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Tucson Show 2009 Review - Part 1

Last Updated: 17th Feb 2009

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

Well, only two things tend to stop me writing show reports as I'm going along at mineral shows - one is lack of internet access, and the other is if I'm having far too much fun. I'm pleased to say that apart from the first night when there was no internet, it's just been non-stop fun! Now is the first real chance I've had to put some of my reflections of the show online - I'll be doing this in three parts - this is part one which covers my first days in Tucson and the Westward Look show.

I always have my eye out for unusual things, and this specimen of Curienite from Iran, as yellow coatings in fossil brachiopod casts, was certainly different, an Ausrox specimen at the Westward Look show.

Also at Westward Look, Wayne Thompson had this utterly crazy Silver specimen from Batopilas, Mexico:

Dan Weinrich was showing this fabulous 2cm Grossular on matrix from the Jeffrey Mine in Quebec:

and Stuart Wilensky had this outstanding Sperrylite on Chalcopyrite from Russia - a specimen that used to be in the Freilich collection.

More excellent Russian material was available from Herb Obboda who had a selection of Russian Diamond crystals, including some, such as this one, in matrix:

And even more Russian goodies at Heliodor who had a small selection of the Platinum crystals which first came out a few years ago, but have been conspicuous with their absense ever since.


Cal Graeber showed me this fabulous piece of Fluorite from the Rogerley Mine, mined in 2008 - this stuff just keeps getting better and better.

The Gobin Brothers had a very beautiful Cobaltoan Calcite from the Mashamba West mine -

They also had two of the new find of large Dioptase crystals from the Kaokoveld, Namibia

Crystal Classics and Kristalle had a large display, one thing that struck me as particularly nice was this Linarite and Caledonite from the Reward Mine in California

Back at the hotel shows, one of the few genuinely new and exciting things was from Russian Minerals who had a new find of Cuprite, Copper and Silver from the Rubtsovskiy Mine in Siberia - these included sharp, lustrous cuprite crystals to several centimeters, some associated with native copper and some native silver.

Copper and Cuprite from Russia

On the first Friday I was at Tucson (Friday 6th Feb) - a mindat collecting trip was organized to the J.C.Holmes claim, searching for Vanadinite. As I'd never done any collecting previously in the US, I decided to tag along - and a great day was had by all.

and a view of how the Vanadinite was found on the rock faces

After the J.C.Holmes trip, rather than go back to the shows, I popped in to the Pima Air and Space Museum which has a great collection of (mostly) US military aircraft dating back to the second world war. It was slightly disconcerting however to be followed in to the building by a man carrying a bomb. Here he is resting it on a bench before regaining his breath to carry it into the building:

Man with a Bomb

The highlight of the trip to the museum was the coach tour around the US Air Force 'Bone Yard' at the nearby Air Force Base, where over 4400 aircraft are stored in the desert in case they are needed again in the future or simply to be stripped for spares.

The 'Boneyard'

On the monday following the Westward Look show, I made another detour, this time to the Sonora Desert Museum - here's how it looks outside

Desert Museum, Tucson

It's well worth a visit, a great day out, and they also have a rather good arizona mineral collection on display, including this incredible Flux Mine Cerussite

Part 2 of my Tucson Review will come soon and will include more from the Hotel shows and... our little collecting trip to the Grand Reef Mine!

Article has been viewed at least 32338 times.




Very Good Rewiew!

Greetings from Chile!

Steffan Giadach Axt
17th Feb 2009 8:14am
Jolyon, did you get to pick your own C-130, your own Hercules for repatriating minerals?
I saw that Fluorite from the Rogerley before, my jaw dropped when I saw Cal and Byron carry that one out of the mine, fabulous piece:



p.s. did you get the calendar?

Harjo Neutkens
17th Feb 2009 8:32am
Jolyon, did you get to pick your own C-130, your own Hercules for repatriating minerals?
I saw that Fluorite from the Rogerley before, my jaw dropped when I saw Cal and Byron carry that one out of the mine, fabulous piece:



p.s. did you get the calendar?

Harjo Neutkens
17th Feb 2009 8:32am
One day im going to have to meet this Byron fella. I have seen pictures of him and i know that he is a rock collector also. Hmmmm maybe your talking about me.

Byron/byronrks from Indiana

Byron Thomas
17th Feb 2009 5:07pm
This Byron fella is Byron Weege, who spends much of his time around Pala, Southern California. While there he has, over the years, amassed what I believe to be one of the most spectacular accumulations of self-collected tourmaline and other pegmatite minerals I have ever seen. Lately during the summers has been kind enough to help up with our fluorite specimen recovery operation at the Rogerley Mine in Weardale, England. I think the fact that we pick up his beer tab while in Weardale helps to get him away from Pala for a brief time each year.

Good to see all the fellow Mindaters who showed up in Tucson this year. Can't believe it's over already, but if it wasn't I'd likely be dead (or at least dead broke) very soon.

Cheers to all,

Jesse Fisher
18th Feb 2009 5:38am
Nice Fluorite!
"...and this specimen of Curienite from Iran, as yellow coatings ...", but the label shows Iraq! Which one?
To my eyes, these can be bivalve casts, rather than brachiopod ones!!
Vachik Hairapetian

Vachik Hairapetian
19th Mar 2009 6:03pm

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