Tucson 2019 Show Report
The 2019 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show brought some exciting changes to us here at the Collector’s Edge!
We exhibited at four different venues in Tucson this year, starting with the CE wholesale team down at the 1801 Oracle Road "Sun Gemstone" Warehouse, smack in the middle of what is fast becoming the new “mineral center” of the Tucson show. The Wholesale team left about a week ahead of the rest of our team, arriving in time to unload show cases, minerals, and supplies ahead of their "jump start" opening on Saturday, January 26th. Graham Sutton, assisted by Craig Wibirt, Jennifer and George Quist, and a number of student helpers, worked tirelessly to make sure our wholesale division got off to a “rocking” start the first weekend of the show. More and more customers, especially dealers and rock shop owners, are showing up early in the show to do their shopping in Tucson, and they wholesale crew had a very busy first weekend at 1801 Oracle.
Can't beat those Tucson sunsets! Here's a nice one as seen from our 1801 Oracle Road location early in the show.
Our wholesale warehouse at 1801 Oracle Road in Tucson.
Shop Early Shop Often!
Starting with our wholesale warehouse at 1801 Oracle Road, we had numerous new things to offer this year at the wholesale level. Once again, one of our most popular offerings were flats of mixed minerals from Namibia, especially from the well-known Erongo Mountains and Kaokoveld Plateau regions. We received a very large shipment of minerals late last fall from Namibia, and the wholesale crew worked extra hard to get flats of this material ready for sale in Tucson. With entire flats of beautiful and colorful aquamarine, schorl, smoky quartz, shattuckite, malachite and more starting at just $100 or so, it’s easy to see why these were a big hit with all our dealer and resale customers this year. In addition, we had a number of exciting new offerings from China, including a number of new fluorite finds such as the sea-green dodecahedral and cubic crystals with dolomite from the Manoashan mine in Hunan province and deep purple crystals on quartz from Anhui Province. Our slabs of banded fluorite from China (sold by the pound) were also a big hit with customers this year! CE Wholesale team members George and Jennifer Quist, Craig Wibirt, and Greg Mayes worked very hard to make sure that the 1801 Oracle Road show was a success this year. Jennifer ran the "keystone room" at 1801 Oracle, where we featured numerous showcases and flats of attractive and varied 50% off minerals 'by the piece', while next door, Craig and Greg had a huge selection of minerals by the flat for dealers.
Beautiful banded fluorite slabs from China- only $10/pound at wholesale!
Zack Guiliani and George Quist moving showcases into our wholesale locations early in the show.
Jennifer Quist outside our "keystone room" at the 1801 Oracle Road Wholesale Show.
Craig Wibirt outside our 'minerals by the flat' room at the 1801 Oracle Road Wholesale Show.
Some of the CE wholesale team (and a U of A student helper) taking a lunch break at our 1801 Oracle Road location.
Hunan Rocky Mountain Trading Company (our Chinese affiliate) employee Glinda Zheng in one of our "director chairs" at the 1801 Oracle Road Warehouse.
Probably our most talked about location this year was at the brand-new "Mineral City" show at 516 West Lester Street, right next door to the 1801 Oracle Road warehouse. Graham Sutton and many others worked tirelessly in the weeks and months preceding Tucson this year to get this totally NEW building ready for business. While a tight construction and show schedule led to a little last minute scrambling, the show went ahead without a hitch, with 16 fantastic dealers from all over the world. The Mineral City Show opened for business on Saturday, February 2nd, and most dealers stayed open through the beginning of the TGMS 'main show.'
The new "Mineral City" Show venue early in the show, with some finishing touches still left to be done.
A new moon over Mineral City at our opening party.
The Collector's Edge room at Mineral City, featuring 10 showcases full of beautiful and varied 50% off 'keystone' minerals for sale.
Phil Persson writing up invoices at the Mineral City Show.
The Collector's Edge booth at Mineral City, open for business!
Our room at the new Mineral City show featured a selection of specimens from our 50% off 'keystone' inventory. This was not your typical keystone venue, however, as Phil Persson and other worked in the weeks and months preceding the show to label and price many great new keystone specimens from recent acquisitions, as well as take many fine specimens from our lower-end retail category and re-label them as keystone, along with a sometimes significant price reduction. This gave collectors and dealers alike the chance to acquire excellent-quality, showy, undamaged mineral specimens, many of which we had not marketed before, at 'keystone pricing.'
Some photos of our special cases of Sweet Home Mine rhodochrosite specimens from the Sweet Home Reference Collection (1992-2004).
Possibly our most popular and talked about offering at the new Mineral City Show was a special group of rhodochrosite and associated species from the Sweet Home Mine reference collection. These specimens, selected as representations from each pocket found during the 12+ year specimen mining operation at the Sweet Home Mine, had never been offered for sale before. Many of these specimens were in the 'keystone' category, as well as wholesale flats, and these inexpensive but attractive specimens proved to be a big hit with dealers and collectors alike.
Beautiful shelves of cherry-red rhodochrosite specimens from the Sweet Home Mine for sale at Mineral City.
Some great 50% off 'keystone' rhodochrosite specimens from the Sweet Home Mine for sale at Mineral City.
Another eye-catching specimen at our Mineral City room was this spectacular 900 pound group of pink manganoan calcite crystals from the Manaoshan mine in Hunan Province, China
Our large plush leather couches and other creature comforts at our Mineral City room made it a popular hangout for friends and customers throughout the show.
Overall, the reception of the new Mineral City show was fantastic, and both dealers and customers alike had great things to say about the quality of the minerals, the dealer selection, and the venue itself. It seemed like every serious mineral collector in Tucson made an effort to make it over to Mineral City at some point in the show, and we got to see a lot of old friends as well as make new acquaintances and customers. There is already a long waiting list to get into the Mineral City show, and rumor has it there may be other new mineral show venues popping up in the neighborhood around Mineral City in the coming years. As the "axis of the show" starts to shift towards Lester Street, we are very excited to have two great sales venues in "Tucson's new mineral district", and are looking forward to an ever better year at Mineral City in 2020!
Once again, the Collector's Edge was proud to participate in what is most certainly the world's most important mineral show for superb-quality specimens, the annual Tucson Fine Mineral Show at the Westward Look Resort. This year the show was officially open from February 8-11th, but as we have done in previous years, Steve Behling and Richard Jackson were up in suite 311 in building 34 starting the previous weekend, showing our finest minerals by appointment.
A case of some of our finest minerals at the Westward Look Show in Tucson.
Steve Behling, Glinda Zheng, a Chinese guest, and Richard Jackson at our room at the Westward Look Show.
We had numerous exciting new offerings this year at the Westward Look Show. This included outstanding specimens from the collections of: Dr. Stephen M. Neely – Tennessee, Gerhard Wagner – Germany, Proctor Family Trust – Colorado, and the Hopper Family Trust – Idaho. We also had some incredible, new dioptase crystal specimens from the Kaokoveld Plateau, Namibia. These huge and lustrous dioptase crystals may be the finest ever found in the Kaokoveld. Additionally we had some attractive, new amethyst specimens from the Goboboseb Mountains, Namibia. As in the past, we had a new batch of beautiful, newly collected specimens from our mining efforts at Elk Creek, Meade County, South Dakota. Finally, in the "what's new" category, we had a number of vibrant, lemon-yellow brucite specimens from Pakistan. Overall our display at the Westward Look show was very well received, and it was great to catch up with friends both old and new at this annual "must see" event for top-quality mineral specimens.
A noteworthy event this year at the Westward Look Show was that our very own Graham Sutton received the 2019 American Mineral Heritage Award, which was given out at the annual Sunday evening reception at the Westward Look Resort. Graham's mineral collecting adventures span over 3 decades and numerous continents, and he has personally collected tens of thousands of fine mineral specimens which have enriched collections and museums around the world. Graham's varied and outstanding accomplishments in the fields of mineralogy and mineral collecting certainly make him a deserving recipient of this award, and it was a pleasure to see him recognized in this way in front of his peers and colleagues. He gave a "short and sweet" acceptance speech, thanking early mentor Dave Shannon, as well as Bryan Lees. Congrats Graham!!
The "Grand Finale" in Tucson is the TGMS show, colloquially known as the "main show", which was from February 14-17th this year at the Tucson Convention Center. The theme this year was "Wulfenite is Loved", and with Arizona being undoubtedly the most wulfenite-enriched place on earth, there were some truly outstanding and varied exhibits from both private collectors and museums.
Once again our booth at the TGMS show was very popular. Here is a photo of one of our cases of superb fine minerals at TGMS. With our central location and large, open booth layout, we are usually a center of activity and bustle during the show, and enjoy showing off some of our finest minerals to knowledgeable collectors and the general public alike.
The competitive single species case this year was... you guessed it, wulfenite! The large Los Lamentos specimen at left and the Chinese specimens just to the right of it were particularly exceptional.
Superb-quality wulfenite specimens from around the world in the competitive case at TGMS.
A great case organized by Lauren Megaw focused on "young mineral collectors"... was great to see lots of new names and exceptional minerals in this case, bravo!
A great educational case, showing the ten major groups of minerals as classified by the Nickel-Strunz system.
This was a standout year for thumbnails, with numerous wonderful cases of these treasures which fit inside a 1 x 1" square.
Jim Bleess and Rich Olson put together this outstanding case of thumbnail-size specimens.
I particularly loved their very sharp crystal of the super-rare Tantalum Borate species Behierite with some reddish tourmaline crystals... wow!
Erin Delventhal and Phil Simmons of Enchanted Minerals LLC put together this award-winning case on fluorite from the Cookes Peak District of New Mexico.
Jesse Fischer put together this great case of European fluorite, including what is probably the best example of have seen of the new Irish fluorites from Joe Larkin's Quarry.
Bill Dameron, AKA "Barite Bill" put in this case of nice European barites from unusual localities.
This stunning huge topaz crystal from Brazil from the collection of Gene Meieran attracted lots of attention during the show.
The Rice Museum in Oregon featured some of their outstanding wulfenite specimens this year.
This large plate of wulfenite crystals from the Glove Mine in the Rice Museum's case was particularly superb.
A wonderful historical case featuring some of the earliest known wulfenite specimens and a history of Franz Von Wulfen for whom the species is named.
Longtime dealers Wayne and Dona Leicht of Kristalle expanded on the wulfenite theme with this stunning case of secondary Lead minerals from their exceptional collection.
Another "talk of the show" were the two cases of world-class specimens owned by an anonymous collector and curated by dealer Will Johnson of Wisconsin. Wow!!
Iconic Pederneira mine tourmaline specimens in the cases of Natural Creations LLC.
Stunning large gem crystals and other minerals in one of two cases curated by Natural Creations, LLC.
Among other things, Natural Creations LLC exhibited this 20+ cm tall blue cap tourmaline on smoky quartz from the iconic 1972 find at the Tourmaline Queen Mine. No words needed!!
Also in the "drool worthy" category was this superb case of fine minerals from the collection of Marc and Janis Countiss of Texas.
Longtime Arizona collector/dealer Les Presmyk has a special affinity for sphalerites, and he put together a great case of them this year!
San Diego collector Irv Brown put together not one but two cases of truly superb minerals this year.... here is his Desautels Trophy-winning case... congrats Irv!
This huge, perfect dodecahedral copper crystal from Michigan in Irv Brown's case may have led to some drooling and nose-prints on the glass...
This facet-quality scheelite from China (and the copper behind it) in Irv Brown's second case were exceptional.
Wendell Wilson exhibited his world-class thumbnail collection at TGMS this year, which was a treat to see.
The new Maine Mineral and Gem Museum exhibited some of their Maine pegmatite treasures this year.
A great educational case celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Mineralogical Society of America!
Well, that's it for Tucson 2019! Another show on the books. Overall the show went very well for us this year, and most other dealers and collectors we talked to also had great things to say about how the Tucson show continues to change and evolve over the years. We saw a big upswing in younger collectors, a lot of world-class exhibits by both private collectors and museums, and several new show venues which were very popular. A huge thank you to all our customers and friends who came out to see us this year in Tucson... we couldn't have done it without you!