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Tucson Mineral Shows 2006 - Inn Suites

Inn Suites Hotel 

If there is a mineral collector's equivalent to Mecca, it's Tucson, in Arizona - and Mineral Collectors are almost obliged to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. Tucson is not a show, not in the normal sense, it's a town full of shows -  the whole town goes mineral mad for three weeks.  Our first stop was the Inn Suites show, one of a group of shows run by Marty Zinn, who organizes and runs most of the largest mineral shows in the US. Most of the shows are based around hotel rooms, which are opened up for potential buyers to wander into. The more sophisticated dealers have moved the beds out of the way to make room for their cabinets. The others lie flats of rocks out on top of the beds for people to browse through.

First stop was the Crystal Classics / Kristalle room, they were still dispersing their share of the Marty Zinn collection, which was sold to Crystal Classics and Collectors Edge last year. Apparently Marty has already started building up his new collection, even going as far as buying back at least one of his old pieces - he missed it too much!

Here is a neat little Moroccan Wulfenite from the Kristalle/Crystal Classics room in the Inn-Suites. Like many of the major dealers, they had rooms at more than one show.  Their room also served a useful purpose as a meeting point - as I had arranged in advance to meet up with various Mindat contributors at the show - here I am in the center, with Chet Lemanski (left) and Jesse Fisher (from UK Mining Ventures) - both of whom are regular mindat.org contributors.

Here, along with myself and Chet, are some good friends from the museum world - Katherine Dunnell from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Mike Rumsey (center) and Alan Hart from the Natural History Museum in London.

Now, you probably didn't come here to look at my holiday snaps. You want to look at some rocks, don't you? Well, to be honest there wasn't much new in Tucson this year. Nowdays new finds tend to go onto the internet straight away - in the past they'd all be kept back for Tucson - so for a couple of years now the list of new things at Tucson has not been that impressive. But - that doesn't mean there was nothing, so I went looking for things to tell you about...

Cal Neva Minerals were amongst a small number of dealers selling some of the more recent finds of Painite crystals. If you had missed out on this story, Painite used to be one of the rarest gem minerals known - only a tiny number of crystal fragments were even recorded. In the last couple of years a new find in Burma has come to the market, still not a large number, but enough of these crystals have been found for them to make an appearance at the shows.

Great Basin, who shared their room also claimed to offer The Finest Lot of Getchellite Crystals Ever Offered, from the type locality, but collected in 1990 (so not exactly new). For good crystals of a rare species these were quite reasonably priced.

Another contributor to mindat.org who was present and exhibiting at the Inn Suites was John Cornish, who has been working the Rat Nest Claim in Idaho where superb Heulandites have been dug out.

Here is John Cornish with his biggest fan... (and Ida).

Hrere is the impressive display of Heulandites from John Cornish - for the quality of the species and location the price of these minerals was very reasonable - and I ended up purchasing a nice piece to take home. John was also kind enough to call me when Steve Stuart, another mindat.org regular, was around - so we rushed back from the Executive Inn to meet up:

Next Page: The Clarion Hotel Show

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