A small new retail show aimed at mineral collectors, particularly those with deeper pockets and elite tastes, opened in 2002 at the posh Westward Look Resort a few miles north of the Tucson Convention Center. Unlike most satellite shows, this one was open for just five days and boasted a reception and speaker program: Bill Larson spoke on "Mining Pegmatites in Southern California," and Gene Meieran spoke on the "Evolution of a Mineral Collector." The eleven dealers there were swamped on opening day, the Friday a week before the TGMS Show, and everyone there was very satisfied with the concept and the business they did.
Let's pause here and make some rough, thumbnail calculations regarding the total size of "The Tucson Show" and all of its parts in 2002. The 34 shows that were set up around town, including the TGMS Show, housed a remarkable total of approximately 3,200 dealer booths. If one conservatively assumes an average of 15 feet of table space per booth, that amounts to over 9 miles of tables to examine. If one conservatively estimates that these tables hold a rough average of 25 specimens per square foot, plus an equal number stored in flats and boxes under the tables or behind the counters to use for the replacement of items sold, we arrive at a very approximate total of over 7 million mineral and gem specimens of all kinds for sale at "The Show" in 2002! Taking into consideration the gemstone dealers, who often have piles of thousands of faceted stones on a single small tray, plus the dealers who have much more than average table space, I would not be surprised to see that estimated figure increased to 10 million specimens. Is it any wonder that an individual person has an impossible time trying to see "everything" while in Tucson?
"African Gems and Minerals" was the theme of the TGMS Show, held February 14-17. And, once again, the Society hosted a Wednesday night reception before the show opened. The reception was offered free as a thank you to the show's supporters. It did require a reservation be made, since it was limited to 250 people. In fact, 275 people attended and thoroughly enjoyed the refreshments and an excellent lecture by Campbell Bridges.
Mr. Bridges, a Nairobi gem miner and geologist, gave a most informative and entertaining talk on "Recent Gem Mining in Africa." Mr. Bridges is credited with the discovery of the green grossular garnet tsavorite and he brought the first tanzanites to this country as a representative of Tiffany's, the company that identified and named this exciting gem. At the show Campbell offered a very nice display of African gems including those he'd talked about the night before.
To go along with the Bridges talk the Society was able to invite for display some remarkably large examples of tanzanite and tsavorite. They were provided by Charitable Research Trust and Gene Meieran, and included several natural tanzanite crystal groups along with a stunning 202-carat, intense blue tanzanite and a delicate green 53-carat tsavorite, both exceptional for the species.
There were some really stunning displays, many of them featuring that prolific source, Tsumeb. Once again the American Museum of Natural History displayed Tsumeb's "Bird's Nest" azurite, labeled as the finest in the world. Nobody disagreed and there was nothing on display that even came close to exceeding it. Of course, the Marshall Sussman Tsumeb display had plenty of eye pleasers. And a considerable number of individual collectors entered displays of various African minerals just so visitors would learn there is more to African minerals than Tsumeb. Wayne and Dona Leicht, Jack Thompson, the "MAD" group from Dallas and Chris Johnson, who has spent many years mining in Africa, all had showy displays. And the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society combined their efforts to produce a nice display.
A very special display was brought from the collection of Desmond Sacco, the finest privately owned collection in South Africa. This collection is rich in rhodochrosite from the Kalahari Manganese Field, along with inesite, azurite/malachite pseudomorphs, ludlockite, fine quartzes from the Brandberg area, and much more. Curating the display was Dr. Bruce Cairncross, who has written two superb books on the minerals and ore deposits of South Africa and Namibia. His text on the Sacco Collection was available at the show.
Museum displays seemed to outdo themselves this year. The Royal Ontario Museum displayed marvelous Mont Sainte-Hilaire specimens centered around superb serandite. The Smithsonian featured some wonderful earlier-mined minerals from Arthur Montgomery's collection, some of which were dug by Ed Over, including Fairfield variscite, Red Cloud wulfenite and more. In a separate case the Smithsonian displayed a choice uncut 253.7-carat yellow diamond, a perfect octahedron with slightly rounded faces, named after Robert Oppenheimer, who played such an important role in the diamond industry.
The largest gem on display was a 1,558-carat Colombian emerald that had been carved by Canadian artist Thomas McPhee. The emerald was nested in the hands of an 18-inch gold statue standing on an exquisite and colorful Nicolai Medvedev intarsia gem box. This golden goddess, with her precious emerald, traveled an arduous journey before and after the show. She was shipped from Canada to New York, where Customs held her until receiving a Power of Attorney statement from Bob Jones, then was flown to Tucson where she arrived a day late. On the return trip circumstances forced her to be stored for a time in a vault in Tucson, and then in Phoenix, before being shipped to California.
For the mineral collector there was, once again, plenty to choose from. Mexican sulfosalts were still trickling out of Fresnillo, Mexico; fine stephanite, pyrargyrite, acanthite and polybasite were available. China continued to add to its luster, this time producing brilliant orange-brown spessartine garnets on feldspar with smoky quartz. Certainly the most exciting species to come from China was kermesite, in specimens larger than any ever seen before; some sprays are up to 10 cm and have a classic red color. Fine Brazilian elbaites were also available, in very nice gemmy crystals from Taquaral, offered by Hawthorneden. More fine pink elbaites were available which Gochenauer's had dug at the Cryo-Genie mine in San Diego County.
Collector's Edge Minerals had a nice supply of recently mined benitoite and neptunite from California. From Morocco, Minerive and others were offering some of the brightest red vanadinites seen in many a year. Superb Minerals, India, brought out a large supply of choice green fluorapophyllite in lovely radiating ball-shaped aggregates--a new look for Indian green fluorapophyllite. Palagems offered a fine selection of Japan-law quartz twins from Madagascar. From the South Kamoya mine, Katanga, the Gobins showed quite a selection of really fine, rare, large and sharp carrollites. The A. E. Seaman Museum, Michigan Tech delved into their vast collection and brought out some very old coppers from the Keweenaw to display as a celebration of their 100th anniversary.
Once again Gene and Roz Meieran put in a breathtaking display from their collection, this time a wonderful assortment of African minerals. Gene also put together a display of choice Brazilian gem crystals. Steve and Clara Smale matched them with their own assortment of beauties. For gold lovers there was a small, exquisite display of brilliant gold specimens from the Red Ledge mine, California.
Darryl Powell produced another of his Society-sponsored give-away coloring books for children, this one focusing on "Minerals out of Africa." The jointly sponsored 2002 mineralogical symposium, chaired this year by Susan Erikssen, carried the same theme.
Danny Trinchillo had a wonderful display as mentioned, so was rewarded for his efforts with the Desautels Trophy. John Schneider had the best single specimen and took the Lidstrom Trophy. Marco Marcchesini and Renato Pagano received the FM award for best article of the year in the Mineralogical Record for "The Val Graveglia Manganese District, Liguria, Italy."
Gary Grenier swept the Werner Lieber photography competition this year, taking first place in the micro, macro and digital categories.
The FM "Educational Cases" awards went to the American Museum of Natural History for an exhibit of encrustation pseudomorphs, and to Chuck Houser for his case of calcite twins.
The prized Carnegie Mineralogical Award was presented once again, this time to Dr. Wendell E. Wilson, not only in recognition of his 25 years as editor of the highly respected Mineralogical Record, but also for his authorship (over 80 major articles and 13 books in mineralogy, including his magnum opus on The History of Mineral Collecting, plus another 18 books about mining history), his fine mineral photography (over 6,500 published photos to date), his pioneering work in mineral stereophotography, his artistic accomplishments (over 1,000 published artworks), and his founding of the Mineralogical Record Library.
A new and very exclusive show opened in Tucson this year for five days during the first week in February: The Centurion Jewelry Show. What makes this show unique is that, not only is the public not admitted, but only buyers who have received a personal invitation can attend! Nearly 100 jewelry designers, most of them selling to the Hollywood and New York elite, pay many thousands of dollars each for booth space at the Westin La Paloma Resort. Over 200 buyers representing the top echelon of retail jewelers from almost all 50 states and several foreign countries are invited, and the show picks up the tab for their accommodations, entertainment and lavish buffets. Phew! That's exclusive!
Do we need to remark once again on the economic impact of the Show? The Arizona Leadership Conference thought so, estimating that in 2001 there were 2.5 million visitors to the State of Arizona, who spent a total of about $1.8 billion--and no small portion of that took place at the Tucson Show.
2002 Satellite Shows
335 Ft. Lowell (Beaucoup Conge)
Boatner's Service Station (Rapa River Enterprises)
Butterfield Business Center (Trade Shows International)
Centurion Jewelry Show (Westin La Paloma) (Howard Hauben)
Congress & Granada (Tucson Diamond Show) (GemCast Productions)
Days Inn/Convention Center (Globe/X)
Executive Inn (Zinn Expositions)
Flamingo Travelodge (American Indian Exposition)
GJX Show Tent (Alan Norville)
Hilton East (Rio Grande Albuquerque)
Holiday Inn Express (AKS G. & J. Shows)
Rodeway Inn (G&LW)
Gem Mall tent near Holidome (G&LW)
Howard Johnson's Downtown (AKS G. & J. Shows)
InnSuites Hotel (Zinn Expositions)
Intergem Congress Street (Intergem)
Intergem Michigan Street (Intergem)
Kino Sports Complex (Tucson Electric Park Gem & Mineral Show) (Hartley Enterprises)
Kino Veterans Memorial Comm. Center (Best Bead Show)
La Quinta (no promoter)
Manning House (Gem Galeria) (GemCast Productions)
Manning House (Tucson Diamond Show) (GemCast Productions)
Mineral & Fossil Marketplace (Zinn Expositions)
Oracle & Elm Street building (Mineral & Fossil Co-op)
Pueblo In (formerly Four Points Hotel) (Atrium Productions)
Radisson City Center (formerly Holiday Inn/City Center) (GLDA)
Ramada Inn (Zinn Expositions)
Sabbar Shrine Temple (Bead Renaissance)
Scottish Rite Temple (Dell; David McGee)
Top-Gem Warehouse on Main Street (Mike New)
Tucson Convention Center (AGTA)
Tucson Showplace (Dan Burrow)
Westward Look Resort (Dave Waisman)
Windmill Inn (Whole Bead Show)
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|Title Annotation:||Show Highlights; Tucson Gem and Mineral Show|
|Publication:||The Mineralogical Record|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2004|