including the Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show
777 W Cushing Street
January 25 – February 6, 2024 (10-6 daily)
The name "Pueblo Show" from the early days -- when the hotel was the Pueblo Inn -- is still used for the motel show on the freeway frontage road though the latest owner of the motel is actually the Ramada. It is crowded with both dealers and buyers and on the weekend, local interested families looking for an interesting activity.
Again, not a lot of petrified wood but we did see a spectacular opal limb cast in matrix from Australia. It was full of green and red fire with hints of blue and purple as well. Knowing full well we could not afford it, we asked about the price anyway, just out of curiosity and were told that it simply was not for sale at any price, at least yet. It was mainly an advertising piece to attract people to lots of other opal bits and pieces for lapidary projects. Even the bits and pieces were expensive so we can only imagine the price that the two limb casts might eventually command!
Mineral City Show
various addresses at Oracle, Plata and Lester
January 26 – February 10, 2024 (10-6 daily)
Now in its fifth year as the old Hotel Tucson City Center hotel show was sunsetting and eventually closing its doors, the concept of permanent homes for mineral dealers in lockable spaces inside of gem and mineral devoted buildings has continued to grow. Rather than moving as a customer from room to room in motels, the experience is now one of moving from one dealer showroom to another. Nearly all dealers have outstanding museum-quality display cases, permanently installed. Added benefit? They do not need to dismantle their showcases and store them in a self-store facility at the end of the show. They simply take whichever specimens they want for the next show with them and close the roll-down door to lock up. This is a really great idea pioneered by Mike New a couple of decades ago and we wonder why it took so long to catch on.
In a way, the individual showrooms are like a sort of turnkey industrial condominium where dealers can be assured of security for their display cases and inventory between shows.
And let the record show: the showrooms are a feast for the eyes. Note the entire shelf of opal wood from the Bonanza Mine in Virgin Valley. Most of the pieces are POR (price on request) but the few that had displayed prices -- the tiniest limb sections in the small boxes -- were in the $800-900 price range.
In the way of other petrified wood, we did re-discover a Hungarian dealer who had specimens of petrified wood from Ratka and Megyazso Hungary. So, once again the petrified wood was "hiding in plain sight" beside the mineral specimens!
Building A: 516 W Lester Street, Tucson
Building B: 532 W Lester Street, Tucson
Building C: 531 W Plata Street, Tucson
Building D: 525 W Plata Street, Tucson
Building E: 445 W Plata Street, Tucson
Building F: 1881 N Oracle Road, Tucson
Building G: 645 W Plata Street, Tucson
Mineral Galleries on Lester: 501 W Lester Street, Tucson
La Fuente de Piedras Mineral Show: 1735 N. Oracle Road
The Rock Yard: 615 W Lester St, Tucson
Midwest Minerals: 635 W Lester Street, Tucson
The Mineral Nexus: 621 W Lester Street, Tucson
We hope that clicking/opening a closer view will allow you to view these old mineral labels and checks! The vendor displaying them told us that the labels are ones that had through the years become disconnected from their specimens, and so they decided to preserve and frame them.
This is just another example of the fascinating historical objects that one can find enmeshed in this huge Tucson Show.
Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (Main Show)
260 Church Street
February 8 - February 11
The 4-day Tucson Main Show at the Convention Center is the wrap-up of another great show experience. It simply has everything - cases that follow the show theme (Pegmatites and Pegmatite minerals this year), and cases that follow the exhibitor's own collecting interest.
There are often display cases that memorialize collectors who passed away during the past year. This year there is a case honoring our dear friend Al Liebetrau who was an avid petrified wood collector, as well as collector of incredible minerals and fluorescent minerals.
We saw dazzling cases with minerals that must have cost at least a million dollars alongside cases that were entirely self-collected in the field by the person displaying them. There were cases by "juniors" who were just starting out on their rockhounding hobby and cases by a multitude of museums who brought out their best examples to illustrate the theme of pegmatites.
Perhaps one of our favorite things about the Main Show is the presence of cases with an educational aim - this year some really informative cases about the formation of pegmatites and why and how they produce so many fine gemstone minerals.
There were also cases about the lapidary arts and agates (one cleverly called "A Gate Way to Collecting" reflecting the fact that agate is often the first type of rock to capture the interest of a person who becomes a rock and mineral collector). Petrified wood was even featured or present in a couple of cases although admittedly, it is not the result of pegmatite mineralization.
Our bottom line is that we never would want to miss the Main Show because it has so much to offer -- visually, educationally, and socially. It really is the king of rock and mineral shows!
So another year in Tucson comes to a close. Thanks for coming along with us in spirit. See you in Tucson next year!
Beth and Jim