The Tucson Gem Show 2019: A Venture Into The Metaphysical

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At the annual Tucson gem and mineral show they call it natural design; the monolithic marvels of rock crystal, vast quartz pillars and purple chevron amethyst caves, so large your fingers get icy the further inside you venture, which dot the desert landscape for a few weeks each February. Trunks of petrified wood arrive by pick up truck driven through rock-strewn acres of cacti to be shown in tents, pueblos and even motel bedrooms, alongside dinosaur bones, ancient fossilised squid, ammonites, with the odd piece of “dino poop” and meteorites dropped from outer space. This is the spiritual home of hippies and rock hounds - clichéd but true, they do wear cowboy hats over pony tails, who are dealing small pieces of natural wonder, rubbing shoulders with the metaphysical brigade seeking an endorphin dump from rough hewn pieces pulled directly from the earth. Renowned Navajo Indian jeweller Jesse Monongya is here looking at rock crystal while a team from Washington’s Smithsonian Institute eye up the largest nugget of American turquoise on record to add to their National gem and mineral collection, and a rough yellow spodumene, which is kunzite to you and me.
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