Tucson, how I miss you!
Well, I was not disappointed! This was first trip to the big Gem and Mineral show in Tucson, I had heard a lot about it but until you experience it yourself you just can't grasp the size! So many shows (something like 47), so many vendors (some shows have hundreds of vendors) and so many rocks, minerals, gems, fossils and all sorts of related things. Vendors form all over the world bring in their inventory to either show off, or try to sell. I think at some times there are more vendors than there were customers!
I can't imagine that all those vendors actually make money, at some shows you would see tent after tent of material from the same country - basically the same material! Other time the high-end vendors would bring in pieces that were so expensive I can't imagine that they sell very much, if anything at all!
I think the trick for this kind of show is to be patient, do your homework, don't impulse buy, and negotiate. With those thoughts in mind you should be able to find some great deals. I know I was able to blow through my budget without a problem!
The trip wasn't without any hiccups though, on our first day at the show we were at the 22nd St. show, we had just had lunch and I reached into my pocket to grab my wallet to pay for some blue Kyanite blades that I had bought and realized that I did not have my wallet! My drivers license, credit cards (both personal and business) and part of my cash were all gone! You know that sinking feeling! Everything goes through your mind at once - did I just put in another pocket, or in my backpack? Did I get pick-pocketed or did I leave it when I bought lunch? Who do I contact to start looking for it? I even thought, how do I get back on a plane to go home without any ID (you can, just google it)?
We went back to the food truck where we bought lunch - no luck. I remembered that there was a booth at this show that seemed to be the show management booth, I went back there and asked if they had a lost-and-found. Low and behold! They had my wallet! Not only was it there, nothing was missing! I wish whoever had returned it would have left their name, I certainly would have treated them to the specimen of their dreams! Sometimes people are just good! You know if I ever find someone's wallet like that I'll do the same for them.
Okay so we put that experience behind us, I split up my credit cards between Lyn and myself and we continued on with the show. I think we ended up hitting about 8 shows or so, when we got to Tucson many of the shows had already closed so we focused on a couple, like the 22nd St, show and the Kino show, both humongous! The Kino show is a sensory overload. If you've never done that one before, you need to do it at least 2 times. once, just to get a feel of what there is, the second time to focus your attention and what you're looking for.
My purchases this year were small enough to box up into a bunch of USPS large flat rate boxes and ship home. I know other dealers like myself bough more than I did and created pallets of material and shipped it home that way. Which ever way we get it home our purpose is to get it back out to you (except maybe a few select specimens we just let go)!
Here is the material that I picked up at the show, I'm in the process of getting everything inventoried, pictures taken, pricing set, and loaded into my online shop here. This process will take a while, if you see anything in these pictures that interest you, drop me a message at MotownRock@wethy.com and I'll get you some more information.
I actually have 11 pieces all together. This material is more on the purple side that pink side but some of these pieces have really nice crystal and they are all good sized. The biggest one is a gem, I'm not sure if that one will make it out of my personal collection!
I came across this guy from North Carolina in the Miners Co-Op show. The material is interesting but his story was even more entertaining! He claims that this combination of minerals has never been found together before, I'm not sure what specific minerals he is referring to but he was very excited about it. It contains Epidote, Thulite, Mica, Quartz, Orthoclase, Albite, Calcopyrite and some other things (including, as he has listed "...misalanious (sic) others...". He was a hoot and the material is actually kind of neat. He had cabbed some of the material so it held together well while manipulated. I'll be selling this for about $20 a piece.
I know, not the best picture to show off this material... I bought a flat (6 pieces) of this silver from a Moroccan dealer. I had seen some of this material at other dealers in the shows and I fell in love with it. I didn't realize that when I bought it this particular material matrix includes UV reactive Calcite - so cool! I always run my UV light over everything I buy just in case I find some surprise, this is a perfect example of why I do that. These pieces will run from about $50 to $150.
Red Quartz is quartz that has Hematite inclusions, pretty cool stuff. I purchased a flat of it in a somewhat smaller size so I could sell it to my customers that don't want to spend an arm and a leg but would like to have a piece. Very affordable, these will be listed from just a couple of dollars up to about $25 or so.
I obtained this material from a Moroccan dealer. Not juicy red, more a brown color but the glitter from all of the nice crystals sold this one to me. I have more Vanadinite in my shop that is on the red side so I thought this material would compliment those pieces. This stuff will run from about $10 to about $20 per piece.
I bought this flat of mixed minerals from the Moroccan dealer as well. Though each piece is small, I bought these for my customers who don;t want to spend a lot of money but would like a few different specimens. There's all sorts of things in this flat, Barite, Vanadinite, Hematite, Fluorite, Aragonite, etc. Some of the minerals are fluorescent as well. I'mm still checking them out to identify some of the samples. Nice and affordable, these will run $4 to $10 each.
Azurite / Malachite Flats
I bought this material with my lapidary friends in mind. Each piece is relatively thin and flat, perfect to grind and polish to make jewelry out of. I try some of it myself to see how it works. I'll be sellign these pieces for about $3 to $10 each
More Azurite / Malachite
I bought even more Azurite / Malachite because the deal was just too good and I'm just a sucker for Azurite! A lot of pieces here, these are more true display specimens. Some bigger, some smaller. Some more Malachite, some more Azurite. Something for everyone. These pieces will run from just a coupe of dollars to maybe $50 dollars, or so.
I love Pink Halite! I don;t know if it is the color, the crystals, or thought of a salty lake leaving this gorgeous mineral behind. Whatever it is this was on my list to pick up in Tucson. So here it is a flat of 12 pieces of Pink Halite. Nice crystals, good sized pieces. These pieces will cost about $15 - $20 each. They are more pink in person, the flash washed it out a bit.
Septarian Nodule Halves
Another material I like, these Septarian Nodules have been cut in half and polished showing off their distinctive patterns. I got a good deal on these guys so I'll pass this on to you, these will be priced in $20 range.
Chalcedony Geode Halves
Another deal that I couldn't pass up. A lot of these guys were in one flat but I like them because of their fluorescent properties. If you shine a UV light on them, they will glow a lime green color - very cool! Since I got such a good deal on them I'l be listing them for about $10 each. I know that I have bought some of these before for about $15 each so this will be a good retail deal!
Blue Kyanite Blades
I love everything blue! Blue Kyanite is no exception. I have some Blue Kyanite cluster for sale nut when I saw these blades for sale I had to buy them. They're good for retail since I can sell them for about a nickel a piece, or I can bundle up a 1/2 pound or so of them and sell multiple at once. Hold these up to a light, the edges are translucent so you'll see a nice blue glow through them.
Amethyst Stalactite Slices
Okay, here is the final purchase that I made in Tucson - Amethyst Stalactite Slices. I love these guys. You can find them small, like these or the size of your hand. I had purchased a number of the new membrane displays from a vendor during the show without anything specific in mind but when I saw these slices marked 50% off I immediately thought of the membrane displays! These little guys work perfectly in the displays. I hope I get as much interest in them as I like them! These will be priced at $20 each (or maybe a couple of dollars cheaper if you buy them here on MotownRocks,com).
Well, that's it form our trip this year. Lyn and I had a great time. In addition to the rock stuff I indulged Lyn in her love of checking out knitting stores in each new town we go to, we checked off another National Park off our list, Saguaro National Park, we're up to 25 parks or so now. We went to Tombstone, AZ and took a tour of the Kartchner Caverns State Park. We stayed at the McCoy Hotel, a newly refurbished funky motel decked out with art all over the place, beer, wine in the lobby and food trucks on Friday and Saturday. A place we would definitely stay at again.
I'll get this new inventory up in y online shop as soon as I can! Thanks everybody!
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Todd Wethy - Chief Rock Geek, Motown Rocks