I just had the marvelous opportunity this last weekend to attend the 59th annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show at the downtown convention center. The weather was quite cooperative and it seemed, at least to me on my Thursday and Saturday visits, that attendance was quite good. Somewhere on the order of 250 vendors were present selling a wide variety of jewels, fossils, rocks and minerals. I was able to observe two pendants each priced at $300k---one a faceted aquamarine of 297 carats and the other a large faceted ruby; both were spectacular. Perhaps other specimens had a larger price tag but I did not observe such---mostly I examine objects within my price range!
I always try to attend the Thursday opening in order to perhaps purchase specimens that seem reasonable in price to this frugal collector (I love that termed used by Bob Jones). The variety and uniqueness of specimens is best early in the show and I always assumed “the early bird gets the worm”. As it turns out I was able to obtain, what I believe, are some really nice specimens for my modest collection.
|FLUORITE FROM ILLINOIS.|
For example, in a previous post I wrote about vesuvianite (Idocrase:Where have You Gone; 11/18/12 ); however, the crystal that I described, although nicely formed, is far from gemmy. I now have a small, but clear gemmy specimen from Canada. I was/am pretty unfamiliar with the mineral scapolite but do have a fairly nice crystal picked up somewhere. In preparing a posting I noticed that in some cases scapolite can be faceted as a gemstone---news to me! Well, now I have a piece of gemmy scapolite. The Tiger Mine in Arizona is fairly famous for producing specimen minerals. My collection now includes some nicely formed twinned cerussite crystals. I enjoy collecting zeolites as they often form beautiful crystals, and their cost seems minimal. I was able to acquire two really nice new specimens: mesolite and scolecite, both form long slender crystals. These, and many others (all costing $5 or less), will be described in some future postings.
|TRILLIANT CUT GEMSTONES.|
The theme of the show was Fluorite: A Rainbow of Colors and the displays certainly brought out those colors. Fluorite is certainly one of the more collectable minerals since it: occurs in a wide variety of sedimentary and igneous rocks; is almost world-wide in occurrence; usually contains trace elements imparting a variety of colors; often is found in well-formed crystals. Although fairly soft (4 on Mohs) I was greatly impressed with numerous faceted stones---gems of several hundred carats. What mineral collector does not have one or more specimens of fluorite in their collection?
|FLUORITE PARK COUNTY, COLORADO.|
|FLUORITE CRIPPLE CREEK, COLORADO.|
|FLUORITE SPECIMEN PRESENTED TO YALE BY JAMES D. DANA.|
Although most displays stuck to the fluorite theme there were several other cases exhibiting a variety of specimens including a “gold” case (WOW), a case of trilliant cut gemstones, and the center of attention---the Maharaja of Indore necklace owned by the Smithsonian Institution. This beauty contains 374 diamonds and 15 emeralds. The center emerald is an intense green color, is exceptionally clear and weighs about 45 carats. I figured that would make a nice little Valentine’s Day present!
|MAHARAJA OF INDORE NECKLACE.|
So once again the Tucson Show comes to an end and visitors are returning home to all parts of the world (somehow I missed all of the CSMS members attending)! It is truly a magnificent sight for anyone evenly remotely interested in minerals, rocks, jewels, or fossils.
|FACETED ILLINOIS FLUORITE 1031 CARATS.|