Saturday, February 02, 2008

Opening day of Tucson Gem Showcase

The Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase opened today with nearly 50 separate shows across the city. The snapshots here are mostly from the Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show, which is spread across four venues.

Many dealers were still unpacking and setting up their displays. The parking lots are were filled everywhere we went.

Each year there seems to a few new spectacular fossils that everyone is selling. This year what caught my attention are the giant crinoids - single ones like to the right - and slabs with dozens on them, like at the bottom of this posting. I've never seen any this big before (but I don't get out much either).

For anyone who hasn't been to this show before, what's amazing is the scope and size of it. Hundreds of vendors set up shop in parking lot tents, in motel rooms, and warehouses. Walk through the Inn & Suites or the Days Inn just down from our offices and it's like stepping into another world of street bazaars. Brazilian amethyst sellers next door to Russian meteorites, next door to Moroccan fossil dealers and right on down the list of every country that has rocks. The German dealers in Solnhoffen fossils get my vote for the best conversion of a Ramada Inn motel room into a high-end gallery. It was too jammed to see it all and, no photos, so I honored their request and didn't shoot anything there.

Photos below:

Ramada Inn becomes a mini-mall.

Small trilobites, big trilobites, lots of trilobites.

Fossil weevil coccoons from Australia! Who knew such things even existed? The perfect present for that special someone??

A motel room hosts their first sidewalk sale.

Rows of crates hold Brazilian amethyts and geodes.

Fossils of everything from everywhere including crates of Cretaceous crabs.

Moving out the motel bed makes room for a pair of beautiful mammoth tusks.

And a gaggle of wavering amethysts look like rubberneckers waiting for the light to change.

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