Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Denver Gem and Mineral Shows

Renita is always buying newspapers and I am always whining about the money. I mean what good does it do to spend money on something you are going to just throw away, right? So of course she was looking at a newspaper and she found out that the Denver Gem and Mineral shows were being held in Denver from the 15th to the 19th of September.
Seeing as that was during my birthday and seeing as we didn't have enough rocks in our fifth wheel we of course had to make reservations and head to Denver for the shows. Getting online we found a spot at Cherry Creek State Park, in the middle of Denver, Colorado, and although it was expensive we decided to treat ourselves and so reserved the spot.
We arrived early, 30 minutes before check in time and the volunteer in charge was clearly flustered as she said, "Check in time is 12 noon,", and so we waited by our fifth wheel as she and her husband went to the spot, returning to tell us that it was open and we could proceed, but only after telling us again that we were early, talk about anal campground hosts.
Our pull through was actually huge and the spots were far apart from one another. Added to that they had full hookups and great Internet and cell phone service and we felt like we were basking in the lap of luxury!
(It really doesn't take much after spending the summer in the Red Desert).
The shows started the next day and so we left after rush hour and headed to the first shows at the Denver Coliseum. The plan was to attend three shows the first day, two the next, and then the final three, the last two days of our reservations, Of course the plans went out the window the very first day.
We walked into the Denver Coliseum Show and were greeted with rows of tables filled with gems and minerals and miner's ores from all over. Tourmaline and turquoise, jade and jasper, beryl and and beryllium all shone  and glittered and begged us to take them home. Five hours later we staggered out with a four pound piece of rhodonoite and slabs of Missouri hexacoral and Utah Lace Opal. I couldn't believe I had bought more rhodonite.
The next day we were two shows behind our schedule and so we headed back to the Denver Coliseum to check out the tents outside. These tents held the Miners Cooperative show and we hoped to find a few pieces to add to our collection. Five hours later we staggered back to the truck carrying ruby zoicite, Creede sowbelly and ameythystine, riccolite, purple jade and chrysophase. I wondered at our sanity but hey we had actually weighed the fifth wheel and we found we could hold another thousand pounds of rocks before we reach our limit so.......
The third day was the opening of the Denver Gem and Mineral Show at the Denver Merchandise Market. We left early and quickly got stuck in a traffic jam. We arrived just after buses had dumped hundreds of school children and their teachers loose on the show. Oh no not school field trips!
The floor was swarming with the little monsters and we worked our way through table after table of minerals and gems and equipment. I was able to talk with a lady carving fire agate and she had great advice on equipment and suppliers of what I need to get started in  jade carving.
We found a supplier that had the the wire wrapping pliers we had hoped to buy in Albuquerque and even found cases and  tumbler grit at really good prices. Diamond Pacific had a room filled with their equiptment and it was the first time we were able to see side by side comparisons of the three rock grinders and polishers we were hoping to purchase.
Another table had some slabs, slices of rock to make into jewelry, and the lady told me that she had three more boxes full under the table. She invited me to pull them out and look and I had hit the jackpot! Morrisonite, adventurine, Alaska and Canadian jade, tanzanian zoicite, an entire boxfull of slabs all went into my backpack and best of all they were all priced cheap. Renita arrived to see my paying the vender the last of my mad money but it was worth it!
The rest of the day was somewhat of a blur. We saw a gold nugget for sale but passed it as the one hundred thousand dollar price tag was a bit steep for us. Green River Formation ferns beckoned but thirty five thousand wasn"t in the budget. We saw beautiful scrimshaw on mammoth and walrus tusks and sadly saw some obvious fake fossils and mineral specimens, but not too many.
The trip back home was of course and hour long traffic jam and we had given up on attending all the other shows. Our specimen cases are full of beautiful rocks that are crying out to be carved and sawed and ground and polished and we relish getting down to the lapidary shop at the Gulf Coast Gem and Mineral Society.
The last year has been full of learning and we feel lucky to be able to pursue our new dream of rockhounding Clear skies.


  1. Glad you posted a comment on our blog.....was wondering what happened to you I read the explanation. FYI - who ever hacked your old blog never did post.

    Glad to have you "back"!!

    Now I have blog reading to do to catch up !!!

  2. Thank you for visiting our Denver Coliseum Show and helping to make it the most attended of the nine shows in Denver. Our inaugural 2009 show had 65 dealers. This year we had 135, and for 2011 we expect 200 dealers along with lots more improvements as well. Since our booth fees are the lowest in Denver, we attract those smaller dealers with really neat material that otherwise cannot afford to display at the other shows. So your continued patronage is key to their success. Again, thank you for your visit!

    Kind regards,
    Lowell Carhart