Joined: 13 Nov 2011
Location: Monroeville PA
Posted: Feb 28, 2018 21:22 Post subject: some other really nice pieces -Tucson Show 2018
I was organizing all the photos I took at this year's show and here's a few other specimens that caught my eye - thought I'd share them with the FMF bloggers.
Fluorite on Quartz
Göscheneralp, Göschenen Valley, Uri, Switzerland
an amazing piece - a trophy in anyone's display. In the Kristalle booth.
ludlockite tsumeb b.JPG
Tsumeb Mine, Tsumeb, Otjikoto Region, Namibia
You sure don't see many of these around - a quite rare species found only in very limited quantities. Clive Queit had a few of these in his HTCC booth - this is the best one which he was asking $1500 for.
Rutile epitaxic on Hematite with Hyalite
Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil
A pretty amazing association. In the booth of Unique Minerals.
There were quite a few of these gemmy and deep purple/blue fluorites around the show. Although very nice, I thought they were just too expensive. But I did get one nice one in one of the Chinese rooms just at closing time. Many of the Chinese people left the show early to beat the Chinese new year rush back home. It was a very good time to shop.
Dalnegorsk, Kavalerovo Mining District, Primorskiy Kray, Far-Eastern Region, Russia
If you can read the signage - it notes that this is a floater and one of the largest single calcite xls found. Stunning no matter what.
Jalgaon District, Maharashtra, India
Probably like most of you, I've become somewhat jaded about Indian zeolites - there are just so many good ones out there. But this apophyllite really stands out for it's brilliance. just amazing - needed sunglasses to look at this one.
Calcite and Copper
Kearsarge Mine, Kearsarge, Houghton County, Michigan, USA
And one from the incredible Ralph Clark case. There were sooooooo many great pieces, but this one stood out to me.
Adelaide Mine, Dundas, Zeehan District, West Coast Council, Tasmania, Australia
And finally - this crocoite - the best specimen found at this past year's diggings - was in one of the center piece display cases and you could see it loud and clear well across the floor. It attracted LOTS of photographers.
Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posted: Mar 18, 2018 09:26 Post subject: Tucson 2018 - Some ideas
A month after Tucson finished I still do not know very well how to explain this last edition and since I do not want to spend more time without doing it, I will just explain four or five ideas and every one can draw their own conclusions.
- The concept "Reference Show" has thinned. I would say that the Main Show, Westward Look, TCC-Inn Suites and the infinite other satellite shows are now part of the great show that is all Tucson and there is not a dominant show but the city of Tucson itself is one "Gigantic Show"
- The number of satellite shows in Tucson increases and increases, so every year there are new shows. Not minor shows but "pocket" shows in which specimens of hundreds of thousands dollars are offered (by appointment).
Shows like the Convention Center have been slowly transforming into a kind of great social event in which the best dealers’ displays occupy very large spaces and they use absolutely stunning exhibition techniques.
- Currently some important shows are actually two shows, the "visible show" and the "parallel show" in which special pieces are offered privately to special customers.
- The divergence between the old (and not easy) emphasis on mineralogy and the current "minerals as art objects" has increased so much that I would say that in fewer and fewer stands and collections both things coexist.
- There is a huge competition for certain pieces and, interestingly, the competition for these "trophy" specimens involves both the seller and the customers.
I mean that both buyers and sellers make great efforts and consume large amounts of energy and money for very few specimens. As a result, the world of the mineral hobby is different today than it was some years ago because it seems than only a very few specimens are highly desirable instead the rest, even if sometimes that "rest" could be extraordinary (in terms of "mineralogical") specimens. It seems that as they are not "baptized" as a trophy according the current rules they don't get the major success that they probably deserve ;-)
What does all this mean? Actually I do not know, I hope I can learn more over the next few years. Learning is the most interesting thing existing!
See you in Tucson 2019
Tucson 2018 - The Mineralogy.jpg
I publish this photo as a small tribute to all those who like minerals and we collect them. Peter Megaw is very happy with his collection and everybody is happy to see it. Like so many mineral collectors did before.The mineralogy is engaging...
Posted: Mar 18, 2018 11:57 Post subject: Re: Tucson Show 2018
Interesting observations, and thanks for sharing the photos, they are great.
I would agree with Jordi's comments regarding the overall state of the Tucson Show- it is healthy and growing overall, but there is also a growing "divergence" between minerals and particular specimens deemed as being highly-collectible and/or competitive, and "everything else." This has manifested itself both as an explosion of new show venues, catering to ever more specialized interests- (e.g. Westward Look Show for "fine minerals", Tsumeb forum for Tsumeb minerals, "Tucson's New Mineral Show" for rare species, locality pieces etc).
While the market for "top" pieces is healthy and highly competitive, the market for minerals which the "average collector" can afford is also growing I think, despite some suggestions to the contrary. However, these collectors, especially the knowledgeable ones who have been collecting minerals for a long time, have to search harder for quality minerals that fit their budget. Due to macroeconomic and political trends of the past ~30 years in North America and Europe, especially in the USA, many of these collectors have seen their real wages and the value of their dollar shrink, so they have to be very creative and thrifty is they want to get high-quality minerals for reasonable prices. Those high-quality specimens for reasonable prices still exist, but it is definitely getting harder to find them, and often they are found not in a dealers booth but through other collectors de-accessioning specimens, or the larger social networks we have as collectors.
I will take my own personal collection as an example. I have been collecting minerals since I was 7 or 8 years old and now at age 31 I find that the quality of minerals I want for my collection and my budget seem to be growing farther and farther apart... ;) Of course the fact that I work for a major mineral dealer (Collector's Edge) and get to handle amazing specimens every day maybe doesn't help this problem! However, I was very happy to find several nice specimens at the Tucson show this year for my own collection that were surprisingly in my budget- the thing is almost none of them were found through "conventional" channels, e.g. a dealer's stand at the show. I purchased a nice Round Mountain Mine crystallized gold from a friend of a friend who was an older gentleman who was getting out of collecting minerals- he had bought the piece some years before when the gold price was significantly lower, and was happy getting back essentially what he paid for the piece, which was great for me. I also got several nice crystallized coppers from Michigan, which I purchased directly from a friend who lives up in the Keweenaw Peninsula and had personally collected them- we had done business before when I was a mineral dealer on my own, and his prices for these specimens was very reasonable. Finally, I bought a very nice Onganja mine cuprite crystal on matrix from another friend, who had acquired it as part of a lucky estate sale find recently where he lives in the Midwestern USA. None of these specimens are anywhere near the quality of the minerals that my company sells at the Westward Look show each year, but I was very happy and grateful to add them to my collection nonetheless. I guess the reason why I am telling this story though is that the way I was able to get these "deals" was just knowing some people in the mineral world, being active in the mineral clubs, online discussions, shows, etc, and I would advise anyone else looking for good minerals for their collection at reasonable prices (which I imagine is all of us!) to consider these "unconventional" acquisition channels.
Likewise, I think sometime exploring a dealer's inventory in more detail can yield good results too. I recently had some geologist friends I went to graduate school with over the our showroom at Collector's Edge. One of them was looking through some drawers in the vault and found a specimen he really liked, and remarked "but I thought you guys only sold really expensive stuff!" It pays to look around. :)
Finally, getting back to the Tucson Show.. I hear a lot of collectors lamenting being "priced out of the hobby" and that the prices for top specimens have gotten astronomically-high. Yes, prices for the top ~1% of minerals have risen dramatically in recent decades, but the cost of these minerals has now made possible activities that would have seemed impossible 30 or 40 years ago, such as major specimen mining projects, as well as large mineral specimen companies with 10+ employees which deal in minerals at all levels. Also, many of these wealthy collectors are active philanthropically in the mineral world, meaning they support museums and universities in various ways. In an era where science literacy seems at an all-time low, particularly earth sciences, these educational activities are sorely needed, and public funding is often lacking.
My only real complaint with the trends in prices is the "linear vs. logarithmic" problem in comparing quality vs. price. What I mean is that it seems now that if a dealer has a 2 cm. broken legrandite crystal on matrix, he/she will compare it's value in a "linear scale" to the famous Aztec Sun legrandite. Therefore, the small broken piece may be priced at $5000 when in reality it is a $50 rock, because the Aztec Sun sold for a 7-figure price. This "false equivalency" principle is the main reason why so many dealers seem to haul around to show after show a huge inventory of "middle level" minerals which never sell.. they are simply not price-competetive in my opinion.
Finally, there are several "emerging markets" I see in mineral collecting right now. Perhaps the most interesting is what I call the "crystal hippy" market (for lack of a better word). You have all seen these people at shows- typically in their 20's 30's, dreadlocks are common, and they love the "jam band" and music festival scene, often traveling around from show to show. Some may be "trustafarians" who present a bohemian lifestyle as a cover for a giant trust fund from mom and dad, but most seem to just be into the lifestyle of traveling around, seeing live music, and yes there is often the "drug component" as well. For some reason, they seem to have become infatuated with minerals, particularly gem crystals, and at the top of that desirability scale for them is elbaite tourmaline. I hope I don't sound too disparaging of these people, in general they are enthusiastic and harmless and we need more young people interested in minerals. However, there are rumors/concerns that a lot of this activity in the mineral world may be a way to, ahem, "clean" money gotten from illicit sources, and more practically, we all have seen the dramatic way prices for even heavily damaged examples of these gem minerals have risen in recent years.
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