The end of May/beginning of June, the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies is having their 2-13 Statewide Show and Convention at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. This is a GREAT Gem and Mineral show, and we (B and L Minerals) are excited to be selling for the first time. For all you SoCal mineral collectors and rockhounds, come up and see us from May 20 – June 2.
We look forward to seeing you there, in the meantime here’s a pretty, new to our website – you can see more pics of it here.
What kind of collector are you?
I was thinking about this the other day, and came to the conclusion that there are different types of mineral collectors. Some collect anything that strikes their fancy, collectors of what I’ve heard referred to as “lightening bolts” – whatever strikes you like a bolt of lightning. Some collect rare species, some want one of everything. Still others collect a particular species of mineral. I myself the past few years have been collecting Pyromorphite. I am up to specimens from 55 different locales. I think that’s somewhat impressive, but was brought down to Earth when someone at the Tucson show asked me how many locales there are for Pyromorphite. I looked it up on Mindat.org, and discovered that there are more than 1500 known locales. So, I’ve got a ways to go, yes? Other people collect specimens from a particular locale. A friend of mine collects only Arizona minerals, specializing in Tiger and Bisbee specimens primarily. The women who asked me how many locales that there are for Pyromorphite collects Mexican minerals.
So, what kind of collector are you? A ‘generalist’, or something more specific?
I’ll close with a bit of ‘eye candy’, a beautiful ‘rosette’ of Azurite from the renowned Rubtsovskiy Mine, Siberia, Russia. You can see more of it here.
I dropped off a package yesterday morning, over THIRTY-TWO HOURS AGO, and paid for 1 day shipping and insurance on a VERY important package that needed to be shipped. We just now found out that the package was picked up from the store about THREE HOURS AGO! The girl at the store said “Well, the guy never came to make the pickup”. Seriously???
One of the reasons we sent it next day is the approaching bad weather; I17 quite possibly will be closed tonight for several days. So, our “next day shipping” may turn out to be 4-5 days. Just a word of warning to anyone who reads this, think twice before trusting UPS with anything of any value!
Then, after several phone calls, some CS flunky told Lisa that it would be 2-3 billing cycles (months) before we can expect a refund. Unbelievable. WHY are these idiots still in business?
Most of the dealers are either already packed, or packing as we speak, the shows are over, with the exception of one more day of the “Main” show at the TCC. A good show this year, I believe. I found some things I hadn’t seen before, re-stocked on things that I was sold out of, talked to a lot of people I haven’t seen in a year, and generally enjoyed looking at thousands of mineral specimens.
I heard lots of people remarking, as happens every year, about how the prices were going up quickly, but I found that there were still a lot of bargains to be found if you took the time to look. We have a great supply of things to offer our customers over the next year without having to raise prices.
My friend Jack Crawford of JAM’s Rocks told me that there was a cave in at the Amelia Mine in Baja California, so hold on to your Boleite, Pseudoboleite, and Cumengeite specimens, probably not many more going to be coming out. He also told me that they closed the Bambolla Mine in Sonora, Mexico, so the Te-minerals that came out of there will be drying up, also.
He did have a few nice specimens to offer, particularly from the Amelia; here’s a Chrysocolla pseudo after Boleite that we just listed on our website.
There were lots of other great items as well, one that I stumbled upon that I really liked was some beautiful doubly-terminated Quartz crystals, reminiscent of Herkimers, with yellow Petroleum Inclusions from Pakistan. Fluoresce beautifully under both LW and SW UV light.
You can see close-ups and a pic of the fluorescence here.
As usual, the Main show was really busy, with just INCREDIBLE displays. The theme this year was Fluorite, and there were many, many display cases with specimens that were truly museum-quality. Even if you don’t buy anything at the TCC, the incredible displays are well worth the price of admission.
The show “officially” started today, but a few dealers have been open for the last week, a few more every day. We’ve found some great finds already, and one of the ones that I like the best is one I found today, a quite rare specimen of fluorescent Vlasovite in Eudialyte, Nepheline and Arfvedsonite from the Kipawa Complex, Quebec, Canada. According to mindat, this species has only been found in five locations worldwide. It fluoresces yellow-white under SW UV light. The dealer had only one small box of these, and we grabbed 4 of them. Here’s a pic of one of them:
You can see more of it here.
More to come!
Dealers are flooding into town as we speak, filling the hotel rooms with all kinds of goodies for the mineral collectors of the world. We were down at Hotel Tucson (Inn Suites) this morning, and no one was open yet, but a couple of dealers told me that they’d be open this afternoon, and I’m sure that more will be opening up tomorrow. For those of you not familiar with the Tucson show, Inn Suites is THE place to go for mineral specimens, as opposed to gemstones, etc, that predominate at other locales.
I’ll be writing more later about the interesting finds and new items available, stay tuned.
For those of you not lucky enough to make it to Tucson, here’s a nice piece of eye candy, a beautiful Bunker Hill Pyromorphite, available here.
The Gem, Mineral, Fossil and Jewelry sale is over and was pretty successful in spite of the fact that the only advertising was via email to the members of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society. They didn’t advertise elsewhere because last year, a crazy tax lady from the city of Tucson came by wanting to see One Day Sales Tax Permits from every vendor, and collect a surcharge of $45 from everyone. In spite of the lack of advertising, there was a decent amount of traffic from club members and those who saw the tripod street signs in the area. All the vendors had decent, if somewhat modest, sales, and everyone left happy, it seemed.
This was a nice kickoff for the season’s shows. Next up in the area, the “Flagg” show in Mesa, put on by the Mining and Mineral Museum and Society up in Phoenix, at Mesa Community College the first weekend in January. Following that the Quartzsite show in western AZ will be running most of the month of January, followed by the biggie, of course, Tucson! Looking forward to the yearly 3-week mineral madness.
One more week of school with the kiddies, then I thankfully get some time off to breathe and prepare for the onslaught of shows. We’ll be setting up at the Flagg show, so if you’re in the Valley area in early January, stop by and say Hi!
A bit of eye candy for you, a gorgeous specimen of Scepter Quartz available here.
For those of you in the southern Arizona area, next Saturday the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society is hosting the 9th annual Mineral, Fossil, Jewelry, Art and Craft Sale at the TGMS clubhouse.
If you can’t wait that long, here’s a bit of eye candy, Golden Rutile in Quartz from Brazil. You can see more of it Here.
For those of you in the Southern Arizona area, to kick off all the shows coming up in the area, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society is having their annual one-day show and sale at their clubhouse at 3727 E. Blacklidge in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, December 1st. It’s a great little show, with dealers selling mineral specimens, lapidary material, jewelery, and other holiday-type crafts things. The clubhouse will be packed, as usual, and usually there is some overflow and a few are set up outside in the parking lot. We’ve set up at this show the past two years, and its getting bigger and better every year. So, if you are having withdrawals and need to see some good minerals with an eye towards adding to your collection, or want to see some interesting and unique items for holiday gifts, this is a great opportunity.
Recently I had a chance to talk to a ‘new’ collector, in this case a 10-year old boy, who is making himself a ‘rock collection’. Now, as all of us who began collecting as a child knows, the majority of boys in the 10-12 year-old range are (or at least were in the age before video games became an all-consuming obsession) interested in rocks and fossils, but only a small percentage of those continue with the interest when they grow into adulthood. So, when you talk to a young collector, you’re never sure if this is a passing interest, or if it will be a lifelong passion.
Anyway, this young man is the son of a co-worker, and she brought him over to our house to see my collection and to have me help him identify some of his collection. He had some decent pieces (for a young collector), and some things that aren’t worth anything in terms of a mineral collection. I talked to him about what he had and asked him a few questions to see what he knew about his pieces.
It struck me that he needed to know a few things, things that I wish that someone had told me when I was his age. One was the importance of saving labels and knowing the provenance of your specimen. As all veteran collectors know, a specimen with no provenance is virtually worthless. I talked to him about that, and also showed him how to display specimens, using my collection as an example. He learned about display stands and mineral tack and how to use them properly.
We also discussed how to approach going to a gem show, something a young’un in Tucson needs to know! My theory, that I have heard others espouse and I agree with, is that, if you have a given amount of money (lets say $100) it’s better to buy one or two of the nicest specimens that you can afford, rather than ten $10 rocks. In a few years, your two $50 rocks will still look nice and make you happy, but the $10 rocks will be less and less desirable to have in your collection.
I also cautioned him about the use of hot glue (hate the stuff) and other things that are permanent, such as the old tradition of using ‘white-out’ and putting a number on the specimen itself (again, hate that.) He learned the proper way to use a hand lens, and got a few new treasures to add to his collection. Overall, the young man left with a smile, and hopefully took away some good information for the future. I have no idea whether he will continue to collect or not, but if he does, I believe I gave him a solid base of knowledge to work with.
As my wife says, we have to grow our own Science geeks….
Here’s a bit of eye candy to end with, available here. A beautiful polished slice of Liddicoatite tourmaline from Madagascar.