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Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows 2010 - Part 3 - TGMS

Last Updated: 25th Feb 2010

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

The final event in the annual Tucson calendar is the TGMS (Tucson Gem and Mineral Society) show, also known slightly more simply as the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, or much more simply as "The Main Show".

Held in the Tucson Convention Center, this show contains mineral dealers, gem and jewellery dealers and a fine tradition of display cases with spectacular, interesting and educational displays of minerals. In this report I'll concentrate on displays rather than dealer minerals, mostly because there wasn't a huge amount new at the show that wasn't already on show at the Westward Look and other shows in Tucson.

Every year has a theme, and this year was "Gem Minerals" - so let's start off with some of the more exciting cases:

First, a display of serious tanzanite crystals

Tanzanite crystals

Here's a close-up of the one that was on a recent Mineralogical Record cover

Tanzanite and Mineralogical Record

And a fabulous display of gem minerals in large crystals from around the world.

Gem Mineral Display

Here's a close-up of the fantastic kunzite in the center, from the Urucum Mine, Brazil

Kunzite from Brazil

And while on the subject of kunzite, this wonderful 12cm crystal was the best from a pocket unearthed this year at the Oceanview mine in Pala, California (which I had visited a couple of weeks previously as a guest of the owners - however I didn't find any good kunzite!)

Kunzite from California

Two cabinets were dedicated to two single specimens. Firstly, the Natural History Museum in London had brought along the "Hope Chrysoberyl", this is a 45 carat cut chrysoberyl from Brazil that once belonged to Henry Philip Hope (as did the more famous "Hope Diamond", which was NOT on display in Tucson!)

The Hope Chrysoberyl

The other cabinet contained an even more valuable specimen - having cost around $25 billion in the 1960s/1970s to recover (which would be closer to $150 billion in today's money) - a specimen of moon rock from the Apollo 15 mission

Mare basalt from the moon, returned by Apollo 15

Slightly closer to home, the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada, put on a display of rare gemstones from Canada. This included such curiosities as rough (specimen) and faceted serandite, catapleite and leifite.

Rare gemstones from Canada

The Fersman Mineralogical Museum from Moscow, Russia put on an educational display demonstrating that gemstones ideally need three properties - beauty, durability and rarity. Example minerals and artificial crystals helped explain the concept (and show some exceptions to the rule).

Fersman Mineralogical Museum display

Another display of mexican minerals was impressive enough (albeit not gem minerals in the traditional sense), with some superb specimens, but the best thing about the display was that all specimens were mined within the previous 12 months

Mexican minerals

My favourite in the case were the Ojuela mine fluorites (see also my Tucson review part 1)

Ojuela Fluorite

Keith Proctor, as usual at Tucson, put on a spectacular display of minerals, including a great selection of gold specimens

Keith Proctor specimens

Here's a closer view at some of the gold

Gold specimens in the Keith Proctor collection

And from American gold to Russian platinum. Karp minerals from the Czech Republic had a wonderful display of heavy platinum nuggets from Russia

Platinum from Russia

And a close-up of the three largest


Evan Jones put on a spectacular display of minerals from Tiger, Arizona

Tiger, Arizona minerals

As usual, a fluorescent mineral display was included, and as usual it's difficult to photograph well, but here's my attempt:

Fluorescent Minerals

Lauren Megaw contributed a case of her minerals, here she is standing next to her cabinet

Lauren Megaw and cabinet

Here's one specimen I liked in particular from her display, a spinel twin fluorite from Naica, Mexico

Fluorite from Mexico

Another cabinet showcased the creative uses of rhodochrosite for carvings and objects, reminding me of a colour-shifted version of the many malachite carvings that have come from Africa over the years (and longer ago, from Russia)

Rhodochrosite carvings

Gail and Jim Spann put on a spectacular display of minerals, as usual - one that impressed me in particular was this diaspore crystal group from Turkey.

Diaspore from Turkey

Another major theme of the show was mineral art. A line of cabinets exhibited paintings by some of the most successful mineral artists alive today.

Mineral Artists display

Firstly, Hildegard Könighofer exhibited some of her artwork, and in some cases such as this the original specimens were displayed alongside

Galena painting and specimen

Eberhard Equit was also similarly showing his 1:1 scale paintings alongside original specimens in many cases, such as with these two smoky quartz and amazonite pieces

Smoky Quartz and Amazonite

And Wendel Wilson, better known to most people as the editor of the Mineralogical Record magazine, assembled a collection of his paintings spanning nearly 40 years

Wendel Wilson paintings

Finally, we'll end with three specimens from dealer cabinets that I liked

Firstly, Rob Lavinsky had this gorgeous combination of pink octahedral fluorite with silvery galena on a bed of small pyrite crystals from Peru

Fluorite and Galena, Pyrite from Peru

and Mountain Minerals International had this excellent spinel-twin spinel from Vietnam, which was bought at the show by the Natural History Museum, London.

Spinel from Burma

and last, but not least, a superb manganite from Ilfeld, Germany, which was Crystal Classics/Kristalle specimen.

Manganite from Germany

Special thanks this time to Bob and Jessica Simonoff, who took some of the photos used in this report while I was stuck in the mindat booth.

Here I am stuck in the booth. We were giving out sticker books and mineral stickers for the kids (although the books ran out on Friday during the kids day) - we'll be giving out more of these at shows over the year, and I'll be putting up information about how you can get one directly very soon. Thanks to all the dealers who sponsored the stickers and book, and special thanks and sincere gratitude to Crystal Classics/Kristalle for sponsoring the booth at the show.

Me at the booth

See you at Tucson 2011 - the theme will be minerals of California.

Article has been viewed at least 34173 times.


Thanks again Jolyon. My family and I have truly enjoyed your reports from Tucson. Great photography !!

Kindest regrads,

Craig Mercer
23rd Feb 2010 9:35am
Jolyon I didn't get down to see the Tucson shows his year. So thanks for a glimpse at all those beautiful minerals; I never got to see in person. i especially liked the Tiger Arizona display , what a wild show of colour combination's. What's Next? Dick Stata

Richard (Dick) Stata
9th Mar 2010 7:43pm
Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures! Love the beryl.

J. Wingard
17th Mar 2010 12:12am

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