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Photos from the 2010 Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase

The World's Largest Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show!

We went to the 56th Annual Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show in February 2010. Held in Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A., it is the largest gem, mineral, and fossil show in the world. There were thousands of vendors and countless fantastic specimens on display and for sale. These photos represent only a tiny glimpse of the many things there were to see.

Welcome to Tucson, Arizona
Tucson gem and mineral show
Welcome to the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase!

Fossils in the Hotel Tucson Ballroom
Triceratops skull
Dinosaur fossils and replicas were exhibited and sold by several vendors at the Hotel Tucson.

Amethyst Geodes From Uruguay
Amethyst geodes from Uruguay
There were lots of amazing amethyst geodes. Some of the pieces weighed over a ton, but there were plenty of pocket-sized specimens, too. These were recovered from Catalan basalt at La Veronica tunnels, near Artigas city, Uruguay.

Impressive Black Hills Fossils
Black Hills fossils
The Black Hills Institute of Geological Research had a big display, with large fossils, models, and books. The giant sloth fossil in the background was enormous!

Overhead View: Tucson Convention Center
Tucson convention center
At the Tucson Convention Center, there were hundreds of booths.

Mineral Paintings by Wendell E. Wilson
Mineral paintings
One of the artists on display was Wendell E. Wilson. Paintings shown here (clockwise from top left): Hilltop Wulfenite, Groundhog Mine Gold, Ray Copper, The Bancroft Rhodochrosite, and 79 Mine Wulfenite.

Mineral Specimens for Sale
Mineral specimens for sale
These are just a few of the many, many mineral samples at the Tucson Convention Center. Hundreds of different minerals were available for purchase, in a vast array of sizes, qualities, and prices. Specimens ranged in price from under a dollar to over $100,000!

Tourmaline with Quartz and Cleavelandite
There were also minerals from private collections on exhibit, like this specimen of tourmaline with quartz and cleavelandite from the Robert Lavinsky Collection. It came from the Pederneira Mine of Minas Gerais, Brazil. (The clear base is 7 inches wide.)

Trilobite Fossils
Trilobite fossils
Trilobite fossils were extremely popular. Specimens were on exhibit and for sale from many parts of the world, ranging in length from a few millimeters to nearly a meter.

Gemstone Mine from Murfreesboro, AR
Gemstone mine
We visited The "Happy Prospector" Gemstone Mine outside, where kids (and grown-ups!) could get a container of sand and rock to sift in a sluice, and keep whatever was found. Lucky prospectors could even find a diamond hidden in the sand; on the afternoon we stopped by, six people had already found diamonds. The Happy Prospector is based out of Murfreesboro, Arkansas - the home of Crater of Diamonds State Park, which has the only mine in the world where visitors can hunt for diamonds and keep what they find.

More Amazing Mineral Specimens
Amazing minerals
The number of amazing fossils, gems and minerals seemed infinite. These were brought to the show by Western Minerals, Tucson.

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Giant Amethyst Geodes
Huge amethyst geodes
Huge geodes greeted visitors at the Hotel Tucson City Center. From Uruguay: at their longest dimension, this amethyst geode pair measured about 3 meters (9 feet)!

Fossil Fish
Fossil fish
Ulrich's Fossil Gallery brought fossil fish and palm fronds from the Green River Formation of Wyoming.

Fine Mineral Specimen Display
Fine mineral specimens
These fine mineral specimens were on display and available for purchase in the exhibit halls. Although priced for the most serious and wealthy collectors, their beauty was free for all to see.

Gem and Mineral Vendors, Exhibits, and Art
Tucson convention center
In addition to the vendors, there were collectors' displays, exhibits, and many pieces of interesting artwork.

Gem and Mineral Photography: Mike Woodward
Gem and mineral photography
Mike Woodward Photography had a booth with lots of colorful art for sale. Subjects of his photographic image prints include ammonites, jasper, charoite, labradorite, tiger's-eye, tiger iron, radiolarite, pietersite, various agates, meteorites, and thunder eggs.

Some Valuable Mineral Specimens
Valuable mineral specimens
More delicate or valuable mineral specimens were protected with glass cases. A few items had their own armed guards.

Equipment For Lapidary Artists
Faceting machine
There were also supplies and equipment for lapidary artists, such as this faceting machine from Ultra Tec. Facets are created by grinding the edges of a gemstone on the abrasive disc, or lap.

Calcite Exhibit
Here is an educational calcite exhibit, showing samples of calcite in many different forms.

Prospecting for Gemstones
Gem prospecting
The treasures we found at the "mine" included tiger's-eye, jasper, aventurine, sodalite, rose quartz, agate, rhodonite, some shark teeth, a stone arrowhead, fossilized crinoid segments, and more.

See You Next Year!
Hotel Tucson Courtyard
A person could stay in Tucson, AZ for several weeks and still not see everything here at the world's largest gem, mineral and fossil show. It's really something spectacular, so mark your calendars now if you're thinking about attending next year's show!

More information about the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase

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