Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Show

Ever wanted a wine rack made from a trilobite?  Done.  A perfect specimen of psilomelane? Yes.  A shiny block of purple whateverite?  Check.  Riebeckite from Russia?  Tigereye, lapis lazuli, thunder eggs, jungle jasper, fire agate, emeralds or sapphires?  Uvarovite from South America?  Dinosaur from Mongolia?  Lost Chrysler parts sculpted into a life-size model of Alien VS Predator?  Got em.  Pterodactyl kites.  Petrified wooden tables.  I can tell you just where to go.  Tucson, Arizona, month of February.

You can buy rocks from tents.  You can buy rocks off of tables, fossils from sidewalks, carvings from hotel dressers, boulders from backs of cars, and crystals from bottoms of barrels.  I'd be surprised if human skulls were not available somewhere in this town during "the Show."

People walk around carrying wizard staffs buying bags of beads and diamond saw blades.  Gem shows are carnivals of weird, studies in the world wide ridiculous.  But they are enormously telling.  They are about what people want.  They are seldom about need, unless your need involves satisfying other people's wants.  There are shiny things, yes.  Colorful pretty things, yes.  But there is some good meat hidden in there between the candy.  Some vitamin phenocrysts in the Wonder Bread.

During these 10 hour days selling lapidary tools on the floor of a tent with its own weather system, I'm trying to sniff those gems out.  Patience, it may take a while.