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2015 TGMS Awards

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®

  • Best Master/Best in Show: Jim and Charelle Webb
  • Best Advanced: Angela Cannon
  • Best Junior-Master: Harris Kaminski
  • Best Junior: Kaleigh Brown

Best of Theme

  • Thumbnail - Jaye Smith/Bill Lawrence Collection
  • Toenail - Tim Sherburn
  • Miniature - Sue Liebetrau
  • Small Cabinet - Robert Thacker
  • Cabinet - Brent Lockhart
  • Lapidary/Jewelry - Ed & Aleta Huskinson

Special Trophies

  • Bideaux (Best Arizona Specimen) - Irv Brown
  • Lidstrom (Best Single Specimen) - Barry Kitt
  • Desautels (Best Case) - Barry Kitt
  • Romero (Best Mexican Mineral) - Gail Spann
  • Clayton & Betty Gibson Memorial - Smithsonian Institute
  • Bill & Millie Schupp Memorial - Jim Bless (Terry Leadford Memorial Exhibit)


MicroMineral Room

2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®

February 12 -15, 2015

MicroMineral Room - located in the Galleria of the Tucson Convention Center


A new experience was added to the 2014 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show ™.  In collaboration with the Annual Arthur Roe Memorial Micromount Symposium, a full-time MicroMineral Room was added.  This room up on the Galleria level provided a place for mincromineral collectors to gather and trade, share, and purchase micromineral specimens.  The enthusiastic response convinced the volunteers that the room should be continued as an integral part of the Show.  An interactive educational exhibit was well received by young and old alike.

The club will be hosting the room again for the 2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®. There will be microscopes setup in the room through the duration of the Show, except during the Arthur Roe Memorial Micromount Symposium.  Some of the members will have microminerals for sale and there will be lots of giveaway micromineral material available to either start or enhance your micromineral collection.


Last year there was non-stop activity in the room.  There were kids getting their first experience to long time collectors. There was a friendly atmosphere and there was always something to look at.  If you need a break from all the hustle and bustle of the show, come over to the micromineral room and take a look through the scope.

Photos by: Ron Gibbs

Why Minerals of Western Europe?

Why Minerals of Western Europe?

Although many of our shows (Alpine Minerals, Quartz, Fluorite, Silver etc.) have included species found in the countries of Western Europe, we have never focused directly on the “Cradle of Mineralogy” …another way of looking at our 2015 “Minerals of Western Europe” theme.  Modern mineralogy was born there and probably half (or more) of all the mineral species ever described come from this region, plus the geologic diversity is enormous, so this show should stand out as being among the most mineralogically varied ever.  Modern mineral collecting was also born in Western Europe, so there will be a number of exhibits featuring historic figured specimens, specimens from historic collections incorporated into major museums scattered throughout the world, and perhaps more type specimens than ever exhibited at Tucson before. Add to this a host of mining and mineralogical artifacts, mineral specimens exchanged between the crowned heads of Europe (many of whose collections survive as the nucleus of major national museums), exquisite carvings from Idar-Oberstein, and some of the earliest Mineralogy books published,  and you may actually risk reaching mineral saturation!

Many have asked how we define Western Europe.  We decided to eschew politics (especially modern) and took a quasi-geologic perspective in our definition (see map courtesy of Bill Besse).  We started mid-continent with the western border of Russia (our theme back in 2001) and going from there to the edge of the European Plate in all directions.  (Remember, the eastern limit of the European Plate is the Ural Mountains, so the geographic balance is pretty close to even. And since the Mid-Ocean Ridge runs right through Iceland, specimens from eastern Iceland are welcome but western Icelandic minerals grew in the North American Plate and therefore don’t count!)  This encompasses everything from the complex ore minerals from the ancient mines in the eastern mountains to the nearly modern zeolites of eastern Iceland; and from the active volcanoes of the Mediterranean to the ancient metamorphic terranes of Scandinavia.  Many will think first of classics like Kongsberg Silver; Chessy Azurite; Pennine and Spanish Fluorite; Sicilian Sulfur; Alpine Gwindels and Epidote; Freiberg Silvers, Sulfides and Sulfosalts; Elba Elbaite; and Cornish Arsenates…and all will be well represented.  But so will more modern finds like Norwegian Anatase; Golden Swedish Calcite; Les Farges Pyromorphite; Madan Galena, Spanish Pyrites; Serifos Prase; Strzegom, Burg and Rogerley Fluorite; Trepca Bournonite; Belgian Calcites; and Panasquiera Apatites. This just scratches the surface and there are sure to be surprises, like specimens from the Faroe Islands or Monaco…and perhaps even Grand Fenwick!

So whether you pay for your ticket to get here in Pounds, Francs, Crowns, Dollars, Yen, Yuan, Pesos or Euros, we take great pleasure in presenting a mineralogical smorgasbord that should leave you certain you got your money’s worth.   And the weather should be nice as well!

Peter Megaw                                                                                                                                2015 Special & Guest Exhibits Chair                                                                                  

Manganite: Photo by Mark Mauthner



October TGMS Field Trip

TGMS Member Post: Kerry Towe

On Saturday, October 25th, four TGMS members traveled to the Carlyle mining district for a field trip. Merritt Simmons led the trip. Merritt and his mother have collected quartz crystal, agate jasper, chalcedony and fire agate in this area for years.

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We met in Lordsburg, New Mexico and then proceeded north to Duncan. From there we took the Carlyle road to the mining area. The first site we visited was accessed by following the Imperial Mine road. We parked near the Imperial Mine and searched there for quartz crystals and jasper. The nicest piece found was a druzy quartz covered piece of Rhyolite.

Near the Imperial Mine was a very old gold mine with an outstanding head frame and the remains of the ore processing tables and storage facilities. The pictures show how very old and scenic the mining area remains. We do not know the name of this old mine. It was a lot of fun to explore.

From there we traveled on the Carlyle road again toward the Carlyle Mine. In a saddle above the Carlyle Mine we stopped and proceeded on foot a short distance to the quartz crystal collecting site where Merritt has collected numerous times. The host rock is a very hard and cavity filled Rhyolite. Extracting the crystals requires hard work and time but we were rewarded with excellent results.

The quartz crystals are clear and often amethyst tipped and quite remarkably shaped. Perhaps the best piece collected by Bruce Kaufman was a rose quartz barbell extending above the matrix on a single clear crystal. This crystal exhibited excellent pseudosymmetry.

This pocket was lined with a pure white calcite over quartz. We spent the rest of the day breaking into these cavities and removing very fine specimen material. After a long and productive day, we drove back to Lordsburg where we all met at the Kranberry Restaurant for dinner and spent a couple of hours relaxing and discussing future trips to the area.

NEW MicroMineral Room

Arthur Roe Memorial Micromount Symposium & the NEW MicroMineral Room 

Member Post: Mark Ascher, Photography: Ken Don & Ron Gibbs

This year there was something new at the Show. In addition to the annual Arthur Roe Memorial Micromount Symposium, there was a room open throughout the Show dedicated to microminerals, except during the micromount symposium talks. There will be more on the room following a summary of the symposium.

The day of the symposium microscopes were set up in the Turquoise Ballroom early in the morning and visitors started gathering right away. At ten o’clock the talks started with a total of three speakers.

The first speaker was Maureen Campeau from Simkev Micromounts who presented “Micromounts - pulchritudo in parvitas - beauty in smallness. From the naked eye to .25mm.” The talk was a collection of photographs from the presenter’s collection of micromounts. There was a wide variety of species and localities presented.

The second speaker was John Koivula who is the chief research gemologist at the Gemological Institute of America. He presented “The MicroWorld of Diamonds.” The talk focused on inclusions in diamonds and the various ways they present themselves. The talk featured a spectacular array of photos and was delivered very engagingly.

The final speaker of the day was Van King, a well known collector and author, who presented “Microminerals of Franklin -Ogdensburg, New Jersey.” The title summarizes the talk very well. Van King is presently working on a book on the minerals of Franklin-Ogdensburg and has started taking photographs of specimens for the book. He presented several of the photos he plans on using and made a call for additional pieces that could be photographed for inclusion in the book.

Following the talks, the giveaway tables were opened and people started gathering around the scopes trading specimens and talking "rocks."  The giveaway tables were not as richly populated as they normally are because some material was needed for the MiroMineral room.

In the room there were microscopes set up for visitors to use. There were tables with giveaway material that was frequently updated with fresh supplies. Club members were allowed to sell microminerals in the room with 20% of the sales going to the club. Through this arrangement, approximately $500 was given back to the club from the micromineral sales.

There was also a display in the Galleria to show off microminerals and allow members of the micromount group to engage the public in our aspect of the hobby. Many kids and adults alike were taken by the beauty they could see through the microscope. There was also an electronic picture viewer that rotated through photographs of micomounts.

The micromount symposium and micromineral room were very successful from the perspective of the organizers. The micromount group plans to work this year to make improvements on the room and to get the word out about it for next year's Show. 


Southern Arizona Research, Science & Engineering Foundation Awards

Member Post: Anna Domitrovic

When we think of March Madness, we think of basketball finals. But for TGMS, it can also mean another year to judge at SARSEF. We’ve always known it as the Southern Arizona Regional Science & Engineering Fair, but that’s not the 501(c)3 non-profit associated with the fair. SciEnTek-12 held that distinction. It was re-named last year and is now the Southern Arizona Research, Science & Engineering Foundation. So now SARSEF can mean two things. And not only does TGMS judge at the Fair, but we are also sponsors who contribute to the Foundation.

Another noticeable change this year was the absence of Jack Johnson, founder and long-time presence during the week-long fair activities. Unfortunately, we lost Jack last year. But his legacy lives on, not only as fond memories, but with the addition of the Jack Johnson Founder’s Scholarship Award, presented for the first time this year during the Awards Ceremonies.

What hasn’t changed is TGMS’s participation in judging and presenting awards. This year’s judges included Janet Reue (back after a year’s sabbatical), returning judge Jim McGlasson and “yours truly.” This year’s winning projects came from the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades.

Caleb Rasor, our 2nd grade winner, looked at cave formations in a bit of a different way. His project, “Stalactites - Caving in Your Own Kitchen”, measured water capillarity using two different threads - cotton and acrylic - and related that to stalactite formation. Caleb goes to Ironwood Elementary and his teacher is Lori Witkowski. 

“Rocks of the Rainbow” got our nod from 4th grader Charles Copenhaver. He questioned whether color in rocks and minerals was related to the elevation at which they were found. He concluded that there was no relation, but the idea was certainly an interesting one. Charles attends Robert Richardson Elementary school and his teacher is Michelle McWilliams.

Fifth grader Audrey Knowlton’s project, “Ready, Set, Drip!” wasn’t just a winner for us. Several other organizations recognized the quality of the work that went into her project. Audrey wondered which grew fastest, stalactites or stalagmites, and assumed it was the latter. Using different mediums in a short period of time, she grew stalactites stalagmites. Audrey is home-schooled by her mother Karen.

Finally, Vail 6th grader Matthew Fosdick, taught by Kelly Johnson, determined that, indeed, “Thar’s Zircons in Them That Hills!” He wanted to prove that the sand in Sabino Canyon came from the Santa Catalina Mountains by examining the minerals in the rocks above to see if they also occurred in the sands below. He tried garnets (sand rubies) first, but couldn’t find enough in the rocks to prove his point. But he found that zircons occurred in both places and could date them with equipment he had access to at the U of A. 


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TGMS President Diane Braswell represented TGMS at the honors ceremony on April 9, where regional professionals and SARSEF judges can mix with student project awardees. It’s always a good feeling to be recognized by an organization we’ve been associated with for at least 40 years. I’ve always encouraged TGMS members to get involved with this worthwhile endeavor and I’ll continue to do it for as long as I am judging team leader. So, why not join us? Look for the addition of SARSEF under Community Outreach on your membership application, and let us know you want to be a part of the Fair next year.

Show Recap - 2014 - Exhibits Chair

What a Show!

The new layout, spiffy new-style dealer booths, carpeting, the Umbrellas of Cherbourg (nice touch Linda!) ... all topped by the new exhibit cases that shone almost as well as their contents... led to effusive and non- stop compliments from set-up to strike. Have to start by thanking the 136 museums and private collectors who once again brought the kind of quality exhibits that set our show apart and helped our 60TH Show set a new high-water mark even for TGMS. A number of long-time exhibitors mentioned that they like the new cases so much they are going to have to bring even better exhibits next year to do the cases justice! Several “once and future” exhibitors asked to be sure they’re on the invitation list for next year since they can see they want to be part of a whole new era in the TGMS Show. Get your requests for cases for 2015 in now ... space will fill up fast and we'd love to have more member exhibits. 

Diamonds, gold, silver and gems galore twinkled from the new cases and (almost) rendered the hard work of case preparation and lining invisible. Kudos to Wayne Klement, Robert Crowell and Elaine Hughes and their hard-working case-lining and construction teams who worked hard to put our new cases into service both at Arizona Cine and the TCC. This included TGMS stalwarts Bob Melzer, Dave Arens, Alrene Hibben, Don and Sue Feyrer, Jeannette and Bob Barnes, Jan Reue, Janet and Ted Rupp, Anneliese and Jerrold Foley, Donna Pugh, Deborah Alderman, Dave and Barb Witwer, Mark Marikos, Bette Powell ,Sarah Day, Mike Braswell, Ellen Alexander and Richard Nassi. 

TGMS President Diane Braswell and Show Chair Paul Harter pitched in too. Special thanks go out to Wayne’s hard-working brother Larry, Don Morin, Twink Monrad, ... all non-members who rolled up their sleeves and gave a lot of their time! (We’ll have to see about modifying that non-TGMS status!). A number of these folks were pivotal to the process from construction to lining to final strike ...thank you all ... and thanks (and an apology) to any others who I am overlooking in my post-TGMS fatigue. 

It was a tough job making all those new liners ... and hoping they’d all fit right! With no inventory to fall back on it was fortunate most exhibitors paid attention to the fact their old liners wouldn’t work and made new ones. (Imagine! reading the instructions! Guess there’s a first time for everything.) The new case design made putting in liners and risers incredibly fast, easy and secure (the only liners I saw falling over were folks who had skimped on the height so they missed the groove) and lots of exhibitors praised being able to focus on their rocks rather than fooling with setting their case up. 

I can’t remember a move-in ever going so smoothly ... getting in early and having a little extra time helped immensely. Thanks to Linda, Lee, Kirstin, Bre and their entire Arizona Cine team for building the best looking show ever, despite all the changes and upgrades. And, as always, thanks to all the friendly TGMS volunteers who make folks feel welcome ... and eager to return.

John and Nancy Howard get major credit for volunteer coordination with thanks to their entire team: Don and Sue Feyrer, Jeannette and Bob Barnes, Herb Ross, David Clement, Donna Pugh, Karyl Lynch, Dave Cormier, Bob and Yvonne Lind, Bob O’Donnell, Mike Hollonbeck, Tim McClain, Bob Morgan, Bob Kerr, Dana Cote, Madison Barkley and Barb Muntyan. Special thanks to my trouble-shooters Steve Slaff, Erick Weiland, Ron Pellar, Bill Besse, and Jaye Smith! (Anyone notice that the same names keep turning up? ... operators are standing by to help put yours among them!)

As always, security was excellent thanks to Pat and TPD. It’s a testament to what a good time our Show is that the TPD officers compete to work our Show ... and it’s a real joy to see Officer Mark Evanoff rattling off the story of the diamond tiaras in the Smithsonian- centric focus pod. I think he learns more than anyone else at our show ... except the folks guided through the exhibits by Ellen's docents.

No show follow-up report could be complete without once again recognizing the hard work Pat and Rose put in year-round to make our Show the Best! Rose’s attention to detail keeps the invitations going out right year after year ... and saves me from much embarrassment on set-up! I’d be lost (or at least working a whole lot harder) without her. And it’s impossible to say enough about Pat’s tireless (well almost ... after six weeks of 18 hour days she does start to show fatigue around Saturday night) work on each and every aspect of the Show. Anyone who thinks it’s “just a job” to them is not paying attention!!! Next time you see them let them know how much you appreciate all they do for TGMS.

Again, thanks to all ... catch your breath ... get some sleep, and let’s do it again ... it’s FUN!

Peter Megaw
Special/Guest Exhibits Chair 


Show Recap 2014

2014 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show®

Member Post: Paul Harter

February 13-16, 2014 will be remembered by all as a truly great weekend. Like every significant anniversary, 60 years was marked by glamour, excitement, new features and so much more. Planning for this Show started several years ago. But, before getting to the Show, let us reflect on those who preceded the current participants. The intrepid few who organized the first show and then said, “Let’s have a second Show” must be commended. Without their commitment in the infancy of the Tucson Gem and Mineral ShowTM, this year’s success would not have been possible. Our hats are off to those whose vision has now become the greatest gem and mineral show.

A second and personal thought before writing about the Show is to express to the TGMS Board and Officers my appreciation for their support, not just this year but the past four years. Without that support the success would not have been possible. The Board asked the Show Committee to focus on minerals and exhibits. In return the Show Committee asked the Board to “open its wallet” and did it ever. Thank you.

Now, on to the Show! The first thing everyone noticed was a new look about the Show, floor to ceiling. For years there has been carpet in the Arena and this year carpet was added to the Ex-Hall. The ceiling was “lowered” with 500 white umbrellas. Both of these helped to give the Show a new look, decreased noise and help everyone’s tired feet. Perhaps it is what was between floor and ceiling that was most significant: 120 new exhibit cases with LED lights. This new look was the talk of not only the Show, but the exhibitors who out did themselves this year. The exhibits were some of the best ever presented; from the glamour of the Cartier diamond bandeau exhibited by a new participant, Somewhere In the Rainbow, to the heartbreaking exhibit of gold recovered from a safe deposit box destroyed at the World Trade Center. (More in Peter’s report on the exhibits and other musings.)

The dealers also stepped up to enhance the Show. Collector’s Edge Minerals, Inc. celebrated its 30 year anniversary with a stunning booth and display of minerals. And, so many others presented their goods and wares in a most attractive manner. The success of these efforts was evident by seeing so many bags and boxes being carried around the Show floor. The reports I have received lead me to conclude the Show was a financial success for the dealers.

But wait, there was more to the weekend. The ancillary activities are another reason this Show is the best: education for youth, world renowned speakers, professional society meetings, competition, national and international awards, sharing of knowledge and information, renewing and beginning friendships and so much more. None of this is possible without the help of so many of you. Before the Show began, during the Show and after the Show I expressed my thanks to those who gave so much. Please again accept my thank you to each of you for your commitment to the Tucson Gem and Mineral ShowTM. Without your help none of this success would be possible.

This Show is so much more than just gems and minerals, sales and exhibits. It is an opportunity for people, your friends and neighbors to experience our passion. This year the paid attendance was over 18,600 and that does not even count the 2000+ school kids and chaperones. Thank you to all of the media who out did themselves with coverage and to each person who walked through the doors.

We will again gather February 12-15, 2015 for the 61st annual Tucson Gem and Mineral ShowTM. The Show will feature “Minerals of Western Europe.” Please start thinking now about the next iteration for each of us wants it to exceed all previous Shows. A large task, yes; an impossible task, no. So in closing, tighten your belt and get ready for another great ride.

Paul Harter
2014 Show Chairman