TUCSON, Never Twice the Same: Those of us who have been going to Tucson for decades will vouch that the experience changes every year. New satellite shows pop up, old ones disappear. Favorite dealers move locations, whole shows move. Treasured friends are missing, new friends surface. One year the specimen market has an abundance of “new stuff” that's affordable, the next the “what's new” grapevine is strangely silent, and collectors are hard-pressed to find anything they can't live without that's in their price range. And so it goes. But one thing never changes, the so-called Main Show, the mighty Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®, acclaimed as the world's biggest and best, is still the hub around which all else revolves.
Although the faithful will start gathering in the city at least a month earlier for all the related activities, dates for the 2017 Main Show are 9–12 February, the Tucson Convention Center is the place, and this year's show theme is Mineral Treasures of the Midwest.
Mineral Treasures of the Midwest, theme of the 2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®, 9–12 February.
That theme is also the focus of this issue. The challenge was to provide coverage of all sixteen states the Tucson show committee included in its definition of “Midwest”: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin (whew!). The goal of the issue was to cover new topics, not repeat subjects we've explored in the past, such as Michigan's Copper Country and Illinois fluorite. Even so, there was a daunting amount of territory to cover, literally, so much so that some of the articles will spill over into later issues, beginning with March/April.
Two articles in the issue consist of annotated lists, one of Midwest museums with mineral and fossil exhibits, the other of Midwest places of geological interest. These offer but a sampling and are not intended to be all-inclusive, so a word of caution: your favorite haunts may not be included.
SAVE THE DATES: Before the Main Show opens, leading the parade of events is the twenty-fourth annual Mineral Madness Showcase and Sale held at Tucson's Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, on Kinney Road, the weekend of 14–16 January. In addition to seeing the museum's mineral collection, recognized as one of the most comprehensive regional collections in the world, visitors can make purchases at the marketplace where bargain hunters, from novice to serious collectors, will find specimens starting for as little as $1. Free jewelry-making demonstrations will run each day, and fun family-friendly activity stations, located throughout the museum grounds, include a Mineral Matching Game, Crystal Origami, and Ride through the Rock Cycle. At each station children can collect a free rock or mineral specimen in their own egg-carton collection box.
On Friday, 3 February, the University of Arizona Mineral Museum in the Flandrau Science Center, is hosting an invitation-only (because of space limitations) reception beginning at 5 P.M. The popular event traditionally includes refreshments, a special exhibition around a theme with an invited exhibitor, and a prominent speaker. This year that theme will be jewelry and gemstones, with Somewhere in the Rainbow, a nonprofit jewelry exhibit and education group, providing the displays. Among other dazzling pieces, will be the past twenty years of Spectrum award-winning jewelry designs. The exhibition continues for a year.
Coming up next, on Saturday, 4 February, David Waisman's Fine Mineral Show at the Westward Look Resort, on Ina Road, presents its annual Collector's Day in the resort's lobby, this year showcasing the collection of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, of Hillsboro, Oregon. Museum Director Julian Gray and Curator Leslie Moclock will be on hand to talk with visitors. Center stage will be the museum's famed Alma Rose rhodochrosite, from the Sweet Home mine in Colorado. The following evening, 5 February, is the show's Sunday social (beginning at 6:30) and program in the Sonoran Ballroom, featuring a well-known speaker. Another of the evening's highlights is the presentation of the American Mineral Heritage Award, established by the Mineralogical Record.
On display for Collector's Day, 4 February, at the Westward Look Resort will be the glorious Alma Rose, rhodochrosite with calcite, quartz, fluorite, and tetrahedrite from the Sweet Home mine, Alma, Park County, Colorado. The 46.5-cm-high specimen is in the collection of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. Jeff Scovil photo.
The Hotel Tucson City Center, home of Martin Zinn's Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show, on Granada Avenue and St. Mary's, will also be hosting special activities, but details are unavailable at this time. Information will be in the show's printed program.
Another hotel, the Riverpark Inn Hotel, site of the Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show, on South Freeway Road, has scheduled its seventh annual series of evening talks by prominent mineralogists. On Saturday, 4 February, will be a celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Fersman Mineralogical Museum in Moscow, Russia. Speakers will be Mineralogical Almanac cofounder and photographer Dr. Michael Leybov and Museum Director Dr. Pavel Plechov. On Monday, 6 February, Dr. Michael Wise, of the Smithsonian Institution, and Dr. Al Liebetrau, of the Fluorescent Mineral Society, will be featured. The talks are preceded by a courtyard reception on both nights.
LOOK FOR ROCKS & MINERALS: We'll be set up with a booth at three locations: the Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show in the Hotel Tucson City Center, 28 January–7 February; the Sunday evening program at the Westward Look Show, 5 February; and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®, 9–12 February.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks are extended to the authors in this special Midwest issue, to William Besse for preparing several maps, and to the photographers for kindly providing so many wonderful photographs.
Laura Delano of LLD Productions, Inc. underwrote color costs associated with the Museum Notes column. The Houston Gem and Mineral Society, in memory of Arthur E. Smith, and the Cincinnati Mineral Society did the same for the Connoisseur's Choice column. Donors to the Color Fund and to the Dallas Symposium's benefit auction, held this past August, contributed toward color in the remaining articles and also toward the additional pages of editorial content in this issue. All are thanked for partnering with Rocks & Minerals to enhance the publication with color photography and extra pages.