Wulfenite is a lead molybdate mineral most often found as thin tabular crystals with a bright variable colors – often in translucent crystals. Pure wulfenite is colorless, but nearly all samples display colors ranging from a creamy yellow to a sharp, intense red, as seen above. Some samples even display blues, browns, and blacks. Recent studies suggest that the source of strong coloration is the presence of extrinsic impurities. Its beauty is only one of the reasons that it is so sought after by collectors. It has worldwide occurrences as a secondary mineral in lead deposits, and was named for Franz Xavier von Wulfen, an Austrian mineralogist.
From Peter Megaw, TGMS Exhibits Chair on why "WULFENITE IS LOVED" is the show theme of the 2019 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®
Wulfenite (PbMoO4) is as Arizonan as Saguaros, Gila Monsters and Snowbirds…and in 2017 was officially recognized by our Legislature as our Official State Mineral. This puts it in company with Petrified Wood as our state fossil, Turquoise as our state gemstone, the Bolo Tie as our state neckwear and Copper as our state metal. In one way or another all these “official state” designations are an outgrowth of our hobby and Show and reflect the maturing of tastes…with mineral specimens finally getting the recognition they deserve!
So why “Wulfenite is Loved”? The answer goes back to the late 60s when some (presumably successful) mineral collector scrawled PbMoO4 is LOVE (no “D”) on an old shed at the Red Cloud Mine…arguably the world’s finest wulfenite locality. Photographs of this graffito appeared in the mineral collecting magazines and spawned bumper stickers (now serious collector’s items) that graced collector’s vehicles until they disintegrated under our fierce Arizona sun.
The show runs through Sunday, Feb. 17th, so you still have time to get there!
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Club Show is the finale show here in Tucson, and conveniently debuted on Valentine's Day. It is so large, and so sophisticated, that one would not immediately consider that it is a show established and run by volunteers -- members of the Tucson Club.
One would be hard-pressed to have the opportunity to "visit" so many international museum exhibits in just a few hours -- and that is the primary reason we stay in Tucson for the "Main Show."
Of course another reason is that one can see spectacular minerals, gems, fossils and lapidary art from private collections. When would we have the opportunity to view these amazing specimens that belong to the people that collect (and can afford) them?
See you in Tucson next year -- or maybe even somewhere before that!
We will have a few new offerings on our website early in the week of January 18th, so please come back to
Beth and Jim