price. If we couldn't agree, we would move on - not infrequently with the dealer running after us shouting, "wait - I give you better price!".

Of course, with millions of rocks to look at, and thousands of dealers scattered in the various show, prices vary widely, sometimes to bizarre extremes. Here's an example: One of the items on our shopping list was sugilite, the purple gem rough material found only in South Africa. This is very popular stuff, and there have been no new finds in over 10 years, so supplies are very limited. We purchased a large chunk from a South African dealer for about $1,000, but that was all he had available. Then we found another dealer who had several large bins full, which he was selling for $4 per gram. Somehow my mental arithmetic go screwed up, and I thought his price was $400 per kilo, which would have been a very good price. I picked out about 6 kilos, which I expected would cost $2,400. When he handed me an invoice for $24,000. I almost passed out from the shock! That's when I realized his price was not 40¢ a gram, but $4 per gram, or $4,000 a kilo. Totally embarrassed, I hurriedly put the pieces back, and slithered away. The same scenario happens all over town during the show: you can easily pay 10 times as much for the same thing if you buy it at the wrong place. The trick is knowing what the price should be, which isn't always easy.

Another Tucson phenomenon is the crazy escalation of prices that can take place in a really short period of time. The most notable example this year was the pricing for smithsonite from the El Refugio Mine in Mexico. Since the mine closed in 2009, prices have gone steadily upward, by roughly 5-10% per year. This is pretty typical after a mine closes, particularly if there is still a lot of material in the wholesalers' warehouses. Then in early 2013, one of the top mineral dealers - you know, that lucky guy who can sell million dollar specimens without even blinking - purchased a collection of some of the finest Mexican smithsonite available from an Arizona collector. This guy happens to be one of our customers, and he told me that he didn't really want to sell, but he couldn't resist when they offered him an amount that was beyond his wildest dreams. Of course the dealer then marked it up even more, and someone bought some of it, thus establishing new record high prices for Mexican smithsonite from El Refugio Mine. Well, this year at the Big Show put on by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society, we saw half a dozen cases displaying nice (but not great) specimens that in 2012 would have sold for a hundred, or a few hundred dollars, now marked $4,000, $5,000, $6,000 and more. As other dealers caught on, they added an extra zero (or more) to their smithsonite specimens. Pity those who hadn't heard yet, and who were offering choice specimens for under $100 (too bad - I already snapped up all I could find!).

And sometimes the opposite is true, especially when there is a new find of good material that actually drives prices down. The new azurite from the 2013 find at the Milpillas Mine in Mexico is a great example. After the entire oxidized zone which produced the fabulous azurite specimens had been mined out in 2011, massive cuprite ore was all that remained. Prices for prize specimens of azurite began to rise almost immediately, and in 2012 and 2013, there was much talk amongst collectors about speculating on investment pieces, in anticipation of future price rises. Then, to almost everyone's surprise, miners hit a large, open crack in the cuprite. The crack apparently reached close-enough to the surface that groundwater seeped down, and the cooper in cuprite combined with the oxygen in the water to form azurite and malachite. And this was no small crack: we were told it was about 10' wide by over 100' long, and that the walls were covered as high as you could reach, with plates of azurite barely clinging to the walls. And then there were the plated that had fallen and created layers of specimen-grade azurite on the floor. As you can imagine, the new material is less expensive than the older stuff, and it is equally good if not better. Such are the hazards of mineral specimen speculation.

Our time in Arizona always wraps up with packing a tractor trailer with our purchases the day before we fly out early the next morning to return home to Massachusetts. And this year, coincidentally, it was Valentine's Day (how romantic). Well, everything went pretty much as planned, except the weather. In the morning, we rented a U-Haul truck, drove it to our storage locker, and loaded it with our 400 cubic feet of boxes. We were working in the shade, so the temperatures were comfortable - only in the low 70s. Then we drove to the freight terminal, where we had to load the boxes into the back of a 53' trailer. The trailer had been sitting in the sun all day, so although we were in the shade, the inside temperatures were probably in the 90s. I was soon soaked through. After we were all done, we got a nasty surprise: the familiar system of setting up a wall to partition our load from other material the truck would be carrying had been replaced with a new system, which took up about 5" less space. The upshot: we had to go back and re-pack almost the entire load to make sure it was stable and could not shift when the truck stopped, started, or bounced over potholes. When we were finally done reloading, I went straight to the men's room at the terminal, took off my shirt, and gave myself a sponge bath before heading back to our hotel for a proper shower before Valentine's Day dinner. Lest you think I am whining, all I can say is that the discomfort is now greatly eased by the fact that as I write this, I am back home in Greenfield, MA, and the temperatures are in the low 20s, with several feet of snow still on the ground.

Here are some of my favorite new finds from the 2014 show:
Most all of these specimens are listed online already, while others will be listed within the next week or two. As of this writing, only a couple have sold and the rest are currently still available. If you are interested in any of these pieces, or if you want to see other material from the same find, please email us.

Finally, at the bottom of this page you'll find some of our snapshots from the show.


6.1" New find! Sharp cubic robust royal flue fluorite crystals - Glory Hole pocket, Bingham, NM

Click here to see a video of this specimen

This blue fluorite specimen came from what has been acclaimed as classic American locality - the Glory Hole above the Old Mill Site at the world-famous Blanchard Fluorite Mines in Bingham, NM. In 2004, my friend Tom Massis and his co-claim holder hit a "Glory Hole" that produced the cubic fluorite with what is arguably the finest blue color the best ever collected from Bingham. By 2012, good fluorite from this find had become quite scarce, and prices had risen dramatically. You can imagine my delight when I found some newly-mined pieces at the Tucson Gem, Rock and Mineral Show. Here's the story:

In 2013, MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) told Mark Kilbaso, a well-known and highly regarded specimen miner, that he had to take down the large rock overhang at the Glory Hole, because it posed too great a safety hazard. When mining was wrapped up in 2006, he had undermined this large slab to get at more of the superb material that had been coming out. So, in June, rather than just go in and pull down the slab, he decided to go back and spend a month to see if he could find more material. And, luckily for us, he did! He brought in two 30-ton excavators, one with a bucket and the other with a percussion tip. Every morning, before mining began, he would hammer away at the overhang, to bring down any loose material. Then he and his crew spent the day underneath extracting specimens from the hard rock. While earlier material was found mostly in loose plates, the new material, which was darker blue than before, was attached to the sides of large chunks of rocks, which required sawing. Finally, on what turned out to be the last day of mining, Mark did his usual early morning rat-a-tat-tat tapping on the overhang. He said it sounded totally different than before, and as he looked up, the shale in a layer that cut across the overhang began oozing out like melted chocolate. He immediately did a 180 with the cab of the excavator and started dozing up the ramp that led up out of the hole. Just then, the hundreds of tons of rock in the overhang came crashing down, narrowly missing the excavator, catching only the back corner of one of the treads. The spot where the excavator had sat a few minutes before was covered by the huge chunk of ledge. Mark escaped by a hair's breath from being crushed in the cab of the excavator.


4.7" Long shiny translucent terminated sky blue barite crystals - Morocco

Click here to see a video of this specimen

There were literally dozens of Moroccan dealers at the 2014 Tucson Gem, Rock and Mineral Show, and almost every one of them had some of the blue barite specimens the Sidi Lahcen Mine in Nador, Nador Province, Oriental Region, Morocco. Unfortunately, 99% of the pieces were damaged, and the crystals were topped with distracting bits of dark brown limonite. And even with damage, they were still scandalously priced! We found 2 dealers who had fantastic, really fine, undamaged examples of this gorgeous material. We high-graded the best pieces from their displays, selecting top-of-the-line examples of the best from this little-known mine.

Our Moroccan friend Hammed shows us some of his most prized barites

The best of these colorful, exquisite specimens are festooned with sharply terminated, curved fans of blue barite crystals sitting on top of brown matrix. The barite crystals are transparent around the edges, and translucent in the middle. The crystals grow in near-parallel groups, with a slight twist to each crystal, so they produce single or multiple clusters of fan-shaped arrays, made up of thin, tabular bladed crystals, often in a spectacular, luminous turquoise blue color.

Examples of crystals of the colorful blue barite began to show up in Tucson and Denver in 2012, and at Ste.-Marie-aux Mines in 2013. The locality was rediscovered by a European dealer in 2011, and he was the first to bring the material to market.


10.8" Pristine gem terminated cathedral citrine quartz crystal - Brazil

Click here to see a video of this specimen

This is a large, intricately crystallized citrine elestial cathedral quartz crystal from Brazil. It has a brilliant, glassy luster and a slightly smoky yellow color that is breathtaking. The top and sides of the piece feature complex elestial (parallel growth) formations, and it is totally transparent. This crystal came from a great pocket at the Sapucaia Mine, Galileia, Minas Gerais, Brazil that was opened in 2013.

Cathedral crystals are a rare formation of quartz which are thought to have inspired architects to build churches, castles and cathedrals with turreted battlements and castellation. Cathedral quartz is the result of dauphiné twinning, which is is a crystal formation where the C face is the twin axis and the twin domains are intensely intergrown. This often shows up on a dauphiné twin crystal as a vertical "split" in one or more faces of the crystal.

I acquired this piece at the Tucson Gem, Rock and Mineral Show from a well-known Brazilian family that owns the mine, and who I have known for years. We were lucky to have happened into this family's display tent on our second day in Tucson, just as they were unpacking the crystals from a pocket they had opened a few weeks before the show. As the young son unwrapped each piece, he would set it out on a table. As soon as he let go, I picked it up, looked it over, and if it was a "keeper," put it aside on another table. Half an hour later I had assembled about 25 pounds of the finest examples of citrine cathedral quartz I had ever seen. After the last pieces were unwrapped, I made my final selections and told him I was done. Just then the grandfather came over and said in Portuguese, "Mas você perdeu a melhor (But you have missed the best one)." He picked up the largest and finest crystal on the table and handed it to me. I examined it closely, looking for dings or damage, and found none. I help up my flashlight to checking the color and gem transparency. Finally, I started toward the table as if to put it back, and the grandfather let out a soft sigh of disappointment. With a chuckle, I stopped, turned, and reached to add it to my collection of crystals, saying, "Yes, that is the best one. I must have it." The gentleman broke into a wide grin and let out a happy laugh.


5.9" Blue-green glassy gem cubic fluorite crystals to .8" - Rogerley Mine, England

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Here is a superb new specimen from the Bluebird Pocket, mined during the 2013 season at the highly acclaimed Rogerley Mine in Westgate, Weardale, England. The quality of the new material from this pocket is the best since the Jewel Box and Blue Bell Pockets in 2008 - and some pieces are as good or better. This newly mined fluorite features sharp crystals that are smooth, glassy and transparent, with almost none of the white bubble inclusions that lowered the quality of material from the intervening seasons. On the best pieces, there is no damage to the razor-sharp edges and corners. Rogerly fluorite fluoresces a bright, rich electric blue under long wave ultraviolet light, plus it is also very strongly daylight fluorescent. Fluorite is one of the world's most popular minerals, and this extremely fine specimen in near-perfect condition is a significant piece from this famous location.

It was 4:55 pm, and the 20-deep crowd outside the room at the Inn Suites where UK Mining sets up was buzzing with excitement as people pressed forward, trying to be the first one through the door at 5:00 pm. Suddenly the door opened wide, and I followed the group into the room. I headed straight to the 2 tables in the back where flats of newly mined fluorite specimens were piled 4 and 5 deep, grabbing flats and scanning the specimens to find the most desirable ones. I tried not to hurt anyone, but the melee looked a lot more like a rugby scrum than a church picnic. Each flat was organized based on the size of specimens inside - 6, 12, 18, or 24. I worked my way through the flats, picking up each flat as soon as someone put it down. I selected my picks and put them into an empty flat, which I passed to Jeanne when it was full. She handed me a new, empty flat, and I went back to to my picking. After I had made my way through the flats on the table, I headed over to another table where from past experience I knew I would find larger specimens (2, 3, or 4 to a box). Again Jeanne and I did our exchanges, as more flats were filled. Then I headed back to the first tables, and dove underneath. Surprisingly, no one had spotted the piles of boxes down there, so I systematically worked my way through the boxes. A woman to my right asked if she could look at the first box after I was finished, and we soon had a bucket brigade going, with the flats being passed from hand to hand. In the end, Jeanne said I picked out 10 flats of specimens from about 200 I had gone through.

Not done, I headed to the back room, where everything is discounted. I repeated the process here, working my way through another 100 or so boxes of odds and ends, mostly from Cal Graeber's collection. More boxes were filled, until I had seen everything. We left our selections to be wrapped for later payment and pick up, and stepped outside. I was drenched with sweat, and staggering a bit from the 45 minute effort.

Jesse Fisher wrote this summary of last year's mining: "The 2013 mining season is now completed. We reopened in late May and for about the first month we continued to collect specimens from the Penny's Pocket Zone, which we had been working since mid 2011. Toward the end of June this area of flats appeared to be pinching out on us, so we started a new exploratory crosscut eastward in order to find out whether there were any corresponding flats on the east side of the main vein. After about two weeks of driving tunnel we encountered a totally new pocket zone, which immediately began producing and through July and August gave us some of the best material we have found since the Jewel Box and Blue Bell pockets in 2008. We have named the new area the "Bluebirds Pocket" in honor of Ian's home town football team, Cardiff City, who were elevated to the Premier League this year."


1" 17.1g 6/10 of an ounce bright showy sunshine yellow gold nugget - American River, California

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The gold on this large nugget is a bright, shiny, buttery yellow color that is really attractive. It has been pounded and shaped during its trip down the American River, so it is covered with nooks and crannies that add "character" to the visual interest of the piece.

This nugget came from alluvial deposits in the North Fork of the American River - upstream from historic Sutter's Mill, where the '49 Gold Rush started. The gold from this area is highly prized by collectors, so when I saw a collection of nuggets from this section of the river for sale at the Tucson Gem, Rock & Mineral Show, it really got my attention.

Nuggets are naturally occurring pieces of native gold that were broken off of the original gold vein, and then carried by water and erosion to a new location. Nuggets are always very popular with collectors. But nuggets are rare: Less than 1% of the world's gold is still in nugget form, which is why nuggets sell for a much higher price than gold bullion. The value of nuggets is determined by several factors: weight/size, color, brilliancy, rarity, origin, and so on. Purity is not a factor, because it's not possible to assay every nugget, and because doing so would damage the specimen. Most nuggets are between 20k and 22k - which is 83-92% pure.

The rarest and most valuable form of gold is gold crystals. These can be worth as much as times as much as 100 times the price of gold bullion, and the price for nuggets is about 10 times that of bullion. And the value of crystals and nuggets does not fluctuate the way the price of gold bullion does! Crystal habits include octahedrons, cubes, dodecahedrons, wires, herring bone, and dendritic and arborescent crystal clusters, though these are very seldom seen in alluvial nuggets.


11.3" Museum size & quality colorful polished malachite with bulls eyes - D.R.Congo

Click here to see a video of this specimen

This is an extraordinarily large, beautiful, and highly lustrous polished display specimen of bull's eye malachite from the Congo - the finest I have ever seen or owned. The malachite has been polished to reveal the alternating light and dark concentric banding. Between the polished areas, the original surface of the botryoidal malachite has been preserved. There is no damage, and it stands on its own.

This superb piece came from the Étoile de Congo Mine, Katanga Province, D.R.Congo. The massive malachite was beautifully polished by skilled Congolese craftsmen, revealing intensely colored alternating bands of light and dark green, which create the famous bull's eye patterns. These colorful rings record variations in the aqueous solution from which dissolved minerals exsolute, perhaps due to seasonal rainfall, with each ring marking changing rates of deposition, as the color changes record changes in the percentage of copper available when the malachite was formed. I picked up this outstanding specimen at the Tucson Gem, Rock & Mineral Show from a German dealer who is in his 80s. From his storage locker he had brought boxes of old material from Africa that he had accumulated 10, 20 and even 30 years ago, including many wonderful specimens of malachite from the Congo.

Cerussite - Iran

1.4" Snowflake reticulated cerussite white sixling twin crystals - Iran

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Here is a beautiful formation - an ivory white, snowflake-like reticulated cerussite crystals. This piece comes from the recent 2013 find at the Nakhlak Mine, Madan-e-Hakhlak, Anarak District, Nain County, Esfahan Province, Iran. The cerussite crystals are very lustrous, glassy, translucent sixling-twins, and the reticulation is quite distinct and incredibly intricate, especially when seen head-on. There is no matrix. Many collectors feel it is every bit as good as the old Tsumeb reticulated cerrusite.

Access to this mine is very limited, and since the workings go down 137 meters, collecting is very hazardous. That means this new material is very hard to find. I only found one dealer at the Tucson Gem, Rock & Mineral Show who had any, and I scooped up all of his best pieces, so would I have a good supply available.


5.2" Shocking day-glo Barbie pink cobaltoan calcite crystals - Morocco 2013

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Here is a cobaltoan calcite specimen in an intensely colorful, screaming pink. Crystals cover the entire top of the matrix, making a highly attention grabbing display. The bright luster really catches the eye, as it sparkles in the light, making this an excellent display specimen.

The pink color is the result of inclusions of tiny amounts (less than 1%) of cobalt in the crystal structure, which acts as a chromophore (coloring agent). I picked up this fine piece at the Tucson Gem Rock and Mineral Show from a Moroccan dealer who was set up in one of the "Moroccan tent cities" that are ubiquitous in Tucson. There was a quantity of the new cobaltoan calcite available, seemingly everywhere you went. Of course the quality of material varied widely, and the vast majority was average and low-end stuff. As usual, the top pieces were scarce and pricey, but the vivid color and aesthetic appearance make them highly memorable, top-quality display specimens.


9.2" Gem orange calcite multi-terminated crystal undamaged tips - Elmwood, Tennessee

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Here's a really attractive specimen of golden calcite from the Elmwood Mine, Smith Co., Tennessee. I found this piece at the Tucson Gem Rock and Mineral Show this year in the room of a wholesale dealer who was offering new Elmwood specimens for sale. These were as good as any seen back in the mine's heydays, in terms of color, clarity, and lack of damage.

After being closed for years, the mine operator began hoisting ore from the Elmwood mine in November, 2010. However, due to insurance and legal restrictions, the owners ruled that no specimen collecting would take place, not even by contract specimen miners. And, they also cracked down on the miners who used to be able to bring out specimens in their lunch coolers (some as large as 72 quarts!). Recently, miners who have been caught trying to bring out specimens have been fired.

Nevertheless, a handful of new material appeared at the East Coast Gem, Rock & Mineral Show in August, 2013 that were reportedly new material (though there was no formal confirmation that they were indeed new). Then in Tucson in 2014, the floodgates had opened, and quantities of superb, undamaged pieces of orange calcite, fluorite, sphalerite and barite were displayed in many dealer's warehouses and rooms. The story I heard was that a group of ingenious miners who know how to collect topnotch, undamaged specimens had stockpiled material in a remote, unused underground tunnel. They reportedly bribed a weekend shift supervisor to let them drive a truck into the mine, and emerged unobserved with a plethora of fine specimens. Where there is a will (and money to be made), a way will be found. No matter how it happened, it is great to have more of the gorgeous stuff from Elmwood back on the shelves.


3.8" 386ct Luminous lustrous terminated red gem zincite crystal - Poland

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Here's a fantastic and sharply crystallized zincite crystal from Poland that simply glows with a vivid, rich and highly saturated red color with a hint of orange. This is a remarkable example of this now rare species - a precious, gem-clear crystal with vivid and vibrant colors. I just love this piece, which seems to glow from within. There is no damage to the main crystal.

The zincite that came from the Tarnowskie Góry Mine, Upper Silesia, Poland was a one-time find. Polish zincite occurs in what are arguably the most brilliant, most colorful, gemmiest and most beautiful crystals you'll ever see - and they fluoresce beautifully! Zincite is said to have the highest refractive index of any gemstone - which gives it its brilliance and radiant glow. Zincite is not precisely natural because a limited number of crystals like this developed when the furnace wall at the Tarnowskie Góry smelter fractured in a singular event in the late 70's. The oxygen that came in through the crack combined with the zinc to form zinc oxide. Zincite was then deposited in air vents, from which it was later retrieved. After this material proved to be a success, lower quality zincite was soon being collected from chimneys and flues of similar refineries in Olkusz and several other areas. Today, Polish zinc smelters have been upgraded to meet strict environmental standards, so there probably be won't be any new zincite from Poland. This crystal was part of the original occurrence. We chose it at the Tucson Gem, Rock and Mineral Show from a dealer who appears to have the last remaining stash of crystals from the Tarnowskie Góry smelter fire.


.7" 2.3g Intricate nest of gleaming wire gold crystals - Mad Mutha Mine, Nevada

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Here is a specimen of a very rare form of gold: wire mesh. The gold has crystallized in very fine wires that form a mesh, with tiny openings between the criss-crossing wires. Gold is rare and valuable, and crystallized gold is many times rarer and more expensive. This is one of the most unusual forms of gold I have ever seen.

Today, wire mesh gold is only available from the Mad Mutha Mine in the Ten Mile District in Humboldt Co., Nevada. The showy, elegant pieces of finely crystallized gold wire mesh from this mine are made up of thin wires that curl and twist and intertwine into a brillo-like mass. We bought this rare specimen at the Tucson Gem, Rock & Mineral Show direct from Ed Muceus. He mines it himself, mostly by working over the dumps with a metal detector, then dissolving the quartz matrix with hydrofluoric acid.


12.7" Polished slice green-blue-white-tan orbicular ocean jasper - Madagascar

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Polished slices of ocean jasper from Madagascar are visually appealing and highly aesthetic. On this specimen, the spherical orbicular patterns of green and blue-green really stand out against the contrasting tan and white background. It also features several vugs, or openings, in the jasper, the insides of which are coated with sparkling druzy quartz. This piece is a top quality, large size end specimen, thick enough to protect it from breaking.

Beautiful specimens of polished ocean jasper have been coming out Moravatu, Madagascar, since the 1990's. The colors found in this material are fabulous - blues, greens, whites, pink, tans, and yellows. The large deposit this material comes from is on the east coast of Madagascar. It's hard to believe that locality first written about in 1922 could have been lost for the better part of a century, but it was. The material is mined from an ocean front cleft accessible only by boat, and workable only at low tide. The material features circular patterns or orbs, from which the term orbicular derives; this jasper's distinctive patterns are made up of round or spherical inclusions of contrasting colors floating in solid jasper. The orbs can range in diameter from a millimeter to a centimeter, and frequently show a particularly dramatic concentric banding. How orbicular jasper forms is still a scientific mystery.

In 2012, we met the mine owner at the Tucson Gem, Rock & Mineral Show. He told us that the lens of jasper that has provided this fantastic material is now played out. We expected rising prices and increasing scarcity in the future, as the pipeline dried up. This year we were told it was the last time the owner would be selling in Tucson, and he was selling off ocean jasper that he had stockpiled for decades. Knowing there would be no more, we laid in a good supply of this extraordinarily beautiful and fascinating material.

Remember, if you are interested in any of these pieces, or if you want to see other material from the same find, please email us.

And, here are some of our snapshots from the Tucson Show. Enjoy!

Aquamarine from a bonanza found in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Dark purple amethyst from Uruguay

Check out the colors on this 3' wide ammolite fossil from Canada

A prize piece of AAA grade Arkansas quartz

Azurite and blue barite from Morocco

A display of the new blue fluorite from the Glory Hole Pocket in Bingham, NM

Carved stone birds anyone?

Kabongo had a tent full of polished chrysocolla and malachite

A beautiful display of the new Moroccan cobaltoan calcite

Cut citrine gemstones - the largest is over 2"

A case full of the new "disco ball" apophyllites from India

Flowers like this were a soothing respite for us New Englanders out here in Tucson

Mineral matriarch Senora Maria Holguin and her granddaughter

View of the courtyard at the Inn Suite

The Inn Suites pool against a backdrop of the Tucson skyline

Brazilian kyanite in all shapes and sizes

The most vivid blue lapis lazuli we found in Tucson

Our friends Max & Helene's daughter and granddaughter

Every year we have to eat some of the cinnamon roasted almonds (it's a tradition, now)

Boxes and boxes of polished pyrite balls

Sliced and polished petrified wood from Madagascar (that's a table top in the back)

An exceptional 3" Chinese scheelite crystal

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