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Well, our last day in Tucson was bittersweet. We’re happy to have packed and shipped our merchandise home. Equally, it’s always sad to say goodbye to our friends from other countries.
As there is time before we leave, we looked around for next year – items/vendors we might have missed. There are some of the amazing sights in every show, either center stage or tucked away into various corners.
We leave Tucson with the promise to return – see you next year!
This is our last day of shopping; always a mixed blessing as we know that packing and shipping merchandise awaits us. We’ll see how productive our various contacts and previous searches turn out.
To begin, we returned to the showroom from South Africa and purchased small, polished Pietersite slabs. We hand selected for color and chatoyance. These are spectacular pieces!
We decided to give one last sweep of the ‘Strip’ and scored! A vendor from DR Congo was unpacking their newly-arrived shipment. Malachite pyramids and Chrysocolla/Malachite tumbles joined our packages. Sadly, we learned that malachite is no longer mined. The government is crushing all this beautiful material to extract the copper. Copper mining is one of the revenue streams for this administration/country. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of families are without income as artisans/carvers have no material with which to work.
Close to the ‘Strip’ are various smaller tent shows. As it was still early, we roamed through these, looking for the new or unusual. We found beautiful Drusy Quartz decorator pieces. These light pink specimens are combined with amethyst or tourmaline. Unique and quite gorgeous!
At one of the Australian mineral showrooms, we acquired pyramids made from Serpentine or Lepidolite. The Australian material is different from the South American varieties. Each is deeper in color and variegated with quartz. Very pleasing to the eyes and all the higher senses!
This morning we started by returning to the showroom of a vendor from Peru. Yesterday he had not finished unpacking, so the tumbled Pink Opal was still in the barrel. After picking up this beautiful pink material, we decide to go to a show we had not visited in a few years.
As we drove up, we reminisced about having to ‘tip’ the parking attendant for a spot in bygone years. Today there is plenty of parking; this show is much smaller than in the past. We walked around, chatted with a dealer regarding the altered show, and learned that many of the vendors had moved to a new location. As we walked back to the car, we passed a room with small hearts in rose quart and crystal. During discussions, the gentleman mentioned that his son had the same hearts in other material at the new location. This reinforced our decision to travel to this new wholesale show.
After registering as buyers, we went directly to their booth, where his son was waiting to show us hearts Clear Quartz, Green Aventurine, Rose Quartz, Sodalite, Lapis lazuli, Fancy Jasper, Carnelian, Labradorite, Unakite and, for fun, man-made Goldstone and Bluestone. We also acquired puffy hearts in Howlite and Mookaite. We are delighted by this new contact and promised to return.
Today we continue our quest to find pyramids and new material to bring home. We began with a visit to well-known Peruvian vendors. We were lucky to find hearts made from Angelite and Serpentine. Once again, we learned that their pyramids had been bought out. Is there an unconscious, universal desire for this shape? We have never had this experience in Tucson before. Quite mystifying!
At our next stop, a vendor from India, knowing of our quest, had found and set aside small Lapis lazuli and Clear Quartz pyramids for us. Hallelujah! The Tucson network had come through for us – it’s amazing how small, yet how large, the mineral community can be.
Since we were close to the ‘Strip’, we returned to the area where vendors from Brazil gather. New material had been unpacked. Smoky Quartz points and Smoky Citrine points were added to our treasures. To add to our stock of blades, we purchased a few Blue Kyanite clusters. These stand-ups are a composite of blades, quartz, mica, garnets and tourmaline. A new source of Emeralds was found so these tumbles are again available.
As we crisscrossed the city, we found Cactus Quartz [aka Spirit Quartz or Fairy Quartz] specimens and other items from South Africa, Nuumitt hearts from Greenland, and Obsidian pyramids and tumbles from Mexico. Our searches are finally bearing fruit. We will keep looking for quality, affordable material to bring home.
This day we wandered to the eastern part of the city looking for pyramids and new materials. We were happy to find quality, tumbled Howlite and large Hematite pieces from South Africa. After strolling around this great show, we were frustrated by the scarcity of material appropriate for us. We decided to visit with our friend from Utah, who is funny and knowledgeable of the global mineral community. While enjoying his beautiful Tiffany Stone material, we learned that many buyers were having similar unsatisfying experiences. From Utah, we are bringing back Sandstone slabs, Picasso Marble and Septarian nodule slices and stand-ups.
We continued our search through this show and came across a new vendor from Peru, who sold Palo Santo wood. Following a brief negotiation, we are bringing home a lot of this aromatic incense. This wood has been used for centuries by the indigenous people of Peru as a spiritual tool for purification and cleansings.
After leaving this venue, we crossed town back to the ‘Strip’. Previously we had seen spectacular Epidote-included Quartz from China and wanted to see if the price had come down. Unfortunately, we had to leave these behind… rats!
The weather continues to assist us in this trip – what gorgeous days! This day we wandered to the tent city of Moroccan minerals. After some friendly haggling, we are bringing home Orange and White Selenite products. Everyone is very fierce during negotiations, and smiles breakout after monies have exchanged hands. It’s an interesting experience, interacting with people from other cultures.
Several of the smaller shows from previous years have collapsed and those dealers have flocked to a new venue, making it a premier site for collectors and high-end dealers. We strolled around, looking for merchandise and gawking at incredible specimens. From gold nuggets to fossilized pine cones from Argentina, this show has something for everyone. The pictured Sonoran Sunrise material is composed of chrysocolla (copper silicate mineral with a blue-green color) and cuprite, which has great variations of red!
After leaving this venue, we crossed town to the jewelry showrooms. Every possible design in all stones, cabbed and faceted, can be found here. Jewelry addicts, beware! Here we found a vendor with glass buoys and statues from the South Seas…a very eclectic collection!
Tucson’s weather is fantastic; perfect for trekking around town. We have found superb crystals and minerals. From Madagascar, high quality Raspberry Rose Quartz has joined our bounty. The rich deep rose color is very soothing to the heart. Unfortunately, due to the very limited quantities available, there aren’t any pictures to share. From the same vendor, we purchased Candle Quartz and new clear Quartz Obelisks.
We were fortunate to locate the vendor from Canada and picked up more Fairy Stones, concretions exposed with the seasonal melting of glaciers. As he was just unpacking, we were able to buy from fresh inventory. He is a lovely individual, with a wise and gentle manner. We always enjoy visiting with him.
Most of the Brazilian merchants are just now receiving their shipments. Each pass by their display areas, there is something new to see. It’s been a while since Lepidolite with the right combination of aesthetics and high energy was available. We picked up a flat of this deep purple variety from the Virgem da Lapa in Mina Gerais.
We finally stopped for a late lunch and had a great surprise. A friend we made during our very first trip to Tucson was also having lunch! We had not seen Gene and Barbara for a few years, so it was great to spend time with them. I bought my first crystal in Tucson from him and look what it started!
This has been a day to orient ourselves to the new time zone & relocation of favorite vendors. Not everyone or their merchandise is here yet, so we dedicated ourselves to finding new sources of stones.
We travelled primarily in ‘The Strip’, the original site of the Tucson shows. Merchants from Brazil have brought quartz specimens to dazzle your senses. Here’s a sampling to give you an idea…
As you know, after 20 years, Wild Iris Books will be closing its doors on Dec. 22nd. Early in 2013, Cheryl & Erica’s new venture will begin as the lease has been signed!
In response to numerous inquiries, we wanted to let you know that we will continue to restock the rocks and minerals through the holidays. Afterwards, we can still be reached by e-mail or cell phone, through Facebook and on this blog.