|Tucson Gem Show Trip - 2018 Page 2
February 26, 2018
3:00 PM Eastern
|Page 2 of my buying trip to Tucson, Arizona
and then digging in various places.
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|I Finally see the Arizona State Line sign on my third day of driving. Day one is Atlanta, Ga to
Arcadia, LA, day two was Arcadia to Llano, Tx to swing a sledge hammer for 3 hours and then
onwards to spend the night in Van Horn, Texas. Since everybody that is anybody is either in Tucson
or on the way there or on the way back, it is usually possible to meet up there or in transit. I had
arranged to meet some friends in Van Horn to do some horse trading. Then the third day is about 6
hours of driving to finally reach Tucson!
|One of my annual traditions at the show is to get a Tucson show T-shirt. Believe it
or not, not many people make these. Luckily, Marty Zinn's Arizona Mineral &
Fossil Show (AMFS) makes a super nice shirt in a joint effort with Mineral Artist
I buy one every year and the ones that I bought 14 years ago still have bright
colors despite heavy wear and being washed a lot. Some years I am kicking
myself for not buy two shirts. The one a couple of years back with the diamond
crystals is my favorite.
|Another tradition that I have is to go by Old Pueblo Coin
and pick up the new year's latest Silver Eagle bullion coin.
These are usually released in mid-January and I always go
by "Tucson's Place to Deal" and get one.
|This year I spent half a day on arrival in Tucson, then half a day the next day
before heading north to do some digging. I hit a few spots in Northeast Arizona,
cut across to Blythe, California, then to Quartzsite and back to Tucson. Below is
a few pictures from my first pass through Tucson. I do come back after some
digging in Arizona and California.
|To the left is a poor picture of a nice
arkansas quartz crystal with blue cookeite
inclusions spotted at the old InnSuites / Hotel
Tucson in the room of Blake Barnet of
Barnett's Fine Minerals.
I had some business to take care with a
friend from Johannesburg so I had stopped
by Hotel Tucson only briefly on my first pass.
The new hotel name sure isn't growing on
|My next stop was to the old "Electric
Park" now called Kino Sports Complex
or something equally lame. Another
case of the coolest name ever being
changed. "Electric Park" just sounds,
well, "ELECTRIC!". So why the name
change I have no idea?? I usually
grab stuff for my Rock Shop here. I
didn't take pictures on site but here's a
cool brazillian amethyst point for my
shop. This has acicular golden
goethite and cristobalite inclusions. I
bought 4 kilograms so I have large
points for sale @ $12 and medium
points for $6 at THE MINERAL
GALLERY. The main company that I
buy from was out of a lot of the usual
things that I buy. The worker that I
talked to, who was in management and
should know, told me that they were
out of a lot of things and that they had
sold " over six million dollars worth of
stuff in 14 days".
|It doesn't pay to let grass grow under your feet when in Tucson, and I try to be a real rolling stone. So I made a
mad dash across town to the 22cnd street market. A friend asked me to be on the lookout for Azurite from Milipas.
Me, being not too bright, only heard the azurite part and took lots of pictures of azurite from everywhere else -
namely because that's all I saw for awhile. So, I have lots of azurite photos that I'll share.
Pro Tip: "Whatsapp" is THE app to use for sending pictures and video because the compression technology is
incredible. It uploads/downloads lightning fast , even video, with no loss of quality. It's so good that FaceBook
bought them out to own the messaging and compression technology. I use whatsapp constantly when in Tucson
since it's better than anything out there for image and video sharing.
The 22cnd street market is a relatively new venue and is rapidly scaling up. They did away with their free parking
but at least they only charge $3 compared to a fiver everywhere else. They have added a second building which
had high end specimens. Some vendors say they do well there but I had a friend that had nothing but complaints
about the spot when he was there in 2016. There is a mix of buyers but I suspect that it is more people like me that
buy to resale for rock shops, shows and ebay. This tends to cut out having sales to collectors (but resalers do
make personal splurge purchases on occasion). I suppose that collectors do come thru and the new building with
high end material may bring more collectors to shop at 22cnd street market. I like the place as a buyer, it's
definitely a good place to shop. I might even would set up as a vendor there and I think it has great potential.
|Above and left is azurite as well as
some vanadinite on barite from
This has druze crystals that are a bit
nicer than the photos indicate.
|Below we see products made with Azurite and malachite as well as crystalline azurite. Last year they had a few t-shirts with the blue
azurite balls and it had 2 blue azurite balls and the inscription " I got blue balls in Utah!". I was tempted to get a shirt las year and now
wished that I had.
The website for BLUE CRYSTAL MINES is really cool. It has background info on the history of the mine as well as a photo showing an
animal skull partially replaced with Azurite. It mentions human skeletons being found that were replaced by azurite!
If you visit their site, please mention you saw them first right here.
|Seen blelow is Random Azurite crystal specimens, one of which is from Ajo Mine, Arizona and one that is six hundred and fifty dollars. YIKES!
|And finally! Milipas Azurite. Finely crystalized in sizable gemmy crystals and deepest azure color!
|I got some awesome malachite spheres and eggs as well as the
same carved from gemmy apatite crystals. Some of the apatite
was chatoyant with a strong cat's eye and/or schiller!
The photo on the lower left shows 1.4 KG of malachite on the
|I have most of the
malachite and apatite
spheres & eggs already
out and on the shelves
at The Mineral Gallery
in McDonough, Georgia.
|The photos below don't show the fire, flash and color of the hight chatoyant labradorite on off in Tucson. The photo on the extreme left shows labradorite that
weigh six to ten pounds each! This year I got a lot of labradorite and got 4 of the huge ones and then about seven different types of labradorite. I got teardrops,
and a type called "GALLETS", then some free-form shapes, hearts, and a few others that I am at a loss to describe.
|Stone heart carvings are also popular
so I always try to get them made out of
different material. The 22cnd street
market is a good spot for this along
with a place off of Oracle road near
|Another thing that is popular is Larimar and there is a booth in the
22cnd street market that has nothing but larimar!
There's also a dealer from the congo with a malachite booth. And
yeah, I totally misspelled 'larimar' on fifty labels that I now have to
|I saw some really funny signs, including one defining "KEYSTONE".
I don't know if they were trying to be funny or if it was just a poor
translation. If you are not a dealer or geologist (or both) then you
may not get the joke!
"Everybody knows" that paleontologists learn the definition of
Keystone on the first day of college class. They say that
mineralogists don't cover this until a full week has passed!
|The second thing I saw, just down the way, was another thing in the "things that make you go Hmmm" department. Now, I wonder if they don't
know any better or if they are trying to scam someone? I'd imagine that they would have to know better? See if you can spot anything wrong with
the picture of Pink Tanzanite below. In case you don't know what's what, the Pink Tanzanite is just above the "Tombline".
|And then we have this:
Because ............. Aliens?
|For those that don't get the Pink Tanzanite "joke", or scam - whichever it may be: It could be that they didn't know any better. But since they had a whole
bunch of tanzanite - as in, a table totally covered with tanzanite, they would just about have to know that there wasn't a pink version that looked totally
different from the thousands of other tanzanite crystals that they had that all looked similar in shape if not in color.
It could be that when they made the sign they couldn't spell "tourmaline" and just thought they'd put a name that they did know how to spell and that people
would just figure it out themselves. That "TOMBLINE" is a good one. Granted, it took me 15 years to learn how to spell tourmaline and I still have my bad
days where I totally tombline it up. Actually, I am really super bad dyslexic and touramaline gets typed quite often even though I certainly know better. My
hands are not connected to my brain all that well when it comes to typing.
Speaking of being dyslexic and otherwise mentally disturbed: I had kept telling myself to take a picture of the table that was totally covered with tanzanite.
The problem was that every time that I started to do so a damn squirrel would run by!
Since seeing this sign I have often wondered how many people bought themselves a piece of that hot new pink tanzanite? And how many people will be on
ebay reselling this new find?
|My first night in Tucson ended up not being a night in Tucson. You see, hotel rates DOUBLE during the show.
Even the fleabags that charge $60 normally charge $130 per night during the show and with no breakfast.
Usually I use my points and get free nights but I didn't have the points needed to do that this time.
So even though I was super tired from driving 1860 miles from Atlanta to Tucson (and swinging a sledge
hammer for 3 hours during one o fhose days) I decided that I was going to drive far enough away from Tucson
to not have to pay double. In case you are wondering, that was a 50 minute drive North of Tucson! But that
meant I had another $78 to spend on rocks that I wouldn't have otherwise.
So that is how I ended up with the above picture the next morning heading back in to Tucson. The mountains
have crazy shapes to them that is so markedly different from the mountains that we have in some areas of the
|Continued on PAGE THREE
|What burns me up is when
I'm doing a show and some
one comes up and asks
"Are these prices
keystone?. I don't know if
they are truly that ignorant
or if it is purposely meant
to be an insult or what?
And my prices are almost
always under market