Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Rock and MIneral Shows in Colorado #amethyst

Seems more and more rock and mineral shows are being run with minimal Club oversight.  Last weekend there were 3 shows all within about 15 miles of each other.  How does that work?  Who does the advertising or is it all social media now?  The weekend before I went to the Buena Vista show, which appears to be slowly turning into a large flea market. No information booth, little for kids and more non rock/mineral material for sale than I can recall.  
Looks like a flea market to me... even got a canon
I went to both the Buena Vista show and Woodland Park show this past month and found attendance down at the Buena Vista show from prior visits and the Woodland Park show seemed somewhat quiet as well.  I’ve noticed internet sale sites seem to be flourishing so perhaps the hobby is going through some changes as younger folk get more involved in the hobby/business.  Personally I like to take a real good look at anything I purchase unless I know the dealer.  I’ve seen too many fakes, to include oiling and waxing minerals as well as trimming and reshaping crystal terminations. 
This young lady seemed embarrassed to be seen here haha, or maybe
she was looking at a mineral using a black light under the blanket
I’ve been hearing now that the professionals are sealing minerals to preserve them…  Caveat Emptor I guess.  So the Buena Vista show was a hodgepodge of everything from antiques, antler horns, beads, jewelry, rocks and of course crystals and minerals. The number of dealers and customers seemed to be down a bit especially for a Saturday afternoon. There were 4 rows of dealers and I spent about an hour per row though I think I speeded up the last row as I was getting a bit tired and glazed over in the bright sun. The Buena Vista show is an outdoor event and can get quite hot, windy or wet.  The day I went was pretty nice and I think it stayed in the low 80s with a light breeze. I didn’t purchase much but was drawn to some amethyst on one guy’s table. I was wondering if this stuff was somehow enhanced but with flats of various hues of amethyst and a careful inspection of the material I decided that as far as I could tell this was just some real top-shelf amethyst
These amethyst really popped and I couldn't resist snapping up a couple of these nearly pristine specimens
The amethyst had some of the best color I’ve ever seen and were not blocky like the slabs of amethyst from Brazil, but nicely defined crystals.  The location of these amethyst was one I’d never heard of before from a silver mine in Estado de Mexico.  After some negotiating I finally got a 25% discount on two specimens I had selected.  I really wanted a flat of the amethyst but was not willing to spend $600.  Sheesh it’s still just purple quartz.  The dealer did have some flats from $200-$400 but it was not as brilliant in color or as undamaged, so I cherry picked from the best flat and paid for it accordingly. I noticed something new, or at least new to me.  A number of dealers had amethyst crystal plates with the exterior wrapped in metal. Looked different but not my cup of tea.
It reminded me a bit of crystal trees made out of wire and crystal pieces that were very popular a few years ago.  There was one concession booth and it was doing a brisk business, despite the slim crowd as he was the only vendor there.  

The Woodland Park show was more of the same only half the number of vendors.  This show seems to have peaked in attendance somewhat from prior years as well though I was only there for a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon.  There was a children’s activity area and a number of food and drink vendors.  The show also seems to be a little truer to the selling of minerals, crystals and jewelry than the Buena Vista show.  Most of the dealers at this show were the same ones with the same material I had seen at the Buena Vista show.  My wife went with me this time but neither of us bought anything, though some jewelry caught my wife’s eye it needed some serious cleaning. We hit a nearby Sonic and enjoyed some cool drinks to finish off the afternoon.  Next show is the Sep Denver show and I'm pretty sure there will be a number of interesting items there.

A Hail of a Crystal Pocket or an Extended Weather Report

It was a rather humid day and thundershowers were expected for later in the day.  The prior days forecast mentioned thunderstorms developing over the Colorado Front Range around 3PM and the early morning forecast set back the timing of the storms to 5PM.  Storms were not expected to be severe, except for some isolated heavy rains. A few years ago the Hayman fire stripped the forest of overgrowth which makes the forest along Ute Pass susceptible to mud & rock slides onto US-24. A couple weeks ago I got trapped in the pass due to a rockslide and had to wait for the road to be cleared by front end loaders.  A couple years ago I waited nearly 3 hours for the road to be cleared of debris prior to its reopening.  As I was rock hounding at Lake George I found some interesting goethite and smoky quartz float crystals.  One very large goethite spray is surrounding some smoky quartz crystals and is an exceptional specimen in my opinion. 
3" smoky for size from pocket.  Couple smokys at bottom of goethite spray
Usually smokys in goethite are more embedded than this... I like it!
After finding this specimen near the surface I decided to dig around the area a bit further and deeper and dumbed into a pegmatite with large grained quartz about 2 feet below the surface.  I decided this peg needed further inspection and so I dug up a few feet of this pegmatite to see what way it was traveling underground and see what it might contain.  After an hour or so I started to get smoky quartz faces on some of the pegmatite pieces and then some rather large crystal fragments.  I hadn’t found a crystal point so I wasn’t sure there was much there but as soon as I hit a crease of yellowish-brown mud some quartz points appeared and a small crystal pocket opened up.  
Turned out to be very expensive smokys!
I was getting some fairly large smoky quartz shards but the complete crystals were few and far between.  For the most part the crystals were about 1” except for the one pictured above.  As I was digging out the pocket I found some small fluorite but unfortunately they were not attached to any of the pegmatite or smokys. It was 1:30PM and the sky was beginning to darken to the north.  I mentioned to my digging partner Bob that it had been thundering for nearly a half hour and if we want to get down Ute pass before it might get closed we should pack things up for the day.  I wrapped my meager lot of crystals and headed back to the truck.  One hour later. We stayed dry until we got about half-way down the pass and then the hail began to fall.  I looked for a place to pull off the road for cover but there were really no options.  I slowed my speed, put on my flashers and eventually got off the highway and waited under a willow tree for shelter.  As I left the highway another 5 vehicles followed me off the road. 
I don't care for these ice crystals too much
  I waited about 15 minutes until the hail diminished in size and the storm appeared to ease off some.  So 2” hail is definitely severe weather and it started around 3PM, but oh well I didn’t pay too much for that misguided weather forecast, or did I? I should have stuck with the prior day's weather forecast. We finally resumed going down the pass.  We spent another 30 minutes or so driving thru the hail and eventually within about 5 miles of home the hail quit and changed to rain.  Time for me to start making my own weather forecasts again I guess. National Weather Service can't seem to get it right very often.
Trying to take a little cover off the road under a tree to no avail.  Crack in windshield spreading and car getting totaled.
While my windshield held for the most part, the rest of my vehicle got turned into what looks like a very large dimpled golf ball.  My vehicle is 10 years old with 114,000 miles and I like it a lot but depending on what my insurance company says I may decide to get a new one.  The insurance claim has been filed.  The weather forecast for tomorrow is for severe weather and I’ve decided to stay home… we shall see. Sigh.  Turned out to be sunny, 75 and no rain... go figure.
Most appreciated comments
1) You know if we would have left L George 30 minutes later we probably could have avoided this
2) Oh that doesn't look too bad
3) It if gets totaled I wouldn't mind buying it from you if I can get a discount

Dragons, Castles and Rocks

Lots of rocks here
My wife Vicki decided it was high time we went down to Bishop’s castle in south central Colorado near Wetmore to check on the owner’s building progress. We hadn’t been to Bishop’s castle in quite some time so we were curious to see how things were going.  To learn more about Bishop’s castle and it’s builder/owner see:  I would say the castle is one of Colorado’s oddities, but still inspiring to see what one man can do with his hands.  The plan was to visit the castle and then have a late lunch in nearby Westcliff and head home from there.  
After lunch we walked off our meal and much to my delight and my wife’s indifference there was a well-stocked rock shop on main street. The store was open but the owner was out of town, so no deals could be made and the sales people couldn’t even seem to get their credit card reader to work.  Well my wife decided her walk wasn’t done and went a few more blocks to the nearest ATM to make a withdrawal and help me out.  After checking some of the labels on the minerals I realized the owner of this store was the mining partner of my former mentor--Ray Berry.  I saw many specimens from Ray’s shared claim called the 2nd Mesabi. Ray called the claim Mesabi after the iron range in Minnesota due to the large amounts of iron(goethite) he found on that particular claim site.  I thought many of the minerals were fairly priced.  Some of his silver specimens seemed high, but the Lake George minerals I’m used to seeing like amazonite, smoky quartz and fluorite all seemed reasonable. Though the quality of these Pikes Peak Batholith specimens on display was about average in my opinion.  
Specimens for sale from around the world include apatite, vanadanite, fluorite, topaz with elbite/cleavelandite and more
The owner’s back room had about 40 flats of crystals on display with bags of dinosaur bones and many other fossils as well.  Underneath some of the displays I noted another 40 or so boxed flats.  I opened a few of them but found lesser material than what was on display.  I’ll bet there is some better stuff holed away somewhere in storage.  Oh well maybe another day.  Hat’s off to my wife Vicki for tolerating an unplanned rock hounding expedition in Westcliff and getting me some money from a nearby ATM to purchase some of the specimens. Sure is easier to purchase specimens than hunt them down and dig them out of the ground
Goodbye Sangre De Christo mountains, hope to see you again soon


Monday, July 23, 2018

Rock Hounding Roadtrip to Silverton CO #quartz #crystals #colorado

My friend Austin and I decided to go on a road trip and check out some new spots for crystals.
Road Trip!
Austin spent the previous year in college in Durango and made a few rock hounding contacts in the area and keeps in contact with some folks via social media. One of these contacts is a geologist who does a lot of prospecting. Austin and I were told of a site or two to dig some quartz crystals if we would meet Austin's geologist friend in Silverton. On our way to Silverton we stopped for the night in Creede. Austin is collecting silver from a number of different locales and wanted to make sure he got a few samples from the Bulldog and Commodore mines. Checking with a few locals we found both these mine's tailing piles were closed to prospecting so we went to an amethyst mine in Creede that I've talked about in an earlier post (Oct 4, 2014).  The miner and staff are fairly congenial but the opportunity to go through tailings at that site has been significantly curtailed by OSHA rules now that the area has been transformed into a tourist site. We were told we could only look for things along a trail through the tailings.
Sowbelly agate along the trail
If you left the trail you'd get yelled at (haha). You could take all the pieces you wanted for $2 a pound as long as they were within reaching distance of the trail (we brought our pick axes along for a longer reach). The material along the trail has been picked over quite a bit but we still found some nice pieces of "sowbelly" agate and some with specks of silver in the host agate. I looked primarily for smaller pieces I could cut with my 10" saw. Jack the owner of the mine has a couple miner's cabins to stay in and one of the cabins was available. The rain was starting up, and the price for the night was a customer determined donation for the preservation of the mining site, so we decided to give the cabin a try.
Miner's cabin
No running water, one light bulb and two beds. Austin drew the short straw as he always does when he's with me :-), so he got the bunk bed. After Austin checked the inside of the cabin with a blacklight (not so clean) and after seeing a few chipmunk leavings in a corner of the cabin we decided to lay out our sleeping bags on our beds anyway.  Still we had a dry roof over our heads, matresses under our bottoms and we were off the ground. We also had access to 3, yes 3 outhouses and a shower. One bit of confusion between us and the owner's daughter (Annie Oakly) was that we were told to be back on the property from town by 6PM. When another group arrived at 10PM I pondered the requirement for us to be onsite at 6PM. The site has a gate across the access road to the mine property but I don't believe the owners are allowed to lock the gate with visitors on site. We played a few card games like the miners did of old to pass the time as the sun went down and watched one of the workers toke the evening away. We donated $20 per person which the lady in charge seemed happy to receive, especially after the foursome who spent the night in a larger cabin donated $6.25 per person. We said goodbye to Jack thinking we'll probably not be back to rockhound there.  Jack does have a small museum, gift shop and mining tour so if you don't mind spending $15 for a half hour mining tour this might be up your alley but no serious rock hounding is permitted. I enjoyed exploring a very historical part of the mining history in Creede, CO  and Jack is an interesting guy. As we left Creede I noticed an antique store with a few rocks out front.
Silver ore sample complete with saw marks
We turned around and pulled off the road, ending up finding just what Austin wanted, inexpensive samples of local mine ore with silver. Most of the samples were a combinations of argentite deteriorating to acanthite. Some of the samples had silver in them and others even had a bit of wire silver most likely from the Bull Dog mine. Of course the samples with real silver in them were not cheap. Austin was happy to load up on specimens while I made small talk with the proprietor who told many fanciful tales of days gone by. Next stop was Silverton. We met up with a local geologist, a friend of Austin's, who showed us a site where we were told we would probably find some nice
Austin purchased this beauty
from the geologist
quartz crystals.  The geologist showed us a really nice sceptered quartz crystal that came from the site. This beautiful specimen helped sway both Austin and me to give this quartz site a try. We both worked on a quartz seam running just under the surface. Austin was first to hit a pocket and was soon pulling out small well defined quartz crystals. He finished up a small pocket and then started on another void just a foot away.  I had been working about 5 feet away on the front of a boulder and decided to try the back of this boulder.  Finally I found a fairly large void with many intact crystals.  The problem with this crystal pocket was that it was fairly difficult to extract the crystals from the pocket without damaging them.  Most of the crystals were in plates still attached to the granite. A pry bar and a 10 lb sledge hammer would have come in handy to break up the surrounding rock but we had forgotten to bring these tools.  I got a number of loose crystals out but the real prize were some crystal plates attached to very large rocks.  I had no way to easily get the plates off the host rock but after an hour I managed to get a fairly well-sized crystal plate off the sidewall but was giving up hope of getting more of the plates and some large crystals I spied about 2 feet down. Austin gave me a hand with the crack hammer I brought along and we worked together as best we could but the lack of heavier tools continued to hinder our work. While I held the chisel Austin pounded away with the crack hammer. After he managed to hit a couple of my fingers I decided he could hold the chisel for awhile while I tried to break through the granite or his fingers. I will say without Austin’s persistence and drive we probably wouldn’t have gotten as much out as we did.  We were trying to decide on whether to stay another day when the rains started again and began turning the site into a mud hole. We decided to call it quits knowing there were more crystals in the pocket we abandoned and probably more crystal pockets along the quartz formation. We thanked the geologist friend for the tip on this spot and mentioned that we both thought there were more crystals at this site.  After cleaning a few of the crystals when we got home Austin said he regretted leaving as did I but hopefully we can get back to this spot another time and try our luck again. The geologist offered to let us stay at his place next time and we may well take him up on his offer. The 6 hour trip home didn't seem too long as we were both anxious to clean our crystals and see what we found. Here are a couple of my better finds NFS.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Summer Solstice Crystal Pocket at Lake George CO

Work site shows rock walls with slight void between contrasting pegmatite walls
It’s been rather hot and dry lately and motivation to go out and dig crystals has ebbed some since the cooler spring weather has passed.  June is usually our warmest month with light winds, few clouds and scorching temperatures.  Colorado is very dry due to less than normal winter snows and higher than normal temperatures.  Snowpack on Pikes Peak which normally last into August was gone by mid June. Forest fires will be a big problem again this year until the summer monsoons raise humidity and moisture. Anytime it hits 80F in our digging areas up at Lake George, CO it seems very warm to me.  Maybe I’m just getting older and the heat is getting to me more quickly. I usually seek out shady spots to dig this time of year.
My digging partner Bob decided it was time for us to hit an area we had worked some before and found lots of pegmatites but very few well-formed crystals.  Bob mentioned we needed to find a pocket and call it the Summer Solstice pocket so that is what we did.  I returned to a spot I had dug before and Bob dug up the hill from me.  I had been finding pale colored amazonite but most were not euhedral crystals but partially encased in the pegmatite.  Every once in a while I could take a chunk of quartz with an embedded microcline in it and tap the quartz freeing the microcline. As I continued to dig along the pegmatite I noticed some nicer crystals in the dirt above the pegmatite and guessed there was another pegmatite shedding better formed amazonite crystals up the hill.  I began digging up the hill following the float amazonite crystals. As the crystals became more numerous I eventually dug into the pegmatite shedding the amazonite.  While I found a pocket with this pegmatite there were more amazonite crystals in the dirt below the pocket (float) than actually in the pocket.  I would say there were about 50 or 60 crystals but only a handful were undamaged and collectible.  I also found a few amazonite associated with goethite.
Goethite crystals were the real prize of this dig. 3" specimen
While these amazonite crystals were a bit better formed they were quite pale.  I continued digging along this new pegmatite and found a softer area between a quartz portion of the pegmatite and a predominately feldspar wall.  I continued to break up the quartz seam and dig out the softer feldspar.  As my hammer banged and pick axe clanged through the rock the site of sparks along with the smell of burned rock leads me to believe I will soon need a new rock hammer and pick axe tips. As I moved along the pegmatite I finally discovered another small pocket.  As I probed the pocket with a long handled screwdriver I began to unearth goethite along with amazonite.  This pocket, about 3 feet down, contained a little stronger colored amazonite (though still pale in my mind) along with numerous goethite sprays. There was more goethite than amazonite.  I also found one clear fluorite and one smoky quartz crystal.  I pulled out 25 pieces of goethite ranging from 1-3” across many with bow-tie like sprays of goethite needles.  I called my digging partner over and he got a kick out of watching me pull out goethite sprays.  I had nicknamed Bob the "Goethite King" last year and while I was nowhere near to assuming his title I did find enough goethite to fill a flat.  As I continued along the pegmatite a general void appeared between the vertical pegmatite on my left and a more quartzy pegmatite on my right.  It was at the intersection of these two formations that the goethite had settled/formed in along with some amazonite.  I would call most of this a seam of crystals as opposed to a pocket but whatever you want to call it, it was challenging to remove hundreds of pounds of rock and rewarding to get a few crystals out. Now if there is anyone out there who wants goethite at $200 a piece as seen on the internet--let me know. :-) It was fun and Mother Nature kept me employed pulling out crystals on her special day!  Happy Summer Solstice and looking forward to the Autumnal Equinox and some cooler weather!  Some results...
Cleaning some of the amazonite I found. Fairly pale
but collectible.  I clean the amazonite with Iron Out
   Goethite with detergent and agitator (aquarium bubbler)
Assembling a flat of goethite crystals/sprays


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Colorado Springs Mineral Show #fluorite #mineral sales

It's been slow going digging in the mountains this spring with little to crow about so far this year.  After last fall's finds a small amazonite pocket or softball size pocket with smoky quartz crystals doesn't seem worth the time to write up.  Gotta just keep at it, sooner or later something good with turn up. :-)
Day 1 is a little slow going  but things got busier on Saturday
This year’s Colorado Springs Mineral Show put on by our local Club seemed fairly successful.  While some dealers did better than others it seemed the larger variety of specimens the more likely a dealer’s chance of sales.  If all you had was fluorite and folks didn’t like fluorite they quickly moved on.  If you had a large selection of different minerals folks would stop by and look through boxes hoping for a bargain or something they liked.  I had thought of participating in this show as a dealer but when I heard there would be a dirt floor and no electricity I decided not to bother with it and submitted a case of specimens for display only.  This years theme for the show was fluorite.  This means people can display their fluorite in an exhibit case and win a prize.  Of course you can exhibit just about anything mineral related in an exhibit case and the Club is happy to display it.
These were some of the fluorite exhibits up for competition.
Fluorite and Goethite display winner of the "Prospector's Trophy"
The Club had room for 50 vendors with 5 listed as standby.  One week prior to the show 12 vendors had backed out and lost their initial deposit but there were 5 others that stepped in to help take their place.  When I entered the venue I noticed the floor was recently covered in concrete and electricity was being installed.  Oh well--maybe I will try next year.  I think one of the problems our Club has of holding a Mineral Show is that our venue changes nearly every 2-3 years.  I attended this show all 3 days.  I worked the Silent Auction for our Club and helped out one of my friends who was a dealer.  Being a solo dealer can be difficult when things get busy as sales get away and 5-fingered discounts rule the day.  I noticed a couple price tags get changed and my dealer friend thinks he lost one topaz fragment to an elderly woman who decided she needed a free sample. The kid’s area also lost a number of dinosaur bones to thieves--too large of a booth area and not enough adults supervising.
Kids area got hit repeatedly....  this picture shows why.
An organized group of thieves tried to make off with a number of articles prior to being caught.  Two of the group would engage the dealer on one side of his booth while two others would load up their pockets at the other end.  I’m guessing there were more thefts, but these were the ones I was aware of. Thankfully dealers look out for each other to help minimize this.  We had a few security folk roaming the venue so they eventually caught up with this gang.  Lighting was also a problem at the venue.  The ceiling was easily 40 feet above the floor and lights were few and far between… a couple of the lights were out which made for very dark areas. If you didn’t have your own lights on your sales tables nothing popped.  I tried to purchase a few things while at the show but settled for only one fluorite piece on matrix which I traded $10 cash and some lesser specimens.  The fluorite were rather unique and the dealer was getting a lot of looky Lous and Lucys but his prices were too high to make many sales.  The fluorite dealer was a young guy and was shooting for the moon price-wise for his fluorites. Haha. He was figuring he could live off his fluorite find for years. Other than the trade I made with him I don’t think he sold much. I heard afterward that he is digging the fluorite out of a prohibited/closed area by the USFS (hearsay).
Fluorite I purchased for $10 and trade. About 3 inches in length
I tried to negotiate a deal with another vendor and thought I made the purchase with a 10% discount until the dealer’s wife stepped in and said no discounts at which point I said no deal.  I wasn’t enamored with the piece but thought it was unusual enough to offer a price.  Another dealer had some nice fluorite specimens from Hardin Co, IL.  His prices would have been good if the pieces hadn’t been damaged, but a cleaved corner or two on cubic crystals turns me off.  The food and refreshment area was a success.  The prices were good and the food was ok.
More outstanding cases below....
Martin's exhibit was "Best in Show" with many local Colorado minerals displayed.  Martin lost his entire collection a few years ago in the Black Forest fire which burned down nearly 500 homes and is rebuilding his collection from scratch.
Andy's case of minerals found primarily near Sentinel Rock, El Paso Co, Colorado 15 years ago.  Many twins are displayed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Denver Gem & Mineral Show Insights

Rhodochrosite, Wulfenite, Amethyst and Amazonite...oh my.  Most of these specimens exceeded my budget for the day :-)
A few years ago the Denver Spring Show changed its venue from one hotel near the center of town to a newer hotel on the east side of town (Crown Plaza).  The parking at the new venue is more plentiful and much easier to negotiate, there is no scrambling for parking spots or endlessly circling the parking lot to find a space. The Plaza doesn’t have any outdoor vendors so I seem to find fewer good deals at the Plaza than what could be had at the previous hotel. The entire show has become a little higher end as well with fewer dealers, but still makes for a fun-filled and entertaining event. I have 2 theories of attending shows, one is to go early and make sure you have the opportunity to purchase a rare item or two that may be gone by days end. The other theory is wait until the last day and hopefully pick up some good deals that the vendors don’t want to pack up and take home. I suppose one could go twice and try both methods, I used the first method of getting there the first day in hopes of snapping up some early bird specials.
As the show was held in Colorado it seemed like many dealers had some amazonite and smokys to sell with prices up to $15,000 for desirable amazonite and smoky combinations. There were some other minerals that seemed common to many dealers as well including pyrite cubes from Spain and amethyst specimens from Veracruz, Mexico. The bead and low end jewelry booths seemed to be the slowest while the more upscale shops had a lot of lookers and apparent buyers as well.  Tourmaline and aquamarine were also on everybody’s table for sale.  My first stop was to check out Pinnacle5 Minerals dealer, Joe Dorris, of the reality TV show Prospectors and see how he was doing. Traffic was a bit slow at Pinnacle5 but Krystal Dorris was bubbly and happy to answer everyone’s questions.  Joe was home busy working on claim
Some small cabinet amazonite smoky combos
paperwork and taxes but he hoped to wind up the show on Sunday. The quality of specimens at Pinnacle5 Minerals are unmatched as are their prices. I am always looking to price compare at shows and see things I might have that I don’t know their value due to their rarity.  I noticed one vendor had a nice slender 8 inch smoky quartz crystal with excellent luster and fine termination for $1200.  I would have guessed a price closer to $350 would have been fair, I wondered what my similar 11” smoky is worth.  I made the rounds examining a number of vendor’s wares and chatted it up with a few dealers.  
$1200 of smoky bliss
 I only made one offer on a piece of NM amethyst and was told there would be no discounts.  I moved on, perhaps better deals could be made on the last day of the show.  Another vendor selling pyrites by the flat from Spain caught my eye.  Buying crystals by the flat is usually a good deal, but the problem is getting rid of the crystals you don’t want for your collection unless you have a store.  I saw many dealers with single pyrites for $35-$50 that compared to buying an entire flat (24 crystals) of nearly identical material for $200.  I was tempted to purchase an entire flat of pyrite, but that just means more work for me getting rid of the extra 20 pieces after I’ve cherry-picked the flat for the 3 or 4 that I want. 
Gold Anyone?
My last stop was the wholesale area.  I like to check out the wholesale area last after I’ve got a good idea what the vendors have and what they are asking for their specimens. You need a business license to get in the wholesale area but that was no problem.  A club member I know has a business and she said I could check out the wholesale area with her.  I hunted down my rock friend who drove me to the show and told him he might like to check out the wholesale area with us as well. We found 3 separate vendors that had specimens that caught our eye.  My friend loaded up on rhodochrosite while I examined some Rogerley fluorites and Veracruz amethyst.  One dealer had everything discounted by 50% but nowhere was that posted until we got in line to purchase our specimens.  After finding out about the discount we went back into the wholesale area and loaded up on Rogerley fluorite.  A nice flat of 24 purple fluorites for $36 also caught my eye, but I just didn’t want to deal with all the purple fluorite after picking a few out for my own collection (similar to the pyrite problem).  The Rogerley fluorites naturally fluoresce under UV light, so when you take them outside in sunlight (UV) they change color from grey/green to purple/blue. When I recalled the Rogerley mine was closed as of last year I thought I should purchase a couple of specimens as the pieces will only go up in price.
I thanked the Club member for allowing us in to the wholesale area for her kindness and patience in letting us get some nice wholesale deals and then decided my back needed a rest and had lunch at the Crown Plaza (hotel hosting show). My show buddy was happy to still have some money left after the wholesale deals so he worked on getting a fairly sizeable discount on a tanzanite.  I’m not sure how he does it, but he talked a dealer down considerably from their asking price. After he made the deal even his back was getting tired so we hit the road and made our way back to Colorado Springs before the forecasted snow arrived.  I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this higher end show all that much, but seeing a few friends and getting a couple deals in the wholesale area made the trip worthwhile
A couple of my purchases within my budget