Going to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show is a great escape from the snow a cold of northern New York State each year and a trip I anticipate with great joy each January. This year I went from Thursday through the first Monday of the wholesale show. It was evident that things are still slow with the economy as can be seen from this Saturday photo, absent droves of customers, taken along a dealer lined venue.
At this location a number of Chinese dealers attempt to sell their wares. The specimens I was spending $100 on ten years ago are usually priced in the thousands of dollars now. The inflation in cost of these wonderful specimens has reached stupid proportions. In fact, they only seem to have gone up more dramatically during the years in which our economy has struggled. This year you could buy a nice example of the new ilvaites for $500 or go down to Collectors Edge (not normally the cheapest place to shop) and get an entire flat of equally good specimens for $125 to $200. If it were not for the fact that many of these specimens are truly exceptional, I don't see how they would manage to sell any. I will try going to China this June to see if it is any different over there, but I have been told it is not and that I should expect very high prices there, as well.
Here are a few of the Chinese specimens I could not resist...
A geologist by the name of Jared Freiburg emptied a pocket of calcites in an Illinois dolostone mine with great results. His harvest was a large grouping of high luster, wonderfully included calcites. An example is shown here and more will be made available for sale in our Updates soon.
The inclusions are both pyrite and marcasite.
The selection of fossils gets more amazing each year. I took a few images and even purchased some for my classroom and inventory this year. None of the ones I got were anything close to as spectacular as these.
Neither of these guys below are fossils, yet.
With all the different venues there is no shortage of inventory to inspect no matter what your interests are. My shopping is condensed into two and a half days so it pays to know exactly where you want to go. It is also important to ask reliable sources if there is anything important or new that needs to be checked out.
As always the weather was to die for. The last night I woke to a light sprinkle of rain. This was an unusual event which I have only experienced one other time in the past ten years of going to the Tucson show. Sun up and sun down at the area where we camp are always beautiful.
Tucson 2012 won't come soon enough!
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