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Tucson 2008 TGMS Show report - Part 1

Last Updated: 17th Feb 2008

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

This is part 1 of the TGMS show report - the first of MANY reports that will be posted over the next few days - with over 1000 photographs and 2 hours of video to sort through, I want to take my time to report back from this show in full detail.

Why? Because, quite simply, the displays at this show are the best mineral show displays that are, ever were, or ever will be displayed. Never has there been so many incredible and significant specimens under one roof at the same time, and it is unlikely we will see such a gathering ever again. In years to come, you'll be asked whether you saw the exhibits at Tucson '08. If you did, you can justly feel good about it. If not, then I hope that this series of show reports will at least give you a taste of what you missed.

This video shows a brief run around the show approximately 10 minutes after the doors opened on Thursday. You will note that there is already a queue forming at Dan Weinrich's stand as he starts to sell the Minnete collection - one of the commercial highlights of the show (more on this later).

Natural History Museum (London)

This next video shows the display case of American classics brought over from the Natural History Museum in London. Look for an incredible Willemite crystal from Franklin, the type specimen of 'Columbite', some 1930s Red Cloud wulfenite to be amazed at (from the original Ed Over finds) and a purse made of asbestos that used to be owned by Benjamin Franklin!

Alan Hart and Mike Rumsey from the museum were over looking after the display and also hunting out new specimens for the national collection. Here is Alan examining a Sapphire from Afghanistan (Mountain Minerals International specimen)

Alan Hart examining a sapphire in matrix

... and then ...

Alan Hart examining a sapphire off matrix!

Actually, the sapphire just rests in the matrix - it was detached during specimen preparation, but fits back neatly into the matrix - this specimen was purchased by the museum and will go on display in their new gallery - "The Vault".

Apatites from Sapo

In the Westward Look show report I showed some photos of these new 'stacked' Apatites - there was a whole display cabinet here featuring this new exciting find:

... more reports from the TGMS show 2008 soon!

Article has been viewed at least 17841 times.


Thanks for Dwelling on the "purse" in this video! Here is a bit of history to further "flesh out" the history of it.

The salamander cotton purse is an artifact of Franklin's attempt to gain access to the Royal Society, to which Sir Issac Newton was then president. Sir Isacc Newton's "Principia", had a profound effect on the publics view on the natural sciences, his work dispelling the ancient ideas of "humors" as represented in Ovid's poetic work "metamorphoses". Newton's revelations on the predictability and consistancey of natural laws had a profound effect on Franklin as well, and initiated his life long love for the sciences. Franklin was an ambitious man, and had so admired Newton's theories that he was very desirous to meet him in person (sadly this never happened, much to his regret).

In 1726 Franklin wrote to Hans Sloane, then the Royal Societies secretary (succeeding Newton as president in 1727), and made efforts to find favor by passing himself off as a gentleman traveler (Sloane's equal).

"having lately been in the No[r]thern Parts of America," "I have brought thence" several items made of asbestos. "call'd by the Inhabitants, Salamander Cotton."

Franklin wanted Sloane to think he had merely "visited" the inhabitants of the Northern colonies, and ended his letter with a grandiose postscript.

"I expect to be out of town in 2 or 3 Days, and therefore beg an immediate Answer."

Unfortunately, Franklin failed to sustain the conceit. He faltered by offering Sloane the chance to "purchase" the asbestos items, thus making himself appear more like a tradesman selling wares than one gentleman showing his "curiousities" to another. Sloane did meet Franklin, and obligingly purchased a small purse woven of "Salamander Cotton", which was later donated by Sloane (as a gentleman was expected to do, without payment) along with other items from his collection, to the British Museum.

Having met with the proverbial "brick wall" in his attempt to gain access to the Royal Society, upon his return to the colonies, Franklin resolved to leave New England and return to Philadelphia He re-entered his career in printing and develop "the Plan" to resolve himself and lay out his "future conduct in life".

Ref. "The First Scientific American" by Joyce E. Chaplin, 2006

Mark Heintzelman
17th Feb 2008 6:13pm
So the British Museum is making a collection of detachable crystals. The sapphire will go well with the large detachable sperrylite. Can some one help them out with a donation of quartz caps??? Actually these reports are great. It is really interesting to see what the important collections are acquiring. Thanks so much.

Rob Woodside
17th Feb 2008 7:16pm
The display of the Brazilian apatite specimens was totally amazing. Unlike most displays of new finds, there was great variety among the specimens in crystal size, color and form. I believe I got good photos of most of the major pieces in the case.

Stephen C. Blyskal
18th Feb 2008 11:09pm
Bryan Lees told the story of how his partner's wife spent a year rebuilding the apatite columns. She discovered that they were like puzzle pieces and put them back the way they had been. We were fortunate enough to purchase the "tree" to the left, without matrix. We love matrix on most of our pieces, but this one just grabbed the both of us so much that it didn't matter. What enticed us was the beauty, the colour and the rare habit.
I also got some great photos of the cabinet and will need to sort through them as I took over 2,000 photos of the whole show! Wasn't it wonderful being there?!

Gail Spann
19th Feb 2008 4:03pm
Next time I'm joining as well, or at least I hope so...


Chris Mavris
20th Feb 2008 9:45am

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