Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The Tucson Electric Park/Kino Sports Complex Gem and Mineral Show is an event held prior to the main Tucson Gem and Mineral Show and is a gathering rock hounds will not want to miss if in the Tucson area.  The Show, usually held the first two weeks of February at the sports complex, is just off I-10 in the southern part of town.  There is no admission charge and an advertised 20 acres of free parking complete with shuttles— major selling points for a fun and inexpensive time.   Well over 250 vendors display wares at the Show and that is the main attraction---the funky items for sale are diversified, to say the least.  There are large jade tigers, at least a million beads, chairs constructed from petrified wood logs, enough dop sticks to supply the CSMS group for decades to come, thousands of pieces of costume jewelry plus some high end blue topaz (guaranteed non-heated treated!), the largest tumblers in the world, wooden canes, “Navajo” rugs with a tag stating “Made in PRC (China), trilobites by the thousands (including numerous fakes), the self described Amethyst Capital of Tucson, and since this is Arizona—several rifles and pistols.  I was somewhat fascinated with the fake trilobites as most were really bad—the bugs were cast in a black resin and then cemented to a gray limestone with matching gray cement.  Put on a few tool marks and throw it on the “For Sale” table.

On the other hand, there were some really nice mineral specimens for sale at reasonable prices.  I found the best displays, and the least expensive minerals, at a section of the event called the RV Show. This area included “mom and pop” shops, and individuals, both living in their parked RV’s and displaying their collections on tables.  Most were very interested in visiting with potential customers and many had some very nice specimens.  This frugal rock hound was able to purchase some really nice water-clear, yellow-orange, wulfenite crystals collected from the “79 Mine, 4th level, Hayden, Gila County, Az” for $1!  A collector who lives near Grand Junction, Colorado, was showing, and selling, a fantastic collection of Utah Lace Opal collected from his claim near Milford, Utah.  But perhaps the most impressive specimens, at least to me, were some of the giant crystal quartz points collected in Brazil.

So, everything at the show is free to look at and the parking is easy and free—a great way to spend an afternoon or a day.  The displays are often quirky and who would not want to take home some genuine plastic turquoise beads.

Carved Tiger

Petrified Wood Chair

Take Home A Crystal Skull

A Quite Large Quartz Crystal Point

Buy Your Genuine Coon Skin Hat

Always an Amethyst Cathedral