This past weekend was our annual gem and mineral show in Niigata, Japan. It's one of about 20 shows a year done by Mineral Marche, the event organizer. With attendance concerns in our mind due to COVID, we headed out of Tokyo on Thursday for the 4 hour drive up to Niigata.
We arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon and immediately began to offload and set up our booth.
The event space is quite large, it would rival most gem and mineral shows in the US except Tuscon or Denver.
What is nice about Niigata is there are also food vendors and a science show put on by Genki Labo, Japan's version of Bill Nye The Science guy https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPiv_s6_ov-zGGZz1JOvb2Q/featured more on him later.
For this show I pulled a few special mineral out of my collection. As always benitoite was front and center. Benitoite is one of the most prized gemstones the world over, because of it's rarity, color(cornflower blue) and shape(dipyramidal).
Another rare piece I brought out is a California wavelite with smokey quartz. These specimens are almost unheard of on the market. The collecting locality, Slate Mountain Mine https://www.mindat.org/loc-264146.html, is depleted and most wavelite now comes from Arkansas.
While it's not the prettiest piece it makes up for in in it's rarity & combination with smokey quartz.
Another piece was this beautiful linarite specimen from the Reward Mine in California.
Linarite is a rare, gorgeous, blue lead & copper mineral. I don't think I have done a Mineral Mondays for Linarite so I'll write about it next week.
We finished setting up at 4:30 and returned the following day, Friday, at 9am to put finishing touches and pricing on things.
Before the show started on Friday I peeked outside to see if people were lining up and I was relieved.
There was a good amount of people lined up. This told me people were not concerned about COVID and would still come out.
Usually the younger and serious collectors come out on Friday looking for the best specimens and deals, then will return on Sunday for a second go.
A friend showed up on the first day with some nice gifts for me, very rare minerals from just down the coast in Itoigawa he had collected in the last year.
The specimens were small, but many people the world over would love to have them in their collections. The minerals are the following:
Benitoite - BaTiSi3O9
Itoigawaite - SrAl2(Si2O7)(OH)2 · H2O
Strontio-orthojoaquinite - (Na,Fe)2Sr2Ba2Ti2[Si4O12]2O2(O,OH)2 · H2O
Ohmilite - Sr3(Ti,Fe3+)(Si4O12)(O,OH) · 2-3H2O
The day ended on a positive note with those presents and decent sales of $900.
Saturday the crowd size appeared to double, but the pocket books were tight.
The highlight of Saturday was taking my daughter to see Genki Labo do his science show. His first act was showing people how air travels when compacted & shaped. He first used a homage air gun made of a small waste basket with the bottom cut out and replaced by a plastic bag back. He would pull the plastic back like a bow and release it channeling the air out of the smaller hole at the end. The air would travel across the room and hit his display periodic table chart. It was pretty cool to watch. The he upped the game.
He did a similar stunt with this time with a kiddy swimming pool and a smoke machine. The result were smoke rings that traveled almost the entire distance of the event hall.
Then he quizzed the children in attendance which way the smoke rings rotate. I recall the correct answer was clockwise. Even I was surprised by it all. My daughter was ecstatic.
He went on to talk about minerals and the periodic table at which point my daughter became less interested. I however was shouting out answers and thoroughly enjoying myself telling her the answers to many questions. Genki Labo was an awesome addition to the mineral show.
Saturday ended very slow. Our sales were almost halved so we decided to re-arrange our display a bit Sunday.
I even included some silver Walking Liberty Half Dollars incase there were any silver stackers there.
Sunday took off like a rocket and we were busy most of the day which put us in the black. More serious collectors showed up and started up conversations about how most of the other dealers didn't have collectible minerals like we did. We are a collectors dealer, rather than a crystal dealer. Our minerals are more obscure and rare than quartz and it's varieties.
I got my shopping in on Wednesday too. I picked up quite a few andradite(rainbow) garnets, green demantoid garnets and black spessartine garnets from local collectors.
Another year, another adventure. We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to coming back next year.