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2019 Tucson Gem Show Report
Updated March 1, 2019   12:15 PM Eastern
The Strip: Rapa River, River Park, etc
and part 1 of The New Mineral City Show.
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Click here for info on the Georgia Rock shop : The Mineral Gallery in Mcdonough, Georgia. Just South of Atlanta
One of the absolutely legendary parts of the Tucson show is the InnSuites (which like most hotels
there has changed its name. It now goes by "Hotel Tucson/City Center" or HTCC).   The last few years
all I've done was swing by to grab a show T-shirt and pick up a roll of cash.  This year was no different
and I was only there for about 20 minutes.
You'd think that show T-shirts would be a big thing, but few designs are available.  The Marty Zinn
shows have a t-shirt each year and so now I have my 15th one.   This year's shirt is very similar to last
year's shirt.  The theme for the Tucson shows this year was "Wulfenite" and the shirt has wulfenite
from Mexico on it. I did pause to take a picture of a huge opalized ammonite while at HTCC.
Y'all know me --- I'm NOT one to spread no rumours and you didn't hear this from me, but ...........
The word on the street is that 2020 will be the last year for the show at the InnSuites/Hotel Tucson City
Center!  Supposedly, the property has been sold and will have other uses than the current hotel.
I had noticed that really nice buildings were being built on Lester Street and lots of the bigger names
were filling them. This may be just a coincidence but it seemed to me that something was afoot. And
with the news that the old InnSuites venue is going the way of the dinosaurs it makes me wonder what
will replace it.
I made a quick stop to the West side of the I-10 Strip.   The strip has lots of
individual hotel names but from outward appearances it looks to be just one
massive show. Rapa River, Riverpark, Day's Inn and several other names, but I
alway just think of it as "the strip".   As you ride along the service road on The
Strip, it is quite a sight to see. Huge amethyst clusters from Brazil really catch the
The yellow ones are Citrine and the color comes from heat treatment. Most
people aren't aware that the citrine color is not natural. If you look closely, some
that were heated too long have an ugly orange burnt color to them.The outer
portion of the rock is usually painted black.
The amethyst ones are completely natural save for the outside rind being
painted black.
Above: Moldavite at my shop.
Right: Moldavite seen in a Riker Mount display and also a tray for selection.
The nicer pieces cost from $50 for a small one to hundreds for the nicer
ones.  Upper Right: A tray full of small moldavite specimens. The ones
without perfect shapes were very affordable .
There's a few places that I go to
every year for stock for my store.
There's one vendor that has
nothing but MOLDAVITE and has
an entire room full of it.  2 photos
show pictures that I took there at
the moldavite room and one photo
shows them already in place at my
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Below shows how the inner parts of the strip looks.  
Behind the main buildings is a courtyard full of
tents and tables and then more hotel rooms. Each
hotel room has been converted to a show room for
the show. It is a very unusual set-up!  Some of the
rooms are done very nicely and look as good as
any store or shop that you'll ever see!
One part of my Tucson trip that I always look forward to is
eating at La Salsa.  It has been a tradition since my first trip
to Tucson in 2005.   I made my way across town (not an
easy thing to do in Tucson Traffic) and I saw the lighted sign
for La Salsa and it was a beautiful thing.  However, I looked
in and saw empty space. At first I thought they had moved to
the next rental space, but a quick internet search showed
that they had closed all three Tucson locations!
This is incredibly bad news as La Salsa was like no other
restaurant I have ever eaten at.  The sign still being lit was
really cruel!
La Salsa was not just another
random Mexican Restaurant. It
had a very untraditional Mex
menu and a Salsa bar that was
very unique.
2019 saw a new venue open - The Mineral City Show.  It's touted as "a show
for collectors" and that is true enough. But some of the vendors are geared
for wholesale, so buyers shouldn't be discouraged and think that it's JUST for
collectors. There's also a building beside it that has been there a year or two.
It's decidedly wholesale. It's the Sun Gemstone building that has several
vendors with recognizable names.    The pictures below were taken at the new
Mineral City Show.
Eudialyte cabs from the Chibin mine in
Russia (at right). One Seller at the
strip had Russian minerals.
One of the vendors at The Mineral City show, Spirifier Minerals, had really nice cobaltocalcite
crystals (some of which were remarkably transparent!) and also Fluorite Crystals from Mongolia.
This is shown immediately above and below.
I did see a cool T-shirt at one of the
spaces in the Sun Gemstone Plaza.  
They only had one though and it if had
of been my size I'd be wearing it right
now!  It's really clever and only rock
people will get the double meaning
about forming habits.
There was a whole lot to see at the new
Mineral City show and I took too many
pictures to fit on just one page.
The Tucson Show Report continues
Below is a photo of a Rowley Mine Wulfenite that a friend of mine bought
at the show.  It is tiny - smaller than a postage stamp - and has a $500
price tag. Given that wulfenite is incredibly delicate and a miracle to have
been collected in such a perfect state makes the price perfectly
reasonable - and perhaps even a bargain - as the Rowley mine is a
classic American locality for Wulfenite.
Pinnacle 5 Minerals (Sun Gemstone Plaza location)
Behold (!), in all its glory: