We got back from Houston last night with lots of new, awesome specimens, and as always we had a great time finding them! The 2016 Houston Fine Mineral Show was quite a bit smaller than the 2015 show. It only used up 1 floor of the hotel whereas last year it was 2 floors. This meant that there was a lot less to choose from, so it actually took us the full three days to spend our budget. This was the first time we've ever gone to a mineral show and didn't have to worry about blowing out budget because it was a little challenging finding enough specimens to spend all of our money. We eventually, did, but it took some work.
We came back from the show with more "fine" specimens than ever before, and the majority of them were fluorites - most from Illinois. We also found some outstanding azurites, and a few other miscellaneous specimens including two very unique prehnite on garnet specimens. Nobody has ever seen anything like these, so we're excited to get them prepped and photographed to put up for sale.
As always we spent time with a lot of our friends that we've made in the business including Blake and Courtney Barnett, Krystal Dorris and her mom, Alex Amiel and Jordan Root, etc. Saturday night a group of us went out for sushi, and I got everyone hooked on the Nigori Sake which is cold, unfiltered sake that tastes almost nothing like regular sake.
There was a lot of talk about where the show will be next year. The rumors were that it would be moving to either Austin, Dallas, or The Woodlands which is basically a suburb of Houston. From talking to people it seems that there's a lot of resistance to moving it to Dallas for various reasons. Many people were curious about Austin. The logic is that mineral collectors from Dallas and Houston have about the same distance drive, but many people question whether this matters. Of course we would love it to be in Austin since we live here, but the Houston location has been great for us because my parents live right down the road, so we get free and close lodging. Hopefully it will stay where it is, and the show will grow again, but we'll see what happens.
In all, the Houston Fine Mineral show is an extremely good show. It's small, but everything is very high quality, and very expensive; sometimes inexplicably expensive. Some people visiting the show just look at it as a trip to a museum. It's a little hard to find rocks for the kids, but that's not what this show is about. It's mostly for collectors and other dealers to buy and trade. Wherever the show ends up next year we will certainly return.