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Tucson 2003
Gem, Mineral, and Fossil shows

Even though most exhibitors return year after year, there will always be someone new or someone missing from the show(s). Even though one sees pretty much the same material year after year, there is always something special and different or certain specimens will be bigger or better. There are always bargains and opportunities found when a dillegent search is made.

We have included some highlights of this years visit.

Tanzanite Specimens

The above two tanzanites are believed to come from Block D of the Miralaney(?) District of Arusha Tanzania. They are currently owned and displayed by 24 year old Justin Dionne. The one on the left is 186 carats and retails for $4500, the one on the right is 282 carats and retails for $5600. Justine started with a tumbler at the age of 7 and started his hardcore mineral collecting at the age of 17. Began selling in Tucson in 1998.

Many fine specimens can be found at the show.
This purple-blue Zolite is from Tanzania, Africa.
Most tanzanite mined today is of a brown color and is heat treated to the blue color. The stones are heated to temperatures usually ranging from 752ºF (400ºC) to 932ºF (500ºC).

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Here are a couple of large well-defined crystal specimens. The one on the left is 119 carats. The one on the right is 93 carats. Both crystals are owned and displayed by Thomas Schneider of San Diego, California.

John Dyer
John Dyer, who is now 24 years of age, became interested with gems when he was only 16 years of age and started faceting gems at the age of 17. Last year he won first place in AGTA's Cutting Edge "Flat Faceting" competitiion. This year he received a third place in the same category. What an accomplishment for such a young man.

John says "I love beautiful things; gemstones, and tropical fish." He went on to say "Love cutting special type of material even if it takes a little longer and has more facets." John cuts about 150 to 200 stones per year on the average. The smallest gem he has faceted on his "UltraTech" faceting machine was only 2 mm in size. His largest was 126 carats. His favorite shape is the trillion cut because he finds this type of cut to be exceptionally brilliant.

John's worst unforgetable experience happened when he was faceting a larger red beryl. Keep in mind that this particular red beryl was unusually large and cost him $2,000.00 in the rough. While in the final stages of faceting the stone, it split into three pieces. Just think of the amount of material that was ground away trying to cut the larger stone. He was counting on maintaining the large size stone because such a large faceted stone would have brought a premium for its rarity. Now it is three smaller stones of much less size rarity.

John and his dad have spent much time in Brazil sometimes six months at a time. Some of this time is spent doing missionary work. In years past, John prayed that God would give him a special talent. Yes, God does answer prayer. John's success together with his accomplishments bears witness to his God given talents. John is now experiminting with carving geometric designs combined with faceting, similar to Michael Dybers work. John's latest creative cuts and designs are called "New Optix" and "Dreamscapes."

Geode and Nodule Slices

Over the years one can find a lot of slices of nodules and geodes that range in sizes from 2" to 7". But, rarely would one find them 12" to 18" in size. Above are photos of some that are in the 12" to 18" size range.

Fossil Fish

Wayne McGee (on the right) of London, England, is about to purchase a fossil fish from Carl Ulrich (on the left).

Carl, who lives in Kemmerer, Wyoming, has been digging for these fossils and preparing them since 1947. It all starterd when he started tinkering around the Green River Basin area, found a fossil, prepared it and then sold it. Carl stated "I strive for quality, not quantity."
Carl's wife, Shirley, is the one who puts the frames on.

Carved rock

We found these carvings to be of interest
The lizard rock in the left photo is about 20" long. The frog pices is about 6" across.

Paul Downing, Ph.D
Paul Downing (on the left) just released a new book titled OPAL IDENTIFICATION & VALUE published in 2003. This new book is a revised, expanded, & updated version of his original book by the same title published in 1992. Paul is a renowned self-proclaimed "opalholic." He has also written three other books titled Opal Cutting Made Easy, Opal Advanced Cutting and Setting, and Opal Adventures. In 1999, he was inducted into the National Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame. He is also a winner of three AGTA Cutting Edge Awards for opal.

Idar Oberstein

Some nice material and interesting cuts
come from the cutters of famous
Idar Oberstein, Germany

Intricate Carvings

Carvings by Paul Hawkins and Susan Zalkind are intricate, delicate, real looking, and artiscally beautiful. An example of their fine work is seen in the white alabaster rose ($30,000). They used a special alabaster that comes from an old gypsum mine. It took two years to complete the rose. Their work has appeared in the January 2000 issue of Lapidary Journal

They now teach carving in after school or summer programs.

Faceted and Carved Ametrine
Lek Ho, of Bangkok, Thailand, faceted and carved this 202 carat Ametrine into an interesting shape using a special machine. She wants $3232 for the piece. She is currently the General Director of JEWELRY PRO CO., LTD, having two offices in Bangkok, Thailand.


Years ago, I remember rooms full of Kunzite coming from Afghanistan or Pakistan, but nowdays, one can hardly find a large superb piece with good color. However, this year We did find a nice piece of rough from Brazil.

Artistic Carvings

Jeff Schaezle has some nice artistic cavings and carvings that reflect realism.

World's Largest
Scheelite Crystal

This 12" size crystal specimen from China is the world's largest scheelite crystal weighting in at 21 kilos (about 47 pounds). Until now the former heavyweight champion was a mere 1/5 the size. The asking price of this specimen is $50,000. A Lincoln Copper Penny (US 1¢ coin) is setting on the table for size comparison.

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