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~ January 25, 2010 ~


Here Jasun is packing up our box of equipment and specimens that will meet us at our hotel on Wednesday. Now it's just up to packing everything else and getting to the airport by 4am on Wednesday morning. It'll be a long day - but we're looking forward to it!

~ January 28, 2010 ~

You can hardly see the mountains this morning! Well, it is our first full day here in Tucson, and soon as we share what we have found so far, we are on our way out to see what else is out there! We picked up a few odds and ends last night and wanted to do a quick post to get the blog rolling! We are using an improvised photography set-up so the pictures are a bit lacking compared to our usual work - so just keep that in mind! Enjoy!

Chalcotrichite inc. Calcite - Tsumeb, Namibia

Chalcotrichite included Calcite
Ex. Liebetrau Collection
Tsumeb, Namibia
4.25cm x 4.15cm x 2.14cm
A gorgeous, intensely colored cluster of razor-sharp rhombs of chalcotrichite included calcite. Color grades from vivid to blazing red-orange. $600 SOLD

Inn Suites

There were still a lot of dealers just getting set up today at the Inn Suites - here you can see giant crates being unloaded, while most of the outdoor tables were still empty. While there weren't many shoppers around yet, there was plenty of activity while everyone was moving in and getting unpacked. However, it is often during this time that the most exciting finds begin creating buzz and sometimes, are completely sold out. We already made one exciting find that you'll be hearing about soon.

Anyone need a garnet to bowl with? These garnets from Australia were HUGE! During last year's Rochester Symposium there were reports of "mineral specimen bowling" during some late night "activities" at the show. The Rochester Symposium is one of the only shows that happens in the evening on a hotel floor that is closed to the public and has a very busy hospitality suite with free drinks. These giant garnets would be the perfect thing to show up to this year's symposium with... :)

Inn Suites

The mineral dealers weren't the only ones hard at work preparing for the show - the hotel staff had to contend with the palm trees which had been destroyed from Tucson's recent cold weather and storms. This year's scene was quite different than last year's sunny set-up. Perhaps this is why things seem to be a bit slower to start up this year.


The highlight of our day was checking out these awesome benitoites in Rick Kennedy's room (Earth's Treasures). Rick Kennedy has always had exciting benitoites to show us but this year he has been fortunate enough to be distributing the extraordinary stock of Buzz Gray, one of the Benitoite Mine's former owners. The specimen on the left hosted numerous crystals that were incredibly gemmy. The specimen on the right was a HUGE plate loaded with large, sharp benitoite crystals and lustrous black neptunite crystals - truly a world-class specimen worthy of any museum display.


The entire spread of benitoite specimens featured some really incredible specimens - among some of the best we've seen in years. One of the benefits of being early to the show was that we were able to snatch up a specimen that hosted the largest single crystal in the collection - an incredible 3.1cm crystal (seen here on the right). We currently have it up for auction and you can see it HERE - Tucson 2010 Auctions!

~ January 29-30, 2010 ~

Jaroslav Hyrsl

One dealer we always look forward to seeing is Jaroslav Hyrsl. Jaroslav always has unique material and rarities. He was very excited to show us coquimbites that he brought back from a new find at the Javier Mine, Ayacucho Department, Peru! These coquimbites represent some of the finest examples of the species known! The crystals are sharp, lustrous, and have amazing color. Luckily, we were there as he was unpacking the specimens and were able to snatch up one of the largest crystals. While there were larger specimens, this specimen hosted what was a huge, well defined crystal of superior color. Curiously, the specimens exhibit a significant color change. This particular specimen's color change is quite dramatic in person. The color becomes exceptionally more intense under incandescent lighting and under certain kinds of fluorescent lighting it can turn an almost rootbeer brown. They are truly exceptional specimens, and this specimen represents one of the best examples from the find!

Coquimbite - Javier Mine, Peru

Javier Mine, Ayacucho Department, Peru
4.2cm x 3.8cm x 2.76cm
Coquimbite... ON EBAY RIGHT NOW! (auction ending 2/4/10)

  Another exciting find that Jaroslav had to share with us was a small group of uchucchacuaite specimens. Uchucchacuaite is a very rare silver-bearing mineral (Silver Manganese Lead Antimony Sulfide) that essentially is found in only two localities worldwide, Hokkaido in Japan, and here at the type locality - the Uchucchacua Mine. Examples of uchucchacuaite are extremely difficult to obtain and we were very excited to see them!  

Uchucchacuaite - Uchucchacua Mine, Peru

Uchucchacua Mine, Oyon Province, Lima Department, Peru
2.32cm x 2.38cm x 1.25cm
Uchucchacuaite... ON EBAY RIGHT NOW! (auction ending 2/4/10)

Inn Suites

Saturday was the first "official" day of the show, and above you will see that there was still work being done on the hotel premises at the Inn Suites. As it turns out, all of the tree trimming and maintenance was scheduled, not a result of some emergency or a reaction to storms or the like. Talk about bad timing! The mineral show is only here once a year, maybe they could have finished before the show?!

Rocks of Ages

However, nothing could dampen the spirit of excitement felt by collectors on the first day of the biggest mineral show on earth! While the show was scheduled to open at 10:00am, there was already a crowd gathered at Rocks of Ages' room at 9:00am! Rocks of Ages is always a favorite stop for any avid mineral collector. Apparently they had some incredible material offered at the Denver show and everyone was hoping for a repeat!

This year Rocks of Ages had Ernie Schlichter's collection of antique mining lamps and scientific equipment for sale in addition to their regular stock of worldwide minerals and mineral books. Their room was so crowded that it was almost impossible to snap a picture of the frenzied scene!

Rocks of Ages

By early afternoon on Saturday, the show was busy with shoppers, and the ballroom (seen above) was busy with mineral and fossil collectors alike. We headed down to the show at the Quality Inn, where the usual assortment of Chinese, Russian, and Indian dealers were set up. While there, we were excited to check out some of the new marshite specimens in Mikhail Anosovhas' room (Russian Minerals). While this material debuted at the Denver Show in September, they were available in better quality specimens. Mikhail had two flats of specimens and that seems to be the only material around. Marshite is a rare copper iodate and this find produced specimens that easily rival or exceed those old time finds at Broken Hill and in Chile. The specimens from this locality are present as both crusts and sharp, lustrous crystals. Interestingly, some of the crystals are actually pseudomorphs after cuprite. In these pseudomorphic specimens there are traces of cuprite that still remain, giving them a pleasing reddish color. In many cases, the cuprite crystals are replaced by numerous smaller marshite crystals in aggregate groups.

Marshite ps Cuprite - Rubtsovskoe Mine, Russia

Marshite pseudomorph after Cuprite
Rubtsovskoe Mine, Rudnyi Altai, Altaiskii Krai, Western-Siberian Region, Russia
1.93cm x 1.74cm x 1.48cm
This specimen is loaded with significant crystals of marshite that are sharp, lustrous, and are colored by traces of reddish cuprite. You can see the triangular outlines of the replaced cuprite as well. ON EBAY RIGHT NOW! (auction ending 2/4/10)

Diamond - Argyle Mine, Australia

Argyle mine, Lake Argyle area, Kimberley, Wyndham-East Kimberley Shire, Western Australia, Australia
4.1mm x 4mm x 4mm
While we found a number of exciting specimens throughout our travels on the first day of the show, one of the more exciting finds was this purplish pink diamond from the Argyle Mine in Australia! This is a very rare color indeed! The color has a decidedly purple hue that is quite rich and lively. The crystal is a pristine, complete octahedron with sharp, complexly stepped faces and brilliant luster. This crystal came from the collection of a diamond merchant who accumulated a collection of rare colored diamonds throughout the decades-long course of his career. This specimen was one of just three examples he had found in all his years aggresively pursuing these rare gems. $800 - ON HOLD

~ January 31 - February 1, 2010 ~

Oro Valley, AZ

On Monday, we went to a private sale at Isaias Casanova's house in Oro Valley, where he teamed up with Cal Graber & Leonard Himes to offer a selection of fine worldwide minerals at 50% off. The house was busy with collectors & dealers scouring the inventory and visiting with old friends. As we were leaving our hotel we found that the mountain outside our hotel had suddenly turned into a smoking volcano!

On Sunday, we went down to I-10 to check out the multiple dealers in the hotels along the strip. This year there is a section of the Pueblo Show dedicated specifically to minerals at the River Park Inn. Usually the I-10 strip is a maze of vendors offering assorted goods including rugs, beads, decorator specimens, trinkets, and all kinds of things that aren't necessarily of interest to a mineral collector. However there are usually a few mineral dealers hidden amongst them and you can occasionally find some interesting things. This year, someone has finally got things organized and created an area dedicated specifically to mineral dealers that is easier to find. The dealers were also given vouchers to distribute to their customers for free parking and there is a golf cart dedicated to bringing customers from the parking lot directly to the mineral dealers. The dealers were also provided with cases of bottled water to offer their customers and there were two wine & cheese receptions for the mineral dealers and their customers. We were really pleased to see this and hopefully it continues.

Caledonite - California Wulfenite - Nevada

After doing a lot of running around, we were finally rewarded with what we considered to be one of the most exciting things we've seen at the show. We stopped by Scott Klein's room at the Inn Suites and were surprised to see that one of his display cases was now filled with lustrous, orange-yellow wulfenite crystals from a new find at the Mobile Mine in Nevada. (We currently have one listed for auction, click here to check it out.) The crystals are quite aesthetic in person and Scott had some significant specimens. While we would've been delighted to just see the wulfenites, we were absolutely floored to see an exceptional selection of caledonite and linarite specimens from the Reward Mine in California. The caledonite specimen pictured here is actually a large miniature with a crystal that looked to be 1cm+! The specimens were collected by Keith Wentz who is an avid field collector with a particular interest in caledonite and linarite. He has collected extensively throughout the Southwest U.S. I would consider these caledonite specimens to be an incredible opportunity for collectors. This was perhaps one of the most impressive selection of caledonite specimens I have ever seen offered for sale, and there were some very significant specimens being offered with large, free-standing crystals prominently perched on matrix and several in aesthetic association with linarite.

~ February 2-5, 2010 ~

The day before the start of the Westward Look show, we spent the day making the rounds between the various shows yet again. It seems that, no matter how times you visit each show location, you see new things each time you go. Just when you think you've checked each room, tent, table, and flat... you stroll into a tent with a giant prehistoric rhinoceros skeleton. Of all the years we've attended the Tucson Show, including those years we actually resided in Tucson, I don't think that we've ever "seen it all"...

The Westward Look Show could be considered the Rodeo Drive of the Tucson Show, consisting of elite dealers exhibiting some of their finest specimens. The event is always met with great excitement among collectors and can often be more impressive than many museum displays! This year there was no shortage of gorgeous specimens and drooling collectors. Nearly every specimen is pristine and at the pinnacle of size and aesthetics for the species. On the left is a stunning San Pedro mimetite and on the right is a trio of choice smithsonite specimens. To give you an idea of size, those labels are larger than your average business card!

These specimens were particularly exciting to me. This giant silver ingot and emerald specimen were from the famous Spanish ship, Nuestra Señora de Atocha ("Our Lady of Atocha") that sank off the Florida Keys in 1622. While most people think of gold, silver, and coins when thinking of "treasure" the Atocha actually carried a large cache of gems, particularly emeralds from Colombia. The emeralds were found as finished jewelry, specimens, and rough! Years ago, Mandy and I were lucky enough to see a large private collection of artifacts from the wreck including some of the most spectacular items recovered. While there were some truly extraordinary artifacts, nothing left us more impressed than the emeralds from the find. We had NEVER seen emeralds of such size and quality both in terms of faceted gems and specimens. In any other context we would have thought them to be fakes. It was exciting to see a true Atocha emerald specimen offered for sale at the show.

Rob Lavinsky always has an extraordinary display of specimens in his room. Rob never dissappoints in terms of quality and variety. This year Rob had an impressive display of classic Pink Alpine fluorite specimens including this monster that is paired with a faceted pink fluorite as well. Displayed next to the fluorites was this huge blue topaz crystal from Brazil. In addition to being huge, pristine, and gemmy, it had exceptional blue color for a natural blue topaz.

Going from room to room at these shows, not only does one see an incredible variety of specimens, but ways to display those specimens as well. This tanzanite crystal was certainly displayed to maximum effect in a clear glass display with bright spotlights focused on it from several angles. The result was a brilliant and intensely colorful display that caught your eye immediately upon entering the room. Aside from fine, aesthetic gem crystals we also saw some amazing examples of native elements including this fine native silver and two extraordinary examples of crystalline native lead.

This specimen on the left looks like a giant rhodochrosite scalenohedron, but it is actually one heck of a cobaltoan calcite crystal. On the right is one of the only caledonite specimens we saw at the Westward Look Show. The caledonite is in well balanced pairing with royal blue linarite on a quartz-lined matrix. This specimen puts in perspective just how incredible the caledonite specimens that Keith Wentz collected (as seen earlier in the blog).

Can you believe that both these specimens were huge, decorator-sized specimens? The specimen on the left is a cluster of quartz crystals covered with sharp aquamarine prisms and deep green fluorite crystals from Erongo, Namibia and a huge native gold from the Olinghouse, Nevada.

Here we have a very rare example of botryoidal rhodochrosite from Brazil. These old Brazillian rhodochrosite specimens are quite scarce and seldom seen on the market - especially in such quality. On the right is an exceptional example of cumengeite on matrix. Cumengeite is one of the "Holy Grail" species for collectors and, while single crystals are quite difficult to obtain, examples of cumengeite on matrix are exponentially more so! This specimen hosted a huge, classically twinned cumengeite crystal on matrix.

Of course there is always lots of Tsumeb eye-candy to be found at the Westward Look show as well. This striking combo of calcite and dioptase on the left consisted of razor-sharp rhombs of calcite with shallow indentations filled with sparkling emerald green dioptase crystals. The specimen on the right consisted of a robin's egg blue rosasite that served as a matrix for light and dark green cuprian smithsonite.


~ Tucson 2010 Specimens For Sale ~


So, you've seen what we've been up to during the Tucson show, but what kind of finds have we made during our travels? Well here is just a sampling of some of the exciting specimens we've picked up. Of course there is a lot more to come too... Enjoy!

Cumengeite - Mexico

Cumengeite with Paratacamite and Selenite
Amelia Mine, Santa Rosalía (El Boleo), Boleo District, Mun. de Mulegé, Baja California Sur, Mexico
7.5cm x 5.6cm x 4.1cm
A very rare example of cumengeite on matrix. Usually, matrix specimens of boleite and cumengeite have been stabilized, repaired, or outright faked - with actual, authentic matrix specimens being truly rare. This specimen was acquired directly through Jack Crawford who has been the only one working the district for years now. Even though we were confident in its legitimacy, we subjected to rigorous inspection and testing just to be sure. This specimen is absolutely natural and unstabilized in any way. This rare beauty consists hosts a complex grouping of intergrown cumengeite crystals measuring just over 1cm punctuated by a large sixling twin, aesthetically and prominently perched on a rigid, very stable matrix. The matrix also hosts several gemmy colorless selenite crystals throughout and it is likely the selenite that is responsible for the specimen's rigid stability. In addition to the selenite, there are nodules of green paratacamite. While the color is a nice compliment to the bright blue cumengeite, it is also interesting to note that while paratacamite is usually seen as massive material from this locality this specimen actually hosts crystalline paratacamite. $1800

Chalcotrichite inc. Cerussite - Tsumeb, Namibia

Chalcotrichite included Cerussite
DeWet Shaft, Tsumeb, Namibia
2cm x .5cm x .4cm
A rare and sought after example of chalcotrichite included cerussite from Tsumeb. This specimen consists of a single, undamaged prismatic crystal of cerussite that is richly included with lively red-orange chalcotrichite. $500

Leiteite - Tsumeb, Namibia

Tsumeb, Namibia
5cm x 4.6cm x 2.5cm
This rare species from Tsumeb is most typically encountered as small, paper-thin cleavages. Thick, sizeable crystals are rather scarce with matrix specimens being very rare indeed. This specimen hosts a very rich showing of leiteite throughout with the largest crystals being quite thick and translucent. $1400

Boleite - Mexico

Amelia Mine, Santa Rosalía (El Boleo), Boleo District, Mun. de Mulegé, Baja California Sur, Mexico
.82cm x .8cm x .79cm
A large and impressive example of this esteemed species. This specimen consists of a sharp, lustrous, undamaged cubic crystal of intense deep blue boleite. $475

Native Arsenic - Japan

Native Arsenic
Akadani mine (Akatani mine), Fukui Prefecture, Chubu Region, Honshu Island, Japan
Ex. Ernie Schlichter Collection
1.7cm x 1.5cm x 1.3cm
A large, classic example of crystalline native arsenic. These old time arsenic specimen from Japan represent some of the best examples of the species known. This specimen is complete and well-crystallized. $200 - SOLD

Native Gold on Chalcocite - Bisbee, AZ

Native Gold on Chalcocite
1400 level,Cole Mine, Bisbee, Warren District, Mule Mts, Cochise Co., Arizona
Ex. Evan Jones
3.6cm x 2.6cm x 2.3cm
A very rare, old time example of native gold from Bisbee. This specimen hosts a significant showing of buttery-yellow gold on chalcocite. Upon close inspection, one can see that the gold is well integrated with the chalcocite. The matrix hosts several other veins of chalcocite and on the reverse one can see some native gold in intimate association in these veins. The contrast between the dark chalcocite and brilliant gold is quite striking in person. Rare material. This specimen was acquired in trade from noted Arizona collector Evan Jones. $500

Native Silver - Marienberg, Germany

Native Silver with Native Arsenic and Proustite
Vater Abraham Mine, Lauta, Marienberg District, Erzgebirge, Saxony, Germany
Ex. J. Hoppner Collection No. 13014
12.1cm x 7.6cm x 4.6cm
A large, rich, and aesthetic old time example of finely crystallized native silver from Germany. This specimen hosts a very rich showing of fine, dendritic crystals of native silver in association with darkly colored native arsenic and accented by a few complex proustite crystals scattered about the specimen. Both sides of the specimen show off the broad display of undamaged silver crystals and, in some areas - despite the fact that the network of silver crystals is quite thick, one can actually see light from the other side. While these specimens of dendritic silver may be superficially similiar to those from Pohla, they are actually far less common. This is a particularly fine example of an old time Marienberg silver. This specimen retains an old German label from the Hoppner collection and has a corresponding affixed catalogue number as well. SOLD ON EBAY!

Chrome Tourmaline - Tanzania

Chrome Tourmaline
Merelani Hills, Lelatema Mts, Arusha Region, Tanzania
1.9cm x 1.64 x 1.25
An absolutely incredible example of chrome tourmaline from Tanzania. This specimen has some of the most incredible color I have EVER seen in a tourmaline specimen! I would say that the crystal has the same "wow-factor" as the finest Paraiba tourmaline. The color is totally unique and beyond anything I have ever seen in any other chrome tourmaline. The habit is also somewhat unusual compared to other chrome tourmaline specimens I have seen from the region. The crystal consists essentially of a complex pinacoidal tourmaline termination with an incomplete back. The crystal is gemmy and could likely yeild a substantial gem, as a significant portion of the crystal is quite clean. While the color shows up a slightly bluish green in the pictures - in person it is an absolute ELECTRIC emerald green (I would equate it to a choice Chatham emerald on steroids if you could somehow cross it with a white LED lightsource). Unbelievable in person. $900

Chambersite - Texas

Barbers Hill Salt Dome (Barbers Hill), Mont Belvieu, Chambers Co., Texas
.9cm x .8cm x .8cm
A huge example of this rare borate from Texas. This specimen is quite large for the species and locality. The crystal has sharp pyramidal form, lustrous faces, and classic purple color. Two corners exhibit some curious hoppered forms, one of which is incomplete. A very impressive example of the species. $250

Dioptase inc. Quartz - Kaokveld, Namibia

Dioptase included Quartz
Kaokveld, Namibia
7.53cm x 4.83cm x 2cm
A gorgeous plate of highly complex quartz crystals with rich inclusion of colorful dioptase crystals. There is also some blue shattuckite included as well. This specimen is in magnificent condition and way better than the pictures show. Dioptase included quartz specimens are extraordinarily scarce. $625

Quartz replacing Orthoclase - Erongo, Namibia

Quartz replacing Orthoclase
Erongo, Namibia
6.22cm x 3.85cm x 3.22cm
A very unique specimen indeed! This specimen came from a small, one time find years ago and had been stowed away until now. The find amounted to just a handful of specimens and this was a particularly fine example. The quartz were only present as these curious replacements of orthoclase crystals. They are not epitaxial growths but actual replacements where the crystals are sharply oriented with the planes of the orthoclase crystal. This specimen is really incredible in person - these pics hardly capture it. There is some minor damage (most, if not all the specimens had varying amounts of damage), however it does not detract from just how impressive this specimen is! $300

Fluorite on Stibnite - Lei Guang Mine, China

Fluorite on Stibnite
Lei Guang Mine, Yun Nam Prov., China
4.64cm x 3.85cm x 3.22cm
A unique example of complexly crystalline fluorite that has completely coated two slender crystals of stibnite. The crystals are lustrous and have a wonderful, almost glowing clarity in person. $75

Angastonite - Penrice quarry, Australia

Penrice Quarry, Angaston, Australia
4.25cm x 3.02cm x 2.15cm
While significant new finds have so far been elusive this year, one rare thing we came across was this Angastonite. This material is from the type locality, which is also the one and only locality in the world for this species. The specimens we came across all came from the same small, grapefruit sized boulder. So while it may not be the big exciting "new find" at the show, it is certainly an interesting rarity. $110 - SOLD

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