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Tucson 2002
Gem, Mineral, and Fossil shows

Gems (both rough and cut), Minerals, Fossils, Beads, Jewelry, Lapidary Rock, and equipment and supplies relating to the trade were plentiful once again, especially if you visit the different shows around town.

We came early and left early. At the time We were in Tucson visiting the various shows, We noticed that there were less buyers than usual. The 911 event probably had an impact on this show since many normally arrive by plane.

We have included some highlights of this years visit.

Red Beryl
Sometimes called "Red Emerald"
because it is from the same emerald family.
But, it is actually named "Bixbite"

On February 4, 2002, We met Rex Harris from Delta, Utah, who was wearing around his neck this very large Red Beryl crystal set in a custom gold pendant hung on a heavy gold chain. The natural gemmy crystal measures about 1/2 inch wide and is about 50 carats in weight. Rex Harris is one of the first miners mining the Red Beryl. After many years of mining and selling gemstones, he now wants to retire and have his son Gary take over the business called RED BERYL MINE .   Other specimens were also proudly shown and displayed at the show.
(Click on photos to enlarge)

RED BERYL MINE was in room 188
at Ramada Inn at Oracle Rd. & Drachman St.

There were a lot of friendly exhibitors from all over the World. If you have encountered or witnessed their generous hospitality, or they went out of their way to accomodate you or someone else, please email Us with your story or comments.

You never know what you will find at the show. Here is an "Elephant Bird" Egg from Madagascar that measures 11½ x 8½. Because this particular egg is made from pieces not necessarily from one egg it is valued at about $800. Had this been a complete natural egg, it would have been worth $30,000. There are only about 20 known in existance. This one was displayed by HIGHLAND ROCK & FOSSIL of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
HIGHLAND ROCK & FOSSIL was in room 132
at InnSuites Hotel

Dan Rigel in center of photo has been digging for petrified wood, fossils, and geodes for decades. He now specializes in petrified wood and certain fossils. Him and his wife, Hope, (at left) sell at different fairs and shows during the year including the FRESNO DISTRICT FAIR in Fresno, California during the month of October. Dan is turning the business over to his son Frank (at right). Origianlly from Grants Pass, Oregon, they now live and have a shop in Salome, Arizona, not too far from Quartzsite.

         Their location at the show was in room 146 at the Ramada Inn.

Wright's Rock Shop
of Hot Springs, Arkansas, had some very nice large mineral specimens of
"Brochantite". The specimens shown here are about 4" across. Wright's Rock Shop is one of the preeminent mineral dealers in the United States and have been selling specimens for over 32 years. Although Their stock consists of about 500,000 specimens, they continue to acquire about 2,500 specimens a month. Superb museum specimens and super rarities in unparalleled quality are available for sale. Wright's Rock Shop inventory also includes 200 tons of cutting lapidary material, about 5,000 fossils, hundreds of pieces of art glass, 10,000 rings, 2,500 earings, hundreds of souvenirs, rock hound tools, saw blades, and thousands of other collectibles. When you are in the area, it will worth visiting.

There were some excellent examples of high quality gem ammonite now called "Ammolite". This gem grade material comes from Southern Alberta, Canada, and nowhere else in the world. Gemmy material like this is found buried under a forest of lodgepole pine and trembling aspen. These fine specimens that can be used as jewelry are the outer layers of the 70 million year old prehistoric creatures.

Fossilized dinosaur eggs were not as plentiful as in previous years, but there were some nice impressive trilobites and other fossils especially those coming from Morocco

Realistic action like replicas were also available at the fossil shows.

Richard Beaulieu
Richard is a buyer from Quebec, Canada, whom I met at the KETTLE restaurant one evening in Tucson. He allowed Me to share his background with you. He is 50 years old, married and has two boys, one is 14 and the other is 13. He was originally a real estate broker in the commercial arena until he bought a gemstone company 4 years ago having 50 jewelry displays that has now grown to be 150 displays and wants to expand to 200. That is why he came to the show. He is looking for products to add to his line. One of the reasons he got into the jewelry business is so that he would have more time to spend with his family. He jumped in cold turkey and has since learned a lot with no formal education in the gem and jewelry business. He drove his RV 5,000 kilometers to be at these shows in Tucson. Most of his contacts are made by phone and some physically. He is still happy and content that he got into the gem and jewelry business. During the past 10 days at the show, he has found various items to add to the product line.

There were some new finds that were brought to the show such as "Astorite". This newly found stone has a hardness averaging 6.5 on the Moh's scale.

Meet George V. Polman, aka
"Fluorescent Man"
George who is the owner of POLMAN MINERALS has a wide selection of various minerals that fluoresce. They were nicely displayed in his darkroom and available for sale

We came across some very large opals from Australia that fit together like a puzzle from hence it is named "The Opal Puzzle." The current asking price of this rough opal is about $10,000.

When wondering around the shows one can find coffee tables made from very large slabs of petrified wood, large crystal clusters from Arkansas, and very large spheres.

GLOBAL TREASURES has some stunning examples of gold specimens coming from Australia.

Nicole initially got started selling jewelry in 1984 as a home
show, like Tupperware, just to make an extra $50 a week. The company she worked for eventually went broke. Since she got a taste of selling jewelry and liked it. She wanted another job just like it. Even though Nicole looked "good and hard" over a period of time, she could not find anything like it. However, one day she went to the flea market and found some homemade jewelry made with stones and knew then that is what she is going to do. She began making her own jewelry, starting with a few patterns in the beginning and adding more as time went on. In the last 5 years she was making a living at creating and selling jewelry items that range in price from $5 to $50. She enjoys creating things and now attends the Tucson shows to buy beads, cabs, and other related items that can be made into jewelry.

There was a lot of high quality "Ocean Jasper" coming from Madagascar. Much of it is either made into spheres or into slabs. The spheres were quite reasonable.

Once again, one can find some very large amethyst geodes at the show. There was also one that looked like it was lined with citrine, but it could have been treated amethyst.

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