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Tucson 2012 - Report

Last Updated: 29th Oct 2012

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

Tucson 2012 - Report

I'm back in Tucson again for another year, and finally have time to write a report.

John White was sitting outside the Inn Suites, it was so sunny that only tourmaline provided sufficient eye protection. These glasses were custom made by Naiomi Hinds.

John S White with his tourmaline-tinted specs

A large find of 'fossilised bamboo' - or chalcedony - from Indonesia was on display at the Pueblo Gem and Mineral show. I've no idea if the stated origin is genuine, but it seems suspicious to me.

"Fossilised Bamboo" from Indonesia

I visited Rocksaholics at the Pueblo Show, and they showed me an exceptional tourmaline specimen - now sold!

Jolyon with Arif and Aisha from Rocksaholics

Here is the incredible tourmaline specimen from Afghanistan displayed by Rocksaholics - already sold by the time I went to see them.


Here's an aquamarine with schorl in the shape of a poodle's face! From Rocksaholics

The Aquamarine Poodle

And also from Rocksaholics, this schorl 'bug' trapped in Aquamarine!

Schorl in Aquamarine

This massive Brazilian amazonite crystal was displayed in the courtyard at the Pueblo show.

Huge Amazonite

Over to the Inn Suites show, Jaroslav Hyrsl has a number of specimens of Anorpiment, a newly approved mineral.


Here is one of the larger specimens.


Jaroslav also had this curious manganocalcite from racracancha, Peru, with no less than three different twins combined into one specimen!

Manganocalcite from Racracancha, Peru

Rick Kennedy from Earth's Treasures had a find of superb aquamarine beryl from the California Blue Mine, San Bernardino Co, California. This is one good example.


Gunnar Farber, dealer in much unusual stuff, had these crystals of Jadeite (from Syros Island in the Aegean Sea, part of Greece)

Crystalline Jadeite

Another rarity from Gunnar, Eitelite from the Green River Formation, Wyoming.


Feroz Azam, from Hamza Gems and Mineral, had a large quantity of quartz crystals from Pakistan that contained yellowish inclusions of hydrocarbons.

Feroz Azam

Here are the quartz crystals.

The quartz crystals

And under UV, the inclusions glow brightly.

Under UV

Here is a close-up.

Close-up of the crystals under UV

Jordi Fabre had a number of botryoidal mottramite specimens, a new find from the Ojuela Mine in Mexico.


Another new find at the show, this sample also from Jordi, was excellent combinations of Chalcopyrite and Siderite from China - although there is some doubt about the exact locality for these.

Chalcopyrite and Siderite

Jeff Self and Donna Ware from Self-a-Ware minerals had a great selection of topaz crystals from their claims in Colorado.

Topaz from Colorado

One particularly fine example of Colorado topaz.

Beautiful Topaz from Colorado

Another new find of orange hematite-coated quartz from the Orange River, South Africa, was seen around the show - this particularly nice single crystal was offered by Chris Wright.

Orange River quartz

Dioptase from the Kaokoveld in Namibia was also available around the show from a number of dealers, this particularly fine small sample with a grey cerussite crystal attached was offered by Luis Burillo minerals.

Dioptase from Kaokoveld, Namibia

Moving on next to the Westward Look show, this japan-law quartz twin was offered by Green Mountain Minerals

Japan-law quartz

Collector's Edge offered a number of the new Namibian Dioptase specimens. Here are a few great examples.


Another Dioptase

Dioptase with Shattuckite

A great single dioptase crystal

Watzl minerals brought some classic European minerals, which I always enjoy, including this German proustite.

Proustite from Germany

And this, claiming to be the largest 'Iron Rose' hematite ever found in the Alps.


From the other end of Europe, they had this lovely Kammererite crystal on matrix.


And from the Asian part of Russia, this excellent Sperrylite specimen.


Cal Graeber had this classic (and highly desirable) Mourne Mountains Beryl - one of the subjects of my Tuesday night presentation.

Aquamarine from Northern Ireland

While The Arkenstone had a group of Vietnamese aquamarine beryl crystals

Aquamarine from Vietnam

Western Minerals offered this copper psuedomorph after cuprite from Mt Isa, Australia

Copper after Cuprite

I usually feature minerals from Brian and Brett Kosnar of Mineral Classics in my show report but this time I thought I'd concentrate on the tremendous collection of cut gems made that Brett has faceted for sale.

Cut Gems from Brett Kosnar

This faceted opal was simply amazing. A photo cannot ever do it justice.

Faceted opal

New techniques for more artistic carving into minerals have given Brett the chance to create pieces such as this, an Ametrine from Bolivia.

Artistic Ametrine

Monday night was our annual Mindat "meet the managers" meeting at Rock Currier's room in the Inn Suites show. Here a group of about 30 serious users discussed issues such as the future of the site, mineral restoration and how to improve our educational content.

Monday Mindat Meeting

Tuesday night was the joint Gem and Mineral Show evening where Tomasz Prazkier and myself gave public talks, to about 160 people in a very pleasant outside setting with plenty of wine and cheese for guests.

Pueblo Evening Event

The presentation underway

Presentation underway

Here I am (left) with Dave Wilber (host of the What's Hot in Tucson DVDs) and Elise Skalwold (editor of the Journal of Gemmology)

Party guests

People enjoying the after-presentation drinks

Party crowd

Justin Zzyzx hands Michael Bainbridge a copy of his latest book - The Vug Magazine Director's Cut. I have five of my articles within this book, so please buy it!

Justin and Michael

Article has been viewed at least 44382 times.


Nice !! thanks Jolyon. I love the Tuscoon reports.....whoops did I put an extra zero in Tuscon ;)

Craig Mercer
9th Feb 2012 7:36am
Thanks for the report Jolyon. I hope to make it there one year soon, but until then show reports like yours do a lot to provide some insight. That Tourmaline that Rocksaholics had was beautiful--I recall seeing it at their booth at the Detroit show. I also remember the price tag on it, and I wish I had that amount to spend on minerals!

Scott Sadlocha
10th Feb 2012 12:53am
Thanks for the update Jolyon... I would like to get to that show some year...and I bought the book!

John Montgomery
10th Feb 2012 11:35am
Thanks for taking the time to do this. I wish i was there!!!

Rob Woodside
10th Feb 2012 8:55pm
Jolyon, a query...I thought I saw a price tag on that single crystal dioptase when you originally posted but now it seems cropped. Was I dreaming? I haven't mentioned the price as I figured there was a reason for this...but just wondering if my mind was going:)

John Montgomery
11th Feb 2012 1:49pm
Yes, it's now cropped - we generally don't show prices on these reports - the previous photo was uploaded in error.

Jolyon & Katya Ralph
11th Feb 2012 8:04pm
Thanks for the update

Mikael Gonzales
11th Feb 2012 11:11pm
Thanks for the reassurance I'm not losing it Jolyon:)

John Montgomery
12th Feb 2012 2:33am
Thanks for the 1st. report, Jolyon. Even though I spent the week there, I still didn't get to see everything.

The TGMS displays were just amazing for the Arizona mineral collector. I almost overloaded my appriciation of azurite and malacite. Several cases had the most memorable cuprite calcites. These little beauties sure struck a note with me.

Robert Knox
14th Feb 2012 1:46am
Shut my mouth. Stop taking photos of me mid-gushing over being near the great Michael Bainbridge!

Justin Zzyzx
14th Feb 2012 5:53am
Lol Justin, strange you say that !! I don't think I have ever seen so many photographs of open mouths in the past week or so as I have in my entire life, but hey, yours is definitely the best ;)

Craig Mercer
14th Feb 2012 7:22am
Justin - the woman behind you didn't seem very impresesed

Jolyon & Katya Ralph
15th Feb 2012 6:00pm
Thanks Jolyon, we appreciate you posting these reports after the show. Do you have that picture of the only two (presumably) Herschel's in Tucson? I believe there are a few of those photos floating around but I think you had taken one at the Show evening lecture.

Hershel Friedman
16th Feb 2012 4:19am
Lol Jolyon, I know that posture only to well. That's the concerntration needed just prior to a good hard to move, na I probably shouldn't ;)

Craig Mercer
16th Feb 2012 5:48am
With respect to the photo of "fossilized bamboo" from Indonesia, a very good friend of mine, Fran Hueber, retired paleobotanist at the Smithsonian, has examined much of this material. It is quite natural, but there is no evidence that the chalcedony was deposited around bamboo. It does appear that the chalcedony coated a variety of grasslike organisms, several types, but the exact nature of those plants has not been determined. If spores can be found, the plants could be positively identified, but no spores have yet been seen. Some of the hollow stems contain pyrite that is organic in origin.

John S. White
24th Feb 2012 4:12pm
Is there some special format for putting together such a photographic report here in I have a lot of interesting photos from Tucson which I would love to share as well, but do not know how...

Ray Hill
15th Mar 2012 1:27pm
Not really. You have to upload the photos to the database (Other photos is usually the way such photos are categorized) and then can use the formatting in an article to put it together (Jolyon used a photo width of 700).

David Von Bargen
20th Mar 2012 2:22pm

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