Sunday, April 5, 2020


The” granddaddy” of the Tucson venues is the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® (TGMS) that finishes off a a spectacular two weeks plus of smaller ancillary shows.  I usually attend the opening day (February 13th this year) and the crowd was large (perhaps average?) and the displays were spectacular.  The Show, as do most club shows, features both guest display/competitive cases of minerals, and booths occupied by several hundred dealers (~250).  A big difference between TGMS, and a local show, is that high-end dealers from around the word bring their finest specimens to Tucson.  These often are minerals that the general public may never have the chance to observe again. The prices for these museum-quality specimens ranges into the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars and are usually marked POR (price on request).  For me, and perhaps most attendees, just ogling at these one-of-a-kind mineral specimens is well worth the entire trip to Tucson.


It also should be noted that TGMS sponsors several lectures contests (Mineral Photo Contest), and symposia (see below) throughout the week and these are free to the public (admission charge for the display parts of the Show).  There is a Saturday night program with a silent auction, buffet dinner, an awards ceremony, and auctions.  On Thursday the Micromount Room was open and Friday brings the Author Roe Memorial Micromount Symposium with talks by Joe Marty (Rare and not so rare minerals), Herwig Pelckmans (Titanite and friends), and John Jaszcak (Micromineral graphite). 

At the Saturday evening program John F. Rakovan, Professor of Geology and Environmental Earth Science at Miami University, was awarded the prestigious 2019 Carnegie Mineralogical Award honoring his outstanding contributions in mineralogical preservation, conservation, and education.  In addition, the journal Mineralogical Record was honored as it celebrated 50 years of publication.
Symposium & Guest Speaker Schedule “WORLD CLASS MINERALS”

A Short History About How Impossible Crystals Came to Earth From Outer Space: Luca Bindi
Burrage Legacy and the Ram’s Horn: Raquel Alonso-Perez
The Super-Deep Origin of World Class Diamonds: Evan M. Smith
Distrito Galeana Chihuahua- Setting an example in promoting Education, Economic Development and Tourism for a Better Future in Mexico: Alberto Ray
Mineral Photography Seminar: Jeff Scovil 
Augmenting Museum Experiences with Digital Outreach Education: Aaron Celestian,
Diamonds in the Rough: Claire Mitchell
The Lore of Lithium: Ihor Kunasz
Genetic Classification of Inclusions in Quartz: Jaroslav Hyrsl
Forensic Mineralogy: New Insights into Wire Silver Formation: John Rakovan
World Class Gems at the Taj Mahal: Dona Dirlam
Where Do You Find Wood With Turquoise Already In It?: Morrie Elmer
A Mineralogist Looks at Minerals: What is a World Class Mineral: Peter J. Modreski
Metals as World Class Mineral Specimens: Terry Wallace
Precious Cut:  What and How: Victor Tuzlukov, G.G.
Hydrothermal Crystal Growth: Vlad Klipov
Since it is really tough to write much about the TGMS, most of this article is composed of photographs.  But remember: 1) the Show is overwhelming with the number of exhibits and cases; 2) virtually every mineral is behind glass and that fact affects photographs.

A recent addition to the "state fossil" category is Tylosaurus, a Mosasaur (marine lizard) collected from the Cretaceous Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Formation of western Kansas. Specimens of the State Marine Fossil are nicely displayed at the Sternberg Memorial Museum at 
Fort Hays State University (where I first started).

The Main Show occupied the Convention Center main floor and a ballroom upstairs housed most of the jewelry booths.
This beautiful elbaite variety of tourmaline from 
Minas Gerais in Brazil could be purchased for &14,000.
Joe Dorris from the Colorado Springs Club 
operates Pinnacle 5 Minerals and mines amazonite (microcline feldspar) in the Lake George area west of the Springs.  This specimen is from the famous Smoky Hawk Claim.
This crystal of blue beryl from Afghanistan could be in your collection for $10,000.
The geode crackers are the busiest booth at the Show.
Vanadinite on barite from Mibladen, Morocco.
Beryl v. aquamarine, fluorite, and muscovite from Hunza Valley, Pakistan.  Collector's Edge, POR.
The bookseller had lookers all day.
Wendell Wilson of the Mineralogical  Record is not only a famous mineralogist but a fantastic artist.
Rhodocrosite from the Sweet Home Mine, Colorado.  Purchase at Collector's Edge, Golden, Colorado.
Quartz v. amethyst collected in Wilkes County, Georgia.
Azurite and malachite collected in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
World Class minerals from New Mexico.
World Class minerals are often collected in the 
mines at San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
World Class minerals from Colorado.
Green "balls" of prehenite collected in Mali and exhibited by the University of Arizona.
Pyrite and calcite from the Honqwei Iron Ore Mine, China.

So, Tucson 2020 has passed, and the planning crew is already at work with 2021 Show.  With all the vendor movement associated with the Tucson City Center Show, and the fact that the El Conquistador Hilton is several miles north of downtown Tucson, next year’s events certainly will be “different.”  But, the minerals will be on display, and available for purchase, so life goes on.  I look forward to a return visit.