Top 10 International Mineral and Gem Crystal Shows

Top 10 International Mineral Shows

By Jeremy Zolan

The newest finds and choicest mineral specimens are always the hottest items at the world’s biggest mineral shows. The most popular mineral shows are those that allow both businesses and the public the best and most exclusive specimens at the most competitive prices. Displays and activities also make shows notable. Many museums take the privilege to display extraordinary specimens rarely seen by others aside from the curators if they fit with the theme of the show, which many but not all shows have. Here is a selection of ten shows that currently attract the most notable attention, of course, as with all things in this world, in a few years, some of these shows might have ceased to be and new events will rise up.

#1 Tucson Mineral and Gem Shows- Tucson, Arizona, USA

One of the largest shows in the world, The Tucson Mineral and Gem Shows are held for about a month, starting in late January and running until mid-February. The environment is exciting and busy, perhaps overwhelming for some. At the main show at the end of the events, Vendors are typically larger, more established dealers selling mostly mineral specimens, but a few sell fossils or lapidary material as well. The displays at the show are very well known for highlighting extremely fine specimens with exciting themes. 2014’s main show theme was Diamonds and Gold. One of the greatest mineral show displays in history was featured at the 2008 Tucson Mineral and Gem show- the American Mineral Treasures exhibit. This show united many of the US’ finest native specimens in the same display cases.

Here is an ad for ONE of the shows, the Tucson Gem and Rock Crystal Show!
Tucson Mineral and Gem Show Ad

#2 Denver Gem and Mineral Show- Denver, Colorado, USA

The majority of the largest and most popular mineral shows in the US are held in the Southwest. The Denver Gem and Mineral Show certainly fits that category. This show is very similar to the TGMS show and is also themed. The 2014 show’s theme was be agate. It generally attracts a very similar crowd of dealers as well. The displays are especially famous- many of the world’s famous mineral museums and greatest private collectors put in mouth watering specimens.


The-Vug tours the Denver Mineral Show
DenverColShow-blogspot
Official site: http://www.denvermineralshow.com/

#3 Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines show, France

Outdoor mineral shows are always a great time, especially if they are held in an ancient mining town like the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Show! The gorgeous scenery and rich history of the French countryside setting make this perhaps the world’s most scenic major mineral show. It is one of the premier mineral events in Europe as well and has thousands of visitors. Last year was the 50th anniversary of the show. Check out this show from Thursday through the last weekend in June if you’d like to attend a superb European event!

SainteMarie
Official site: http://www.sainte-marie-mineral.com/an_index.php

#4 Munich Mineraltage – Munich, Germany

This show takes place right around Halloween, late October, first days of November, typically. The show is located in three huge halls, which are formerly airplane hangers! The whole Trade Fair Center is the old Munich airport, converted into a giant convention center. The show has over 1,000 dealers from all over the world, separated into areas for mineral dealers, lapidary, fossils, crystal healing, and all sorts of other fun niches. Each year the show has a theme and the exhibits are never short of amazing. The show is run by the Keilmann family and you can see them breezing by on their scooters from hall to hall, ensuring that the show runs like clockwork.

munichmineraltage
Official site: https://munichshow.com/en/

#5 Tokyo International Mineral Fair- Tokyo, Japan

First held in 1988, the Tokyo International Mineral Fair is the largest and oldest mineral show in Asia. This show is focused on compact and high end booths geared towards a retail rather than wholesale audience. Rare and systematic mineral dealers are fairly numerous at the show due to the higher than average national interest in systematic mineral collecting. This is a good show to go to for those who are looking for unusual or specialized material. Japan also has many mineral localities that have produced wonderful specimens that are rarely if ever seen in the west. This is a great event to look at or purchase unique local Japanese material. The next show is being held on December 6th through 9th in 2014.

tokyomineralshow
Official Website: http://www.tokyomineralshow.com/english/

#6 Rockhound Gemboree- Bancroft, Ontario, Canada

Every summer during the first weekend in August, Canada’s largest show is held in the nation’s heartland of mineral collecting. Bancroft is widely referred to as “Canada’s Mineral Capital” for having an abundance of abandoned mines and other mineral collecting localities open to the general public. This mineral show usually has an excellent selection of local material and esoteric specimens. It often attracts smaller dealers as well as major Canadian dealers. Swapping specimens is also encouraged at this show. Visitors looking for a fun outing in nature should consider mineral collecting in the region. Ask local museums or dealers what their recommendations are based on your experience. Many different kinds of minerals can be found like apatite, sodalite, rose quartz, and fluorescents.

rockhoundgemboree
Official site: http://rockhoundgemboree.ca/

#7 Quartzsite Gem and Mineral Shows- Quartzsite, Arizona, USA

This event has been an agate licker’s paradise for nearly 50 years. This unique series of mineral shows is held outside and dealers often sell specimens out of their RVs. Quartzsite offers a total of nine show locations with events being held from mid January to late February. These events are great for bartering or swapping of all kinds so bring plenty of trading material if you plan on going! While you are in Arizona for this event, you also may want to check out the many world famous mineral and gem shows in Tucson which happen at the same time.

quartzsite
Website: http://xpopress.com/QZ-show-schedule.html

#8 NY/NJ Mineral Fossil, Gem, and Jewelry Show- Edison, New Jersey, USA

The NY/NJ is the newest out of all the shows in this list but is a true up-and-comer. It is held yearly in Edison, NJ during mid-April and over 300 dealers attend making it the largest current mineral show held in the NYC metro area. There is something for everyone at this show and dealers selling material ranging from very inexpensive to the finest quality are present. Many dealers also have a small selection of locally dugs specimens too. Though the focus is mostly on minerals and fossils, jewelry and lapidary materials are sold in abundance too. The displays at this new show have big hits. They have featured wonderful classic East Coast specimens that have both been dug recently or are of historic importance.

Official Website: http://www.ny-nj-gemshow.com/

#9 Houston Fine Mineral Show- Houston, Texas, USA

The Houston Fine Mineral Show is one of the few major mineral shows that is free to the public to attend. Texas is home to many of the US’ finest recently assembled collections and their collectors, which means the displays at this event are typically some of the best that can be imagined. Dealers at this show typically specialize in fine minerals, meaning their specimens are of very high quality but are often quite expensive. Many of the world’s most advanced collectors visit this show and it serves as an important place for them to meet as well as purchase specimens.

houston
Official Website: http://www.westwardminerals.com/finemineralshow/pages/houston.html

#10 Changsha Mineral and Gem Show – Changsha, Hunan Province, China

China has been cranking out plenty of new specimens over the past two decades so it should not be surprising that mineral collecting is getting extremely popular in this country. This is a new phenomenon; mineral specimen collecting culture is fairly new to China in comparison to other nations. Hunan province, where Changsha is located is home to many mineral specimen producing mines that are currently being worked. This mineral show is very large and growing quickly. It attracts international dealers and may soon become the largest mineral show in Asia. The 2014 show is being held May 15th through 20th.

changsha
Official site: http://www.changsha-show.com/html/en_index/

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UV Light usage in mineral collecting – A Review of a dual band light under $100!

I finally got tired of not having a UV light to use in the field. Years ago I had a nice unit with dual LW/SW and a 12v cigar lighter plug, which worked with lots of portable battery packs and in my car for those nighttime visits to classic UV locations. Sadly, this light was lost and replacing it would be a few hundred dollars.

But, you never know how much you miss something like a good UV light until it is gone. There are just so many things a UV light helps with when checking out minerals. From the visual identification to seeing if a purchased specimen is glued, a good UV light pays for itself, quickly.

I was excited to read about the improvements to UVTools.com handheld Lamp, an all in one unit with a long wave bulb and a strong short wave bulb powered by 6 watts, a decent output, for just under $100. The kit comes with the light, which requires 3D batteries, a sample of minerals to test the light with shortwave and longwave reactive specimens. Safety goggles and a cd rom with study guides and informative literature complete the package, all in all, it gives a great start to any beginner, while the advanced collector will appreciate the power this highly portable hand held unit produces. I found the LW light to be very bright and it made some of the fluorites in my collection to glow bright white/blue. The shortwave light gives a bright reaction, but typically from a distance of no more than 6 inches from the lamp. It will not light up a hillside, or even a whole flat of minerals, but it is perfect for “one on one” specimen viewing.

Below: Photos of the kit, the minerals that came with it and some UV reaction from those specimens.

UV Kit, includes the lamp, 10 mineral specimens, safety glasses and a cd full of information.

UV Kit, includes the lamp, 10 mineral specimens, safety glasses and a cd full of information. Available from http://UVTools.com

Shortwave Photo Sample two Calcite rhombs glowing bright red

Shortwave Light Sample (photo taken with Galaxy S2 Phone)

Longwave Light Sample (photo taken with Galaxy S2 Phone)

Longwave Light Sample (photo taken with Galaxy S2 Phone)

You can purchase this UV Lamp from the manufacture, directly at http://www.ultraviolet-tools.com for $99.99.

There were two interesting things I learned by using this UV light. This agate deposit near my house became that much more interesting when I found out that every single piece of agate glows bright green under shortwave light. That means there is a lot of uranium in the area, which is giving the agate that color. Then, a hill over from that agate deposit, at another agate deposit, the brown crust on some of the agates was determined to be an uncommon variety of feldspar, after it was found that these crystals, in micron size, were glowing bright pink, typical of the species. You might wonder, so what, crusts of brown on agate? Well, the sweet thing is that these agates would now glow three different colors, green, pink and orange, sometimes yellow, as well. Three color rocks are what it is all about, so being able to notice the brown crusty bits on some of the agates helps identify them for further UV evaluation! It should be no surprise, those glowing agates include the local petrified palm root and what I like to call “Manix Lakebed Agate” which is a slurry of reeds, roots, rods and roughage from the lake that got silicated into a variety of translucent gel agate in shades of clear to black with red inclusions to a thick jasper-like layered wad of organics in stripes of black, red, cream and white. All of these organic masses were ripe with uranium! Several uranium deposits dot the mountains to the south, UV light is a great indicator of “hot rocks”!

At WhereToFindRocks.com we give this product our recommendation for best starter kit for novices and backup/handheld for advanced collectors.
Just under $100.00 from a manufacturer who stands behind their product. http://UVTools.com

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This “Living Rock” is as CRAZY as a talking mammal on two legs!

The Ancestors of Us All

By Jeremy Zolan

If you’re friends with scientists, nature lovers, or enthusiasts of everything strange, you may have seen the article Crazy living rock is one of the weirdest creatures we’ve ever seen by Grist making rounds on social media lately. Prominently featured at the top of the article is a picture of said creature, which is actually an ascidian called Pyura chilensis- piure if you speak Spanish, a member of a subphylum called the tunicates. Diverse in color and morphology, these primitive inhabitants of oceans worldwide aren’t part rock, but actually are very close relatives of vertebrates due to their peculiar nervous system. Although they are technically invertebtrates because they have no bones or cartilage, they possess a very primitive spinal cord called a notochord that renders them closer relatives to fish. In the larval stage, most tunicates look like microscopic fish or tadpoles and freely swim until they find substrate to attach themselves. When they do, they change shape into a sessile form with siphons similar to those of clams to feed on plankton in the water column. The tail of the larval tunicate shrinks, the notochord dissolves, and the body becomes enlarged. Some species such as the piure live in colonies of many individuals and some are invasive and have outcompeted native benthic fauna, especially those found in the Mid-Atlantic and New England region.

living_rock_Article

Typical cluster of Pyura clustered together, creating a meaty looking rock.

Pyura Chilensis being served as food

Pyura Chilensis being served as food

Equally as peculiar is the mysteriously high concentration of vanadium found in the tunicates. Vanadium is an unusual but not uncommon metal that exists in many brightly colored oxidation states. Usually, vanadium as the vanadyl cation (vanadium in its 4+ oxidation state double bonded to oxygen) is only necessary as a minor trace element in biology. Tunicates however have up to ten million times the amount of vanadium in their bodies that other living things do. They use it in the form of a vanabin- a vanadyl-protein complex possibly employed for oxygen transport. This is somewhat of a mystery; there is no scientific basis for this because tunicates another oxygen binding metalloprotein as well- hemocyanin, a blue copper containing complex found in many kinds of marine life. It is thought that this molecule could handle all of a tunicate’s needs for oxygen transport. Much research is being done in this field so we may know the answer.

Tunicates are also edible and while you may be unappetized by something that looks like the Horta from Star Trek, many Chileans, Japanese, and Koreans call them dinner. In Korea, they are typically eaten raw as hoe (raw seafood) with seasonings like soy sauce and chogochujang, a spicy chili paste. Koreans do use them in soups, stews and other dishes like bibimbap. In Chile, the rocklike piure are eaten raw with lime or in a soup which is a bit like a Chileno bouillabaisse. Tunicates are quite common on the seashore and though they may look extremely terrifying, in this day of farm to table eating and waste-not want-not ethos surrounding food, why get all squeamish over trying a bit of alien looking seafood?

Pyura_chilensis

Pyura Chilensis cluster

References:

Michibata H, Uyama T, Ueki T, Kanamori K (2002). Vanadocytes, cells hold the key to resolving the highly selective accumulation and reduction of vanadium in ascidians. Microscopy Research and Technique. Volume 56 Issue 6, Pages 421 – 434

Tatsuya Ueki et al (2003). Vanadium-binding proteins (Vanabins) from a vanadium-rich ascidian
Ascidia sydneiensis samea
http://ir.lib.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/metadb/up/74006214/BBA_1626_43-50_2003.pdf

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“liquid-like magnetic flow” found in the mineral Herbertsmithite

Quantum Spin Liquid, a third type of magnetism, was demonstrated in December of 2012 by a team at MIT, in the form of synthetic herbertsmithite. Herbertsmithite is believed to be a two-dimensional quantum spin liquid: a solid material whose atomic spins continue to have motion, even at absolute zero temperature. This exciting research has potential to improve technology, another wonderful scientific advance related to the study of mineralogy. While this form of magnetism is limited to the pure synthetic herbertsmithite, the minerals found in nature are quite interesting in their own right.

We noticed a beautiful example of this rare mineral available on eBay by the seller MineralMan999. This sample shows some big crystals for the typical material.
You can use this link to search for samples of Herbertsmithite on eBay

This uncommon Copper Zinc Hydroxide Chloride named to honor Dr. G. F. Herbert Smith (1872-1953) of the Natural History Museum, London, England, who discovered the mineral paratacamite.

HerbertSmithite Crystals for sale from MineralMan999

Copper Zinc Mineral Herbertsmithite found in natural crystals

Rare Copper Mineral Herbertsmithite in natural form, for sale on eBay

The blog “Nanoscale Views”, written by Douglas Natelson, had the best article about understanding quantum spin liquids in a easy to digest fashion. On the subject of the experiments,

So what did the experimenters do? They grew large, very pure single crystals of herbertsmithite, and fired neutrons at them. Knowing the energies and momenta of the incident neutrons, and measuring the energies and momenta of the scattered neutrons, they were able to map out the properties of the excitations, showing that they really do look like what one expects for a quantum spin liquid.

You can read his entire article HERE

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Glenn Rhein’s Amazing Mineral Discovery in Amity New York

During the Tucson Gem, Rock and Mineral show, we met up with Hershel Friedman to discuss our joint workings on the New York/New Jersey Mineral show exhibit organization. That is, the two of us have selected people to put in collections of minerals from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

While we were going over this subject, we got to talk about how excited we were for Glenn Rhein to show off his mineral finds from his property in Amity, New York. Huge Scapolite crystals, Spinel and all sorts of wild things are being found and will be on display at the NY/NJ show in April 2013.

This video documents the recent discovery of new minerals from Glenn Rhein in the classic locality of Amity, New York, near Warwick. Glenn discovers amazing crystals while excavating on his property, and reaches out to the mineral community for help in figuring out what they are. Glenn then becomes an expert in the deposit and starts finding amazing minerals. Produced and documented by Hershel Friedman of Minerals.net, and filmed by Mark Gilden of Rombus Digital.

Great Video showing the Amazing Finds by Glenn Rheim in Upstate New York!

We hope you enjoyed that video, be sure to share it with your friends. It would even make a great video to show your rock club next time a speaker is unavailable! Thanks to Minerals.net for making this video and promoting a great story! We are looking forward to more videos from minerals.net

Thanks for visiting Wheretofindrocks.com!

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