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January-February 2016

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Introduction to Tucson 2016: Shades of Blue—Minerals of the World

WHAT IS IT THAT INITIALLY ATTRACTS CHILDREN, OR EVEN ADULTS, TO THE MINERAL COLLECTING HOBBY? Likely they saw a compellingly beautiful specimen, and they were hooked. Oftentimes it is the magic of crystal shape or perhaps an intense color. If color, then it was likely a blue mineral. So, here we are in Tucson contemplating the Blues. No, not the music but the color of some of our favorite minerals and gems—the dramatic blues of rare minerals such as carletonite (see Connoisseur's Choice in this issue) or caledonite; the gotta-have blue of azurite; the gemmy blue of sodalite; the soft blues of turquoise; and the expensive blue of sapphire. It is these “blues” and an array of hundreds if not thousands of other blue minerals and gems that comprise the theme of this year's Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. This deviation from the more traditional “minerals of (insert a place name)” or of a particular species is a pleasant change of pace and designed to bring to light unusual exhibits, old dealer stock, and attractive gem-oriented items. 

Dr. Robert B. Cook, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor emeritus in the Department of Geology and Geography at Auburn University.       

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