Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Inside a Sunstone

One of our customers sent me these sunstones as a surprise! Thank you Jim! I wanted to get a closer look at what caused the shimmer inside the stone. These are taken with a camera mounted on a microscope:

Information on sunstone:

Purple Rock mystery solved

It's lab-grown, chromium-bearing alum K(Al,Cr)(SO4)2 . 12H2O . The very nice people on the mindat message boards helped me out.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Big Purple Rock

This is the big purple rock I got in Tucson. It was sold as Halite, but after some research I think it might be sylvite? It does dissolve in water, and it tastes salty/bitter (don't try this at home kids!) BUT I can find no images like this on the web any where. Both halite and sylvite usually have cubic crystal formations. It is about 14" x 6 " x 4" Very brittle, streaks white, Any ideas out there?

Friday, March 02, 2007

AKS Gem Shows - LaQuinta and Howard Johnson

These two shows have merged in my brain, and I am not sure which photos are from where! They are right next two each other, and no real clear definition between them...at least not to my rock tired mind. They are both run by AKS.
Outside at La Quinta. I got interesting rock here. It was labeled as halite, but it isn't. I think it is a Russian synthetic amethyst. We saw little piece of it at another show, a little piece of it for $35. I'll try to get a photo of it up here. Whatever it turns out to be..it was a bargain!

Display of rough...please don't drool on the glass.

Giant geode with calcite crystal. The box is about the size of a pizza box and says DO NOT TOUCH...so of course we had to. Boy did we get a dirty look!

A gorgeous stone carving...I love the way the light comes through the wings.Giant fossils (I think they are ammonites?)

Fire opal dealers at the Howard Johnson.Everyone is required to have the picture taken with a giant rock at least once!

Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show (River Park)

The next show we went to was the Pueblo Gem and Mineral show (to add to the confusion, it is also called River Park ) We had lunch at the Bennigans there. We were early and got served very quickly. Maybe a little too quickly, Dev's burger was still mooing. Being the in intrepid rockhound that is he, he ate it anyway. After all.. there were rocks to see!

Two boys show us what the Tucson show is all about! Amazing rocks and enthusiasm! There were several vendors working in their booth. This one is working on a cabbing machine. A cab is a gem or stone that has a smooth domed surface.

There is so much to see. It's hard to know which direction to look first.

Pink Kunzite and aqua...I think!

The gentlemen from Poor Boys Opals out of Australia were very gracious in sharing their knowledge about opals from Lightening Ridge.

This dealer had some wonderful mineral specimens!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Days Inn, Rapa River, River Park

On Day 2 in Tucson, we went to the Days Inn, Rapa River, RiverPark (formerly Pueblo Inn in the morning. Amazing shows and hard to see everything! We actually got there a little early (still on east coast time) and many of the vendors were just starting to open. One funny thing that happened was going to a pearl dealer there. I picked out a few pearls including one neat one that showed the growth patterns. I asked what the total there and of the 4 people standing there, none of them could help me. Turned out the one lady who knew how to price the pearls was still at breakfast. I am not sure of the point of the other "helpers"... oh well, never did get back there for my pearls.

One of the great things about gem and mineral shows is the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Just at this one show we met people from Nigeria, Russia, Thailand, China, Brazil, Afghanistan and more.

Here are some photos from Days Inn:

As with most of the shows in Tucson, this show was both in the rooms, out in tents, and in the "ballroom."

Some gorgeous rock sculptures. I love the way they are inspired by the natural shape and colors of the stone to create these landscapes.

Dev checking out some rough.

An amber dealer's booth.. it was just stunning when the light hit it.
Big ol' hunks of malachite.