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Tucson 2011 - The TGMS Show

Last Updated: 21st Feb 2011

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

Tucson 2011 - Part 3

And now the third and final part of my Tucson 2011 reporting - The TGMS show (and associated events). The TGMS show has been running now for fifty nine years, and is the cornerstone of the Tucson mineral activities. It's a busy four day show in the main convention centre.

As we have for the last three years, Mindat.org had a booth at the show, decorated in party fashion (thank you Jessica!) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of mindat.org

the mindat.org booth

The theme of this year's show is Minerals of California. And what better way to start this theme than with this classic Tourmaline Queen mine elbaite.

Tourmaline Queen mine Elbaite

One of the many displays of Californian minerals was this cabinet of "Unusual" San Diego Co. minerals, featuring specimens from the Gene and Roz Meieran and Bill Larson collections.

San Diego Co. (and neighbouring regions) mineral display

Heliodor from the Fano mine

Kunzite from the Pala Chief mine

And of course a blue cap tourmaline from the Tourmaline Queen mine

A new find of spodumene from the Oceanview mine in California was on display at the show, including some wonderful bicoloured crystals.

Spodumene from the Oceanview mine

And a very large crystal, with a cut gem

Also on display, under armed guard, was the Ausrox gold nugget, a whopping 23.26kg of gold! Found last year by a metal detectorist in Western Australia, the bullion value alone of this nugget is worth over $1 million US.

The Ausrox nugget

and next to it, from the Smithsonian, the Cullinan Blue Diamond, which is set into a necklace. The Cullinan Blue Diamond, gifted last year to the Smothsonian, was commissioned to commemorate the discovery of the Cullinan Diamond in 1905 - the largest rough diamond ever found.

Cullinan Blue Dimaond

It was very nice to see the Tucson Police Department, guarding the exhibits, were taking time out to talk to visitors about the exhibits they were guarding - explaining the history and illuminating them when necessary!

Showing off the exhibits

And you know I do love it when I get to see good British minerals at a UK show. And this year I was stunned to see a display of minerals from the Williams Caerhays Mineral collection. This collection was neglected for over a hundred years, but has now been put back on display in Cornwall, and I'm planning to arrange a visit so I can report on this exceptional collection. I'm especially interested in this because my best Cornish cuprite was originally part of this collection.

The Williams Family Collection

The obligatory Cornish Liroconite (how many of my show reports DON'T have a liroconite in them?)

Cassiterite pseudomorphs after orthoclase

Gold from Carnon Valley, Cornwall

Not all the minerals were British, they had a good selection of classic worldwide minerals from the 19th century too.

Russian beryl

Back to dealers. There were two especially exciting debuts of minerals at the show. The first was from Evan Jones, who had a superb batch of Mexican Azurite specimens.

Evan Jones with Azurite display

Azurite from Mexico

More Azurite

... and more Azurite

And possibly the world's best brochantite crystals from the same locality.

More brochantite

Moving along, we can always count on Justin Zzyzx and Brian Kosnar (Mineral Classics) to bring some gravitas to any event.

Justin and Brian

And now to the next major find. Regular mindat.org readers will remember discussions recently about the new pyromorphite from Brown's Open Pit, Rum Jungle, Australia, which has been saved and brought to market in cooperation with the mine owners, who have not only allowed these amazing specimens to be saved during the mining process, but have arranged for proceeds from the sale of these specimens to go to local volunteer fire fighter and ambulance services near the mine.

Pyromorphite & malachite


Pyromorphite on malachite

Next stop, Marcus at MineralZone, who has been helping to sell some of the duplicates dispersed by the University of Arizona Mineral Museum, and had these along with other fine specimens at the show.

A super 5cm gold from Venezuela

An excellent quality opal 'pineapple' (pseudomorph after glendonite) from Australia

An interesting matrix specimen of painite with corundum from Burma. Twenty years ago such a specimen would have been unspeakably valuable.

Wandering around, I always bump into friends.

Bill Pinch and Mike Rumsey

I showed some Chinese rhodochrosite from Collector's Edge in my previous two show reports, but the best was saved for last - two incredible specimens displayed at the TGMS show.

The "Emperor of China"

The "Empress of China"

Crystal Classics and Kristalle had hosted a Wild West/California Gold rush themed party on the previous saturday night (I had been invited but sadly could not make it), but those of us who missed it were able to catch the Crystal Classics and Kristalle team in full costume at the opening of the show.

The Sheriff makes sure the ladies are well protected

With Diana. No, I'm not kneeling.

And with Robin, who is a much more sensible height

Renate from the University of Bonn does her best to get into the mood, with Robin from Crystal Classics

Ian Bruce gets time to relax

One of the many cabinets of minerals at Crystal Classics/Kristalle

Platinum from California

Gold from Hope's Nose, Devon, England

What's that? You want to see another photo of Robin in her blue dress? Well, as you asked so nicely...

Robin from Crystal Classics

Christophe and Brice Gobin had more excellent Congo malachite specimens this year, including this tall artistic piece.

Malachite from the Congo, approx 20cm tall

It was nice to see New York dealer John Betts at the Tucson show for the first time in many years.

John Betts at Tucson

A John Betts specimen - Cinnabar from Nevada

On the Thursday there was a meeting of the SMMP (Society of Mineral Museum Professionals) at the show, and part of this was a game for museum curators to guess the mineral specimen value. A selection of specimens without location and without name were presented, curators had to identify the mineral AND the price assigned to the specimen by the dealers who were selling them.

Guess the specimen value

And in the evening yet another party graciously sponsored by Gail and Jim (who couldn't be there) Spann, called "Meet the Curators". I was invited, and as I'd already met the curators before, I decided to have fun taking photos.

Penny Williamson from Wollongong, Australia, and John Cornish, the Mr Nice of the mineral world

Jamie Newman from the American Museum of Natural History

Gail Spann and Jon Voelter. This photo will be appearing in a Caption Competition very soon

As I mentioned previously, this Tucson show I put on a display case (along with Jessica Simonoff) of minerals $10 or under. And every mineral was purchased in the previous few days at the shows. Here is the case. You can see on the far row the Vanadinite from John Cornish that was in my previous report.

The specimens were mostly "keystone" (50% discount) or "double keystone" (75% discount) - which means that dealers clearing stock of $20 or $40 minerals had items available that fitted our budget. We were amazed ourselves at the quality of specimens that we could obtain in a relatively short time in Tucson, given a little footwork and digging through flats.

It was my first time putting on a display, and I had certainly underestimated the work involved - thank you especially to Gail Spann who came to the rescue when we were struggling to fit the linings up in the case.

The $10 or less mineral display

Close up

Another close up

Finally, the Saturday night was the TGMS show silent auction and banquet, and although I didn't win anything in the silent auction, in the banquet I was presented with the Mineralogical Society of America's Distinguished Public Service medal.

Here I am giving my acceptance speech

And in this last photo, here I am with Jessica Simonoff (left) who had just received an award for best article in the Mineral News magazine, alongside Brandy Zzyzx who had recevied an award for best novice mineral display in the competitive mineral display competitions, and me, with my medal.

Award winners

The next show, (assuming visas get resolved in time) will be the Moscow and St Petersburg shows, Russia, in April!

Article has been viewed at least 30101 times.


Excellent report!!!

Brooks Britt
20th Feb 2011 8:28pm
Great report and congrats for the award (which was definitely well given :) ).

I'm just wondering whether the HUGE silve wire in Kristalle's showcase is from Germany or not... :P


Chris Mavris
21st Feb 2011 3:26pm
we were delighted with your award! BariteBill

Bill Dameron
21st Feb 2011 5:33pm
maybe its been mentioned but I'd really like to know what was in the less than ten dollar display.

Donald Vaughn
6th Mar 2011 12:15am
Some of the things I remember were a Spanish dolomite, Himalaya Mine tourmaline, stevensite, cobaltoan smithsonite in galena from Tsumeb, a vanadinite from Arizona, twin kernites (identical, not twinned), a large fishtail-twinned gypsum, and nice epidote.

Robert Simonoff
10th Mar 2011 9:49pm

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