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Tucson Show - what is good this year?

Posted by Evangeline Erskine  
Evangeline Erskine January 12, 2018 07:10PM
This will be my second year for the Tucson show (hurrah!)
I wonder if folks know what are likely to be the new finds best opportunities to get a good specimen of cabinet sized minerals this year. I would love to be able to plan ahead a bit an know what to look for when I get there.

Thanks for any help with this!
Holger Hartmaier January 12, 2018 08:35PM
Hi Evangeline,
I just saw your post and I thought I would take the opportunity to reply, even though I'm not an annual visitor to the Tucson show and hence not an expert commentator. I won't make it there this year, so I am envious of your opportunity. It is fair to say that you should have no problem finding cabinet sized specimens, so your question is rather general. Since you were there last year, you already have an appreciation of the size and extent of the various venues. There are numerous shows in the weeks ahead of the main Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, so it boils down to what your interests are, the time you have available and the size of your pocketbook. One suggestion I would make is to download a copy of the Tucson show guides available online. These would at least give you the names of the dealers at each location and let you decide which ones would likely have what you are looking for.

When I go, I tend to take my time and browse through as much as I can. I'm not necessarily looking for anything in particular, but I know what I want when I see it. You will have to be prepared to make a buying decision quickly, because if you try to comparison shop, you will likely find your first selection sold- that is if you even remember where you saw it.

Hope that helps as a preliminary reply. If you have anything specific you are looking for, I'm sure someone on this forum will be able to direct you to the right source.

Good luck!
Bob Harman January 12, 2018 08:43PM
EVANGELINE, Welcome to Mindat.
If finances are not so important to you, as you intimate in your post, there are new large SCOLECITE sprays from wells being dug at a locality in the Deccan Traps of India. I saw several, just mined, at the Denver show. Also there was an article on these in a recent mineralogical periodical.
There are large hi quality finds of lemon yellow BRUCITE.
In the last couple of years there is a new find of odd large CALCITE twins from a Mexican(?) locality.

Many of the hi end purchases of new finds are started or completed prior to the show, so if you are really interested in these quality minerals, you should get on several hi end dealers call lists. At the show, be sure to see the Westward Look Show put on specifically for hi end collectors and dealers by Dave Waisman.

If these quality specimens are out of your range, I am sure you will discover other newer finds. Have fun at the show. CHEERS.....BOB

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2018 08:46PM by Bob Harman.
Travis Hetsler January 13, 2018 04:21PM
As Bob has mentioned the "new finds" are typically offered to the high rollers first before they even hit the shows or general market. HOWEVER, if you take the time to search carefully you will discover smaller vendors in off-label shows that offer similar material but at a fraction of the cost. Hint: they are almost always foreign nationals (Chinese, Moroccan, Brazilian, Peruvian,etc), not USA born citizens, and they love to haggle, despite the language barrier. Many times I have seen the exact same specimens from these dealers offered in higher end show cabinets marked up to 10x the original price. This is where it pays to arrive early in Tuscon (one week before the official show start) and be thorough. Enjoy the great treasure hunt that is Tuscon!

Jim Allen January 14, 2018 02:00AM
Travis' advice is very good. I'll try to add some more detail. As a Tucson resident, I have the luxury of taking my time, and getting to almost all of the locations.

Westward Look. I've given up on this show. It's just out of my league. You may visit five or six rooms before you see a piece for less than $5000. The dealers are usually engaged in either conversations or transactions, so meeting them or asking questions is awkward. There is very much an "insiders" vibe to the show, and I always feel like an interloper. Get your fill of unaffordable eye candy at the Fine Minerals International house, and at the Pueblo Show, instead.

Hotel Tucson City Center. Don't wait until opening day. By 2-3 days before opening date, about 1/2 the dealers are selling. There are always new specimens from China, last year I bought some nice Colorado amazonite, and sulfide minerals from Bulgaria. UK Mining Ventures usually opens on Thursday before official opening, at 5:00, and there's always a line.

Main Avenue Gem Show. This is mainly Moroccan dealers. It only takes an hour or two, but is well worth it. Ask to look at the boxes of minerals under the tables, be prepared to haggle a bit, but you can get some fine Moroccan pieces at reasonable prices.

Globex at Red Lion Inn (formerly Days Inn). THE place to go for Peruvian pyrites, and some south african material. In the driveway out back is a row of Chinese dealers where its well worth taking your time. Be aware you'll see some heavily-oiled fluorites, but after cleaning they're likely still decent specimen. Again, look under the tables, and expect to haggle.

Pueblo Show at the Riverpark Hotel. I almost always find something nice here. There is a Moroccan dealer in a tent out front that always has some good pieces--a few years ago I got a nice blue barite at a fraction of the main dealers' prices.

Kino Sports Complex. This is out of the way, and definitely not high-end. The are a couple of dealers with copper minerals from the Congo or Botswana, and one with garnets and prehnite from Mali. I usually go early to see a dealer who has fluorites and calcites from the Elmwood Mine. This has some of the more affordable Indian minerals too. Most anything you buy here will need a little extra cleaning or other prep. Skip it if you're short on time.

Have fun. Focus on what you can see, and discipline yourself not to think about what you're missing--there's just too much to take in! And leave some good pieces for me!

Happy Hunting
Kevin Conroy January 14, 2018 02:20AM
If you like minerals from Tsumeb you may want to go to https://www.crystalclassics.co.uk/events/26/tucson-2018-the-tsumeb-forum/
Evangeline Erskine January 16, 2018 03:09AM
Thank you all! I didn't realize there was no notification to my email that someone had responded, so excited to see your advice!
I am looking for 'my best specimens' at this point, but my best are definitely not in the $5000 category. The most expensive I have now was $440. I will be in Tucson starting the 4th. (last year i was there at the end of the show, felt i got some good 'bargains as dealers were headed out and really upped my collection. this year though I am definitely looking for a few quality specimens rather than volume) I would love to have nice specimens of wire sliver (though that may be too rich for my budget), also orpiment, realgar, molybdenite, stibnite, malachite, and Quartz xls with inclusions. I suppose I will get mostly what appeals, do like crystals in matrix though!
I did get a small scolefcite spray last year, quite happy with it too! Would be super hapoy to find calcite twins, will definitely look for them!
As it turns out, I love to haggle too, so checking out the foreign nationals offerings sounds great to me. Maybe next year I will come even sooner!
I did enjoy the Fine Minerals show last year, definitely not buying there but amazing to see... may try to get to Westward Look show just for the experience too.

I have this all down and open to more advice too! I will try to keep it fun and not 'get my 'Wanter' going as a friend says.

Thanks again to all!
Norman King January 17, 2018 04:32AM
Forget the $5,000 specimens at the Westward Look show. However, in the past some dealers have also had cabinets of drawers full of specimens, many in the small cabinet size, more or less, priced in the range of a few to several hundred dollars. They would make nice additions to most anyone's collection. So, be sure to look through those drawers. I was tempted by several last time I was there (two years ago), as my needs are also pretty much beyond anything that is cheap.
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