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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.

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)!

Welcome to Tucson, Arizona
Tucson gem and mineral show

Welcome to the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase!


Fossil Fish
Fossil fish

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

Fossils in the Hotel Tucson Ballroom
Triceratops skull

Dinosaur fossils and replicas were exhibited and sold by several vendors at the Hotel Tucson.

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.

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.

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.

Overhead View: Tucson Convention Center
Tucson convention center

At the Tucson Convention Center, there were hundreds of booths.


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.

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.

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.

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!

Equipment For Lapidary Artists
Faceting machine

There were 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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Calcite Exhibit

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

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.

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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