Mineral and Fossil Co-op
1635 N Oracle Rd
January 26 – February 11, 2024 (10-6 daily)
There is quite a blurred line between collectible, display specimens and decorative geological wonders, but many of the very high-end dealers at the Co-op on Oracle Road are clearly in the decorative geological wonder category. Whether you are looking for a fossil wall hanging for your very large corporate conference room or luxury home -- or a conference room table made from petrified wood - The Co-op is the place to find the very best of the best available for the purpose. Smaller (but still large by collector standards) specimens also abound that would make any rockhound's living room or office into somewhat of a museum. Again, the Co-op has just the thing for that purpose.
But, if slabs from Madagascar are the only smaller specimens on display at a dealer, we (meaning Jim!) will still look through all of them hoping to find something really different in the way of a species or a dynamite pattern.
Mineral and Fossil Marketplace
1333 N Oracle Rd
January 27 – February 10, 2024 (10-6 daily)
At first glance, this seems to be a rather rag-tag collection of sea containers on an old asphalt path. Ah, but look closer. Inside those containers and the building and the tent close by are some wonderful rocks and petrified wood cutters and dealers. The inventory this year reflects the seemingly new reality that petrified wood is becoming more difficult to find - and more expensive as a result. There is an abundance of really fine Arizona (Chinle Formation) Rainbow Forest logs in the 24+ inch size, mostly designed for walls and side tables. So, while we are seldom purchasing those, we are always thrilled to be looking at them!
Some of the best are from the Ginkgo Rock Shop where we always have a lively conversation with William Rose, son of the founder Bill Rose Sr.
Japheth Boyce from South Dakota has the luxury of collecting fossils on his own ranch, so one could say he just needs to go out the back door to find interesting fossils - including some petrified cycads along with the more common Oligocene vertebrate fossil animals. But finding them is only a small part of the process - they still must be prepared with matrix removed and identified accurately, at which he excels.
The collector and dealer friends that we see at Tucson are a big part of the fun!
Tucson Showplace Gem Show
1530 South Freeway
january 27 - February 11, 2024 (9-6 daily)
A smaller venue anchored by the Gem Shop of Cedarburg, Wisconsin (shown below). Huge variety of rough rock for the lapidary enthusiast and finished agates for collectors at this show, but unfortunately no petrified wood this year.
Fossil and Mineral Alley
665 N Freeway
January 26 - February 11, 2024 (10-6 daily)
Now a Day's Inn, this old motel almost qualifies as a fossil itself after so many years of serving as the main fossil venue in Tucson. Indeed, some of the fossils aged in the millions of years are in somewhat better condition that the motel itself. But the legion of fossil dealers seems to stay the same and the inventories change from year to year. There was some interesting petrified wood at this venue but the mainstays seem to be sharks' teeth and invertebrates.
1920 Oracle Road
January 26 - February 10 (10-6 daily)
50 dealers at this tent show offer an interesting mix of fossils and minerals, along with some spectacular agate specimens.
And while we don't formally "collect" agates, we simply can't resist an occasional specimen that seems to stand out from the rest. We succumbed this year to a really colorful Chinese agate nodule from German dealer Joshua Ritter at Agatebay.
In the Miracle Breeze building at this show is Jeanne's Rock Shop, a Texas dealer since 1972. She had a rock shop in Houston for 36 years!
They specialize in display stands, custom bases, boxes, and other display items -- to wholesale as well as retail buyers. If you have a lucite or wood stand or display box, it could well have come from Jeanne's sometime over the past decades. Jeanne, the founder, has passed away, but the business continues in the stewardship of her children and is still a must-stop for collectors and dealers in the huge Tucson and Denver shows and others.
Another favorite dealer at this show is a good friend who lives on a ranch not far from our own in Creston, San Luis Obispo County, California. Aaron Miller's import/export company Ancient Earth Trading Co. specializes in a huge variety of fossils. Find him online: Ancient Earth Trading Co, https://ancientearthtradingco.com/
No petrified wood for us this year from Aaron but he does offer a wealth of beautiful and interesting identified fossils. Find him at your next show!
And of course there is plenty of amethyst and onyx here in this huge space. For some reason, it never gets boring!