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For the second time ever, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show had a general theme: "A World of Minerals," reflecting, as it did, the international flavor of the show. The Society decided this year to raise admission to $1 for the February 13-15 show.


For the first time the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show went international by intent when the Society invited an overseas museum curator, Peter Embrey from the British Museum (NH), to be a lecturer and bring a display. The initial contact with Peter was made by Richard Bideaux, who had known Peter for some time. This was followed by a letter to Dan Caudle confirming Peter's intended visit. In order to complete the arrangements, Dan Caudle had to call the British Museum Director to provide information and hear the rules which the Museum imposed for the movement of the minerals. All expenses had to be covered by the Society, with the Museum incurring no expense whatever. Such concerns as insurance and security were all factors that had to be dealt with. Because of Museum Board restrictions, Peter was only allowed to bring such minerals as could be carried by hand on the airplane. So, his display featured classic and really choice miniature specimens of copper species: torbernite, chalcocite, bornite and more from that famous copper-tin locality, Cornwall. While here Embrey was "arrested" by Tucson's Hashknife Gang, and he and Paul Desautels were ceremonially hung, just for fun.

The 1970 show was held in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies; Dan Caudle, Society member and one of the founders of the Tucson Show, was president of the Federation at that time. Hosting this large group representing 111 individual clubs required that more space be devoted to competitive and special displays, so the Society checked the Fairgrounds for a second building they could use for the wholesale section. They found one directly across from the old quonset hut but it had a smelly problem. The place had been used recently to house cows and it had not been cleaned out! So, the Society members wielded shovels and brooms, and then spread green sawdust to help mask the deficiencies of the "cowbarn" as it was derisively called. Still, lingering odors and dust caused some people to have respiratory problems while searching the tables of wholesale dealers.

Another exhibit from overseas was brought in by Campbell Bridges. Campbell was responsible for discovering the gem garnet variety tsavorite and was very much involved with the early mining of tanzanite, having brought the first tanzanite crystals to this country for Tiffany's. Campbell Bridges, along with his newly discovered tsavorite garnet, was featured in a 1969 Life magazine article. His display of fine tsavorites also included some emeralds from the Gravelotte district, South Africa.

Local collectors were not to be outdone. Dick Graeme put out a stunning display of Bisbee minerals from his personal collection. Susie Davis and Harry Roberson did the same from their collections. The Davis collection was eventually sold to the Smithsonian. Harry Roberson, a member of the "Scottsdale Gang" and a well-known collector, had won the National Trophy in 1969 at Salt Lake City with his thumbnail specimens. Later that year his exhibit had been honored at the California Federation Show in San Diego, when it was awarded the International Mineral Award by a committee of Japanese judges. Dr. Peter Bancroft, author of fine mineral and gem books, displayed what was then the most famous Colorado rhodochrosite. The specimen had been "mined" illicitly at the Sweet Home mine in the late 1950's. In connection with another project, I had the opportunity to interview this chap who had dug that now-famous and much-photographed rhodochrosite. He told me that while he was still mining the pocket (which produced a number of fine crystals), he received warning that the sheriff was on his way from Alma to arrest him. So he gathered up his booty and headed for Las Vegas, where he claimed to have sold the lot of specimens for $5,000. After passing through several hands it ended up gracing the cover of Bancroft's book, The World's Finest Minerals and Crystals, and was nicely displayed at this show.


Dr. Joseph J. Finney, representing the Colorado School of Mines, also displayed some noteworthy Colorado specimens, including superb silvers found at various mines of that mountainous state. Jesse Hardman's case also displayed fine worldwide silver specimens.

Charles Hanson displayed a piece of history, a clock once owned by Marie Antoinette, which she had presented to musician Willibald Gluck in 1770.

Brazil's tourmalines were well represented in a display by Fred Pough. Other displays were put in by Milt Sklar, Joe Murphy, Bill Schneider, and Norm Dawson. Dawson's display featured a beautiful pink 10-inch morganite crystal, a fine 4-inch emerald and an aquamarine from Mt. Antero, Colorado. Tony Otero had a colorful case of New Mexico's Kelly mine smithsonites and, for those who enjoyed faceting, expert Ray Arndt from San Jose, California had a sparkling display of familiar objects done in faceted quartz, including a Dutch windmill and a space ship. From Idar-Oberstein Georg Wild exhibited wonderful gem carvings. There was also a very colorful opal sphere displayed. David Wilber had one of his usual stunning displays, superb gem tourmalines.

Club members also displayed good minerals and lapidary work. George Bideaux displayed a huge aragonite crystal spray that had been found in the deep recesses of the Southwest mine, Bisbee. This arborescent beauty measured 10 inches high. Jim Moody, who later served for years as one of the show's dealer chairmen, put in a very fine display of polished malachite work.

Mexico was the main source of new/old material this year. Benny Fenn came to the fore with a huge quantity of orange pseudocubes of wulfenite from the classic source, Los Lamentos, Chihuahua. There was also plenty of fine adamite from the Ojuela mine, Mapimi, Durango.

The Mexican mineral that caught everyone's eye was the bubbly, botryoidal, bright yellow mimetite Fenn had mined at San Pedro Corralitos in Chihuahua. This material is still much sought after for its lively color. The mimetite was found during lead mining activities.

As this was a Federation show a banquet for delegates was planned. The quonset hut certainly could not accommodate such an affair. Arrangements were made with the University to use the Student Union. The banquet cost the huge sum of $5 per person and even included a nice musical group for entertainment.

Despite all the exciting and marvelous displays, excellent talks and the enormous number of fine minerals for sale at the 1970 show, there were two developments which, more than any other, demonstrate the importance of the show by the great impact they have had on our science and hobby. The universality of the Tucson Show has resulted in many organizational "firsts" but the two that stand out in this writer's mind as being the most pivotal are the birth of the Friends of Mineralogy, and the creation of the Mineralogical Record. In this writer's opinion, these two developments were the most significant of all Tucson-inspired events over the last 50 years, and have had the greatest impact on the science and the hobby of anything that has ever grown out of the existence of the Tucson Show.

Briefly, the establishment of the Friends of Mineralogy originated with Arthur Montgomery, college professor and avid supporter of things mineralogical. Montgomery had been considering the creation of such an organization for some time. The Tucson Show offered an opportunity to bring that idea to fruition. Before the 1970 Show Arthur shared his thoughts with several people, including Richard Bideaux.

At the same time, John S. White, then of the Smithsonian Institution, had been exploring the feasibility of establishing a new magazine, and had shared his thinking with, among others, Arthur and Richard. John recognized, for example, that the old rockhound publication, Rocks & Minerals magazine, had been going downhill rather dramatically since the death of founder Peter Zodac (this was some years before Marie Huizing joined the staff), and that the only other amateur-oriented vehicle for the publication of mineralogical information had for many years been Lapidary Journal. There was no quality mineralogy magazine devoted purely to specimen mineralogy and designed to serve both the amateur and the professional. John had at first hoped to convince someone else to start such a journal but could find no takers, so he was considering doing so himself if sufficient financial support could be found. He had already approached Arthur Montgomery for help in 1969 and had been turned down.

Recognizing that there was common ground between Montgomery's idea for what became the Friends of Mineralogy and White's goal of producing a quality journal for mineral collectors, Bideaux, favoring both ideas, encouraged both men to come to Tucson for the Show and take that opportunity to discuss their ideas with each other in person. They both agreed, and met with Dick over breakfast at the Holiday Inn South. At this informal meeting White was able to make his proposal to Montgomery face-to-face and in detail, and Montgomery ultimately agreed to provide some financial backing for the first three years of publication; he stipulated that the new journal and the proposed new organization, the Friends of Mineralogy, should be affiliated with each other for mutual support, since they shared the same goals.

A meeting to consider the idea of forming a Friends of Mineralogy was then held at the home of George and Richard Bideaux. It was agreed to form a small, active group that would serve as a "society for the preservation of minerals" and would also support John White's new journal.

Thus, the Friends of Mineralogy was established with Richard Bideaux as its first president, and John White proceeded with his dream of publishing a magazine which we now know as the Mineralogical Record. In June of 1970, just four months after the Tucson Show meetings, Volume 1, number 1 of the Mineralogical Record came off the press. Since that time, the Friends of Mineralogy has grown to include a number of highly active regional branches, and has sponsored various publications, symposia and other activities beneficial to mineralogy. The Mineralogical Record, still robust in its 35th year of publication, has continued to provide mineral collectors, curators and specimen-oriented mineralogists with a wealth of authoritative mineralogical information, and has also published a variety of mineralogical reference books and facsimile reprints of rare antiquarian mineralogical literature. No one can say whether the two entities, FM and MR, would ever have been successfully launched without having had the Show available as a common ground for bringing the necessary people together.


The year 1970 marked a second milestone, the establishment of another formal, promoter-organized satellite show. John Patrick opened his "United Lapidary Wholesalers" show at the Tucson Inn on Drachman--with a total of eight dealers.

As the Tucson Show gained international recognition, more and more people from foreign lands came to America to take part in the event and, since they had come all this way, they wanted to do more than just attend the show. They visited mineral dealers in Arizona and California, one of whom was Bill Larson, mineral and gem dealer in Fallbrook, California. Bill was also in the business of mining pegmatite minerals, so he issued an invitation to collectors to come to his mine the weekend before the Tucson Show for a party that he referred to as a "Mine Bash." These became instantly popular and were held well into the 1980's. Though located some distance from Tucson, the Mine Bash became an integral part of the show activities for many people and did contribute to its growing reputation.

The Show got a new name this year. The local newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, tagged the gem and mineral show simply, "The Show," recognizing its importance to the City. Arizona Governor Jack Williams, also recognizing its importance, issued a statewide proclamation declaring February to be "Gem and Mineral Month."

1970 Satellite Shows

Desert Inn (no promoter)

Holiday Inn South (no promoter)

Tucson Inn (United Lapidary Wholesalers; John Patrick)
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Title Annotation:Show Highlights; Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
Publication:The Mineralogical Record
Geographic Code:1U8AZ
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Previous Article:1969.
Next Article:1971.

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