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The 32nd Annual San Juan County Gem & Mineral Show

Last Updated: 6th Dec 2018

By Erin Delventhal

This is a LIVE report, keep this page loaded for live updates - new images will appear as they are added.

I'm live this weekend at the 32nd Annual San Juan County Gem & Mineral Show in Farmington, New Mexico.

(These are Chinese fluorites but we are wishing they were New Mexico specimens - we do have some like this!)

This isn't the largest show, but it is my hometown club show, so it's one of my favorites and I've known many of the people here since I was knee-tall.

We have about 34 vendors set up this year.

The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources Mineral Museum at New Mexico Tech has brought up a display of new acquisitions.

They had too much material for one case so we gave them two!

One of those New Mexico fluorites I mentioned earlier.

Farmington is the recent home of a brand new (2015) geology museum: the Sherman Dugan Museum of Geology.

I volunteered during the opening processes of this museum, which was a learning experience I could not have had otherwise.

The SDMG has also helped us fill an empty case by bringing one of my favorite oddities from the collection: a chalcedony flow structure from Mexico.

I've put in my Pseudomorph case again, with a few new additions.

(After much practicing of self restraint, it only has five Blanchard altered galenas. One of these years, I'll have to do an entire case dedicated to those.)

I do have to share my newest (and current favorite) out of this case: a new find of chalcedony epimorphs of "something" from Indonesia. I think cerrusite, though Jolyon has suggested it could also be aragonite, and I'm looking forward to knowing the real answer as (hopefully) more of this material starts to come out.

Joe Bishop, our resident petrified wood expert, has put in a case of local petrified palm wood

Joe is he kind of guy who can look at cell structures in petrified wood and start naming off species. Everything I know about pet wood is from listening to Joe.

Neva Meeks has put in her display of quartz. A passing child just remarked that he's never seen that much quartz in his life.

We had one more empty case, so I ran home last night and gathered up some of my pieces from collecting in the Cooke's Peak District this year.

While the octahedrons from Cooke's Peak have certainly had the most attention on the market, my favorite are these odd blue modified cubes - some have nicely beveled edges, but the most interesting ones have a 90 degree inset instead.

Phil Simmons and I have had some interesting conversations about that, and near as I've concluded the onset is caused by a growth interruptions caused by a preferential clay deposition. There's more to it than that and Phil drew me a picture, but we should be glad Phil pursued mineral collecting instead of art.

(Also a woman has just remarked of Neva's quartz case that she would "just die" if she ever found a piece of quartz like that - I should probably stand here and start signing people up for field trips!)

We have a silent auction table that runs throughout the show - Scully's Minerals has donated a nice cabinet sized Blanchard fluorite that's up for bidding right now.

There will be much lapidary material available at the silent auction also. We have many people in the area who cab and facet.

I'm helping out this show at Calvin & Paige Webb's booth, who are very dear friends.

Calvin is exceptional at explaining Mineralogy and geology to beginners, and he's got an enthusiastic audience here (one kiddo has even shown up with the proper headgear). I had many of these kind of discussions with Calvin when I was first starting out in minerals.

Calvin usually has a half price table, but this year he's decided everything (except Paige's jewlery) is half off, which is exciting since his prices are good before the discount.

A majority of my collection is material I've gotten from Calvin.

I already have a pile of specimens hidden away, but the books are also half price, so I'm about to get in an awful lot of trouble.

Trini & Julie's Minerals has some lovely plates of Vera Cruz amethyst.

They also have some SiC, and this one actually has some pretty interesting crystals.

Pick Me Rock Shop has some contour polished Arizona wood that's about as colorful as it gets.

Some local petrified wood in the silent auction. This is a relatively unusual coloration for Piñon Mesa.

KGS Lapidary has their array of lapidary machines and equipment, but also this very neat piece of Bisbee malachite and brochantite.

Johnathan Dobbs is giving a polishing demo out back.

There is also a fluorescent display - this little man wanted to be in my picture and I think he did a great job.

It's good wandering around and saying hello to human friends, but we have a few animal friends in attendance also.

This is Spirit, who is an African grey parrot who has been traveling along to Mineral shows with Barry Mercer Minerals for almost 20 years. She is enjoying a cracker right now.

Barry has some nice New Mexico staurolites.

Some interesting tabular quartz from Oklahoma.

Fowers Minerals and Fossils has some Japanese stibnites!

Mels is here with many unusual things. Here's a fairly well formed Petaca District monazite.

Barites with mimetite, Rawley Mine, Arizona.

A thing that's perplexed me recently: a Blanchard galena rhombohedron. Some of the altered galenas seem to be very distorted by some mechanism I'm still trying to figure out, but they aren't cubes anymore, and I haven't just completely lost my mind because I did show one to Mike Sanders and Ray DeMark and they agreed it was distorted.

If anyone has any insight into how or why this is happening, I'd love to hear it.

This is Tigre, who is an old friend. He is also affectionately known as Snaggletooth.

I haven't recently learned that Tigre has an Instagram and I am now following his show adventures.

Tigre has a new little brother named Bruno. He is super tiny.

It's now dinner time and we're being shooed out for the evening.

We're back for another day.

Here are some azurite "roses" from the Nacimiento Mine - this is still one of my favorite collecting areas and I'd been concerned about some recent reclamation talk, but I've just be reassured that "my spot" is safe for now.

Also, I've just had confirmation from Ray DeMark that these roses are post-mining, which is what I had suspected but I'm glad to hear I'm not crazy on that thought.

It's a bit of a walk from parking to the venue so we have a tractor ride available - the kids have been pretty excited about this.

There are also several items available for raffle. A few of you may have been involved in helping me get this amethyst cathedral transported around and from Tucson (thanks!).

There's a Wheel of Fortune game for the kids. $0.50 for one spin or 3 spins for $1.00.

There are plenty of goodies to be had here - kids of all ages (up to 100+) are welcome.

There is a whole selection of large Mexican "doorstop rocks" - but you have to be careful because I did find a large Cooke's Peak fluorite in here.

I'm back from sneaking away for lunch. There are some interesting danburites here - this one has some nice associated dolomite.

I'll have to come back here to look for a nice quartz-coated specimen.

I've found a thing I hadn't heard of before: siegenite, Buick Mine, Missouri.

A nice double-terminated flourapatite from the Pegmatite Lode, Eagle County, Colorado.

I've found a new pseudomorph for my collection (surprise).

The show is closed for the day, but we have a potluck dinner for our vendors every year, so it's social time!

We're back for the final day of the show. Here are a few lovely little Swiss anatase crystals.

Here's a thing not often seen, even in New Mexico: Blanchard Mine smithsonite.

Bill and Mickie Calvert are here too. They've been good family friends for as long as I can remember.

Bill and Mickie do some incredible lapidary work and Mickie's facets are always a delight - not just in her custom cuts, but also in some of her choices of material.

Here is a stunning cut on a glass marble.

And a Mickie special: tvsite, cut from glass from a 1950s era TV (that thick, curved glass that they just don't make anymore).

Jim Williamson from Earth Works is working on some jewelry repair. Jim does lovely work and I know my mom is supposed to come by to have some work done on her wedding ring.

Patsy Williamson is showing me a neat gem tester they have. I don't know much about these things, but it's pretty neat.

Bola Tys & Butterflys is here selling all sorts of gem related jewelry. They are locally based and have been doing business in the Four Corners for four generations, going on five.

An interesting locality for a decent smoky quartz.

Controversial opinion, just to get some folks riled up: Arizona quartz is more interesting than Arizona wulfenite.

The Sherman Dugan Museum of Geology has a table of touch-and-feel rocks for kids. I think it's very important for every child to touch a coprolite at least once, and it's much more entertaining when you tell them what it is after they've touched it.

MELS has a nice mica ps. tourmaline from Brazil.

Something a bit unusual: quartz coating hubnerite, 2150 level, Sunnyside Mine, Colorado.

A fun golden selenite from Sandoval County, New Mexico.

Armando & Sons has some lovely cabs available. Some nice variscite.

And some really nice pietersite.

Tory Bonner, our marvelous show chair and former president, has just announced the raffle winners. Show break-down is about to begin.

A few of my new treasures - I've got a new palygorskite, so if you have any sense of my taste in minerals, you'll know I'm pretty pleased.

Show breakdown is always a little bittersweet, but we'll see many of these faces again in Durango, Colorado next weekend.

There are a few people who weren't with us this year, so our hearts are hopeful as we wish a speedy recovery to Fred Bishop and our other friends who are struggling with health issues.

The one that hurts the most is Ken Newman, who was a dear, dear friend, an absolute joy to see every time our paths crossed, and the only man I've ever known who had the audacity to sphere a chunk of sandstone. RIP Ken, I miss you terribly.

Article has been viewed at least 2641 times.


Nice smithsonite after crinoid from Kelly!

Kevin Conroy
29th Jun 2018 8:13pm
Hey, my drawings weren't THAT bad! :P

Philip Simmons
29th Jun 2018 8:38pm
Let's just say the drawing did not get hung on my wall. :D

Erin Delventhal
29th Jun 2018 10:09pm
Great report Erin. Hope you will do the same next week at the Durango Show! See you there.

Eckhard D. Stuart
29th Jun 2018 10:48pm
Hi Eckhard! That was my plan - looking forward to seeing you!

Erin Delventhal
30th Jun 2018 1:10am
Thank you Erin for the show report. Keep them coming.
Good to see from the other side of the world.
And Erin you have a very nice display of pseudos with great info and signage in the case.
Also for someone to simply run home and gather up a case of self collected fluorites from Cooks Peak for display at a moment's notice (and some of those look very very good indeed) is amazing. Very good and well done to you.

As an aside, if I were working on Calvin's stall I'd have been putting aside some of those books as well.

Sounds like you are having/had a ball at the show despite having to work for your supper.

Keith Compton
30th Jun 2018 1:21am
Thanks for the compliment on the smithsonoid. It doesn't quite compare to Pat Haynes' Kellynoid suite, but I was pretty excited about it!

Thanks! To be fair, most of the Cooke's Peak material is lower quality than is available on the market (it's pretty "goopy," as some members of the New Mexico community would say), but it was a joy to collect and it's colorful enough for the general public to appreciate.

I always enjoy being at the shows, so it's never really felt like work!

Erin Delventhal
30th Jun 2018 3:27am
By the way, it's VERY unlikely that the stibnite specimens are from Japan. They're more likely from either Herja or Baia Sprie Mine in Romania.

Kevin Conroy
30th Jun 2018 5:15am
Truly excellent Show report. Highly appreciate the efforts to share your experiences with us.
Good photos too. My absolute favorite is the little man at the fluorescent minerals display. I consider that a world class photo for promoting fluorescent minerals.

Herwig Pelckmans
30th Jun 2018 1:50pm
Great report Erin and like Keith I'm enjoying reading it from the other side of the world! Your one pic of Calvin and Paige Webb's 50% off mineral box highlights the fact that there are still good affordable minerals around. I zoomed in and saw several Tsumeb minerals that, with even without 50% off, are a steal. Ditto on the books!


Bruce Cairncross
30th Jun 2018 9:00pm
My wife Elsa and I loved your pseudomorph exhibit in Tucson and I wanted congratulate you after the show, but other things diverted my attention and forgot to do it. Looking at it again here reminded me, so I want take the opportunity before I forget. We found it superbly done, congratulations! I must mention that we find lot of the Tucson exhibits, like having the same competitive displays, repetitive and boring. Some of the specimen we probably have seen every year for the last 30 years. Keep up the good work and your direct and strong opinions, which we find very refreshing.

László Horváth
30th Jun 2018 10:33pm
Thank you, Herwig and Bruce!

Laszlo, I didn't have the pseudomorph display in Tucson, so that must have been someone else's case. I had the Origin of Mineral Names case in Tucson and set up this case for the first time at the spring Albuquerque show. But I'm sure I can claim some strong opinions, so thank you all the same. ;)

Erin Delventhal
1st Jul 2018 12:10am
Erin, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your show report. It was almost as good as being there. Thank you.

Donald B Peck
1st Jul 2018 6:58pm
Excellent report, Erin!
We may have to chat soon about how to put together these show reports.....

Paul Brandes
1st Jul 2018 10:29pm
Thanks! It would have been nice to have you here, but we may just have to meet somewhere in the middle some day!

Thank you! If you're interested in doing live reports, Jolyon and I would be happy to arrange that and teach you how!

Erin Delventhal
2nd Jul 2018 12:11am
Erin, nice quartz twin from Silverton! Those are pretty rare from that locale.

I'll help you fuel the fire on Arizona quartz vs. wulfenite. Here's a double terminated scepter from Fat Jack Mine that David Shannon found on one of his collecting trips: https://www.mindat.org/photo-808374.html

Kevin Conroy
2nd Jul 2018 1:30am
Agree with Kevin (seems like I always do!), those "Japanese" stibnites are almost certainly Romanian. Uggghhhh.

Dana Slaughter
2nd Jul 2018 3:07am
If I were to get even more controversial, my original statement could use the clarification that I don't even really like quartz either. I'm curious to see how much trouble I'm going to be in with the Arizona collectors for this. ;)

Thanks for the confirmation. I suppose I don't know much about Japanese stibnites, but it seemed an honest-enough mistake here.

Erin Delventhal
2nd Jul 2018 4:35am

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