China has long been a source of specimens sold at gem, mineral, and fossil shows around the world, including the premiere event here in Tucson. But increasingly, we hear that a new community of Chinese collectors are not only buying their countries specimens, they are scouring the world to buy back some of what was once exported.
In addition, Chinese museum officials and mineral show organizers are in town to promote the 1st China (Changsa) Mineral and Gem Show, scheduled for May this year, and to see how we do it in Tucson. [Right, unidentified Chinese museum official poses by Changsa show poster outside their sales room at the Tucson City Center Hotel show] The Tucson show is specifically identified as a model for the Changsa show.
The Changsa show organizers say the rapidly growing Chinese economy and standard of living has resulted in more than one thousand natural science museums under construction across that country. They report 395 museums opened in China in 2011 alone.
The University of Arizona Mineral Museum is also opening a special exhibit on Chinese minerals next week. Similar China-themed mineral exhibits at the Munich and Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines (France) shows.