Lexi at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show

What do you have when you have a group of friends from all over the country, a free 7-day schedule, (which is rare!) great weather and 10 large venues for looking at rocks, fossils, cabochons and beads?

You have a Gooooooood Tiiiiiiime!

Well, dear jewelers, that was last week at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, the second largest gem show and sale in the country, right after Tucson. If Tucson seems a bit overwhelming, and believe me, it is, then Denver is the show for you. Let me explain a bit.

The Denver is smaller in the number of booths and venues, but nothing is missing…there is a great sampling of all the best that Tucson has to offer. And what the cutters buy in Tucson in February are showcased at the Denver show…so you see them first there. That’s a good enough reason, but wait, there’s more!

The show opens at the Denver Coliseum with tents full of fabulous stuff…

from barrels and tables of slab you can cut yourself to beautiful cabs, exotic beads, gigantic geodes you can stand in, sinks made of fossils, and sheets (Yes, bed sheets). I got two great cabs from John Heusler, (slabstocabs.com) who is an awesome jeweler and cutter, and his collection of this signature Jessite and Kaily agate was even more spectacular this year, as were his lace agates.
Kailey Agate

There are fossils inside the coliseum and everything from T-Rex skeletons for thousands of dollars, (yard art possibly?) to sharks teeth, which kids and grand-kids have a great time purchasing.

On Sunday, one of the best kept secrets of the show opens, at the Ramada Inn.

I’ve been  doing this show for 20+ years, and this has always been our first show to visit, and yet many people don’t know about it, and that’s a shame. I always stop there first, for some of the best gems in the entire show are to be found at Mark Lasater’s booth, the Clamshell, which is front and center in the lobby as you walk in. Though Mark also sells online (theclamshell.net), seeing the stones in person is awe-inspiring….and the majority of my allowance is spent that first day…..and as I visit the booth daily, I add to my stash daily, but never have I had one second of buyer’s remorse with a Clamshell stone.

Petrified red oak

This year he featured the very rare petrified  red oak,

With its bright colors of reds, yellows and unusual brown markings, I am now the owner of a large number of them! They are gorgeous! But his druzys, cut by master cutter Greg Genovese, are outstanding, as are his collection of unusual stones and cuts, such as this future dragon piece, cut by Alex Horst. Because Mark is a fabulous jeweler, too, his classic trademark is easy to design with stones. Plus, he and his son Gavin (also a great cutter) are two of the nicest guys in the show, and very knowledgeable about each stone.
Fantasy cut Druzy

Around the corner is the much loved “Russian Guy”, Sergye, who has extremely reasonably  priced rarities from the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

They are just fractions of the prices that you see on Etsy.   There are luscious Eudialites, with a deep raspberry color, (ka-ching) and opals to die for…..one was $40,000, and was the most beautiful opal I have even seen! He has the most beautiful deep green serpentine, and fuchsite which I swear will glow in the dark with its beauty. He also had yummy faceted strawberry quartz, and being an avid lover of anything pink….well you know….we just aren’t mentioning them here just in case my hubby pulls this up on the computer……

Strawberry Quartz crop

Then there is the visit to Burger King, because after three hours its getting to be lunch time.

Only this isn’t your regular Burger King….it’s Faulk Burger and Greg King. Faulk is foremost a jeweler, and has everything from exquisite (and pricy) stones to ancient coins (also expensive). His turquoise in quartz is glorious. Greg is the Turquoise King, and has representations of most of the well-known Southwestern turquoise mines. As you know, probably 95% (or more) of all turquoise has been stabilized, which means it has been hardened with Opticon or some other resin based product to increase its stability. Greg has both treated and untreated turquoise, and is very reputable with you telling which is which. While it’s wonderful to have the untreated, a treated stone will not discolor over time, nor absorb body oils, chemicals, etc. So it is totally up to you, but he has a great variety of both.

 Royston turquoise
If you do make the Tucson Show, all these cutters do show in Tucson at various venues. There are many more booths to visit, at the show, and this is a few of my favorites. Next week, I will share some of my favorites from “the big show”, as it’s called, which opened on Thursday. Until then, may your stone dreams be pleasant and inspiring. Happy designing.

Creatively yours,

Lexi

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Posted in Interviews, Lexi Erickson
One comment on “Lexi at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show
  1. Mike says:

    That was a great read… If you ever get into the Washington state area you should check out Hansen Creek.

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