I am no longer a curmudgeon. I am a curmudgeon emeritus.
Our interesting year continues. And in my case continues day after day after day as I essentially self-quarantine at home. I am tired of yard work, miss my daily coffee shop meetings with friends, miss camping (Colorado sites are packed), wish for resumption of club and mineral group meetings, and regret my knees will not take bending and walking to collecting sites. I also greatly regret that science is taking a terrible beating in Washington and in some of the national news media. The future of our nation, and in fact the planet, depends upon “real” research and listening to the advice of scientists. Our children and grandchildren are going to inherit a planet that will reflect the sins of the current generation. And, as the beating goes on and on, who will want to become a STEM major in higher education, or who will want to believe the opinion of scientists? For me, it is a disturbing situation and I regret the lack of a magic wand to correct and make positive changes for humanity.
The easy path of aging is to become a thick-skinned, unbudging curmudgeon, a battle-ax. To grow soft and sweet is the harder way.
keep telling myself to wait, things will get better, stay healthy, and remember
the rainbows arrive after the storm. Well,
speaking of rainbows Charlie Chaplin noted that “you'll never find rainbows, if you're
looking down.” So, I decided to look up and what did I spot,
the 2020 abbreviated version of the Colorado Mineral and Fossil Fall Show—a
rainbow! Now the question arises of
sneaking up to the Show, or being safe and staying home (as my children would
prefer). In fact, a second decision involved attending the Fall Show at the
Crowne Plaza Hotel (Sept. 11-15) or the Denver Expo Gem Show and the Denver
Show, both at the National Western Complex (Sept. 11-21). Which would it be? I am still quite spooked about COVID-19 so
picked the smaller Show at the Crown Plaza and decided to forego the
much larger Denver Western Complex shows with a larger number of people. It was a good decision.
So off I went for a day’s visit to Denver and an escape from yard work and the ho hum of the self-quarantine. I had my mask (actually three), hand sanitizer, and the smarts to work with social distancing protocols. It tuned out to be a great day with limited attendance, lots of big hand sanitizer bottles scattered around, and dealer tables spaced far apart with no jostling of buyers. In addition, I had several informative visits with dealers only too happy to have customers—I mean listening to Dennis Beals spin yarns about collecting garnets south of the border is classic.
Upon entering the building at a few minutes before opening time I was warming greeted by informative “guides” who pointed out the numerous showrooms available for perusal by the general public. As usual, I tried to sneak into the wholesale room just to see the specimens but was detained by a nice security person. Too bad as the tables looked nice.
The ballrooms were large and tables widely spaced. Some had sneeze guards installed. Bottles of hand sanitizers were scattered around the rooms.
Murph's Petrified Wood had a nice collection of polished slabs, mostly international in origin.
The centerpiece of Murph's collection, noted in the center in above photo, was a slab from Indonesia.
A little out of my price range but a beautiful, museum quality, specimen of brochantite (hydrous copper sulfate) crystals from the famous Milpillas Mine in Sonora, Mexico..
Way out of my price range at $20k; however, Kristalle from Laguna Beach, CA, always has beautiful specimens including this brazilianite (hydrous sodium aluminum phosphate) from Brazil.
Everyone likes gold, especially specimens shown by Kristalle.
One of my favorite minerals, variscite, the rare hydrated aluminum phosphate collected from Clay Canyon, UT. Variscite is green while the lighter yellow-like material is probable crandillite (another phosphate).
Dennis Beals from XTAL in Denver always has a nice selection of minerals (very reasonable prices) and yarns.
Blue hemimorphite (hydrated zinc silicate) from the Ojuela Mine, Durango, Mexico.
Is this the real color of hemimorphite? I cannot pass judgement; however, there have been recent discussions within the last week on both (MinDat.org and mineral-forum.com/messages) about possible fake blue hemimorphites from the Ojuela Mine. The evidence seems to have arrived, today Sunday, that many/most of the blue hemimorphite, especially the electric blue specimens, are fake: "Hello everyone, we’re following up on the blue hemimorphites from Ojuela, MX that we posted about three days ago. To recap, a “new discovery” of electric-blue hemimorphite specimens became available, the quality and color of which were shocking to the mineral community. Fine Minerals International/Mardani Fine Minerals acquired a group of them remotely via photos and videos provided by our local contacts. Physical inspection of the material showed inconsistencies with natural coloration that raised a number of doubts to their authenticity. So, before bringing the pieces to market, we sent samples to a few labs for analysis. Today, we write to inform you that we’ve received the results from Dr. John Rakovan (Professor of Mineralogy/Geochemistry) at Miami University and are sharing them with the mineral collecting community at large.
Upon close examination, there is clear evidence that the color was a coating on the superficial layer of the crystals, and that it had been adhered to the crystals’ surfaces in an uneven fashion, and presents evidence of evaporation. This alone was not sufficient for a determination but is a strong indicator. Use of Raman spectroscopy ultimately revealed that the color was, in fact, the dye Phthalocyanine Blue BN, a commercially created coloring agent used for dyes and paints. It is an unnatural substance and was not present at the time of the hemimorphite’s formation; therefore, we have concluded these specimens to be fabricated and fake. Based on these findings, we are not bringing the specimens we acquired to market. We would like to note that other dealers and enthusiasts also sought to determine the source of their coloring but that their studies were often inconclusive as the material was extremely difficult to isolate because of the super-thin coating and required advanced equipment to identify its presence. We cannot state that all examples are false, we suggest that if one questions their specimen, they have samples analyzed for specific results. We hope that this answers questions and is a service to the community. Thank you for your interest." Posted by Mardini Fine Minerals on mineral-forum.com
Few fossils were available but these Moroccan shark's teeth and invertebrates were scattered among selenite crystal lamps, small spheres, a cephalopod bowl, and some other "stuff."
Utah Tiffany Stone (Trade Name) mined for beryllium at Spoor Mountain in the West Desert of Utah. These nodules were originally carbonate clasts, then replaced by purple fluorite which was then replaced by opal and/or chalcedony. Microscopic grains of bertrandite (hydrous beryllium silicate) in the fluorite provide the beryllium available for mining by Brush Wellman.
The main emphasis of the sale were specimens of native gold and silver; however, there were other minerals available for purchase.
Outside of the hotel there were a few scattered tents and the Covid-19 protocols were tight.
Albert Einstein said, we act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life. All that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about. I would add that a good old-fashioned rock and mineral show makes any ole rockhound happy in the time of Covid.