The NY-NJ Gem & Mineral Show is now in its third year and has risen out of its infancy. It has become a significant show, filling a void in the metropolitan area of our country's largest city. This is the show's second year in the giant New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, New Jersey, which is about a 40 minute drive from Midtown Manhattan. The show took place from Friday through Sunday, April 11-13.
The show was the brainchild or Lowell Carhart, who also runs the Tucson 22nd Street Show and the Denver Coliseum Show. Lowell, who was raised in New Jersey, realized that the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area lacks a significantly sized show, and was determined to change that. The New York/New Jersey area is home to many significant localities and both serious and amateur collectors. There are collectors who specialize in the world-famous Franklin/Sterling Hill deposits (especially fluorescent collectors), others who collect the outstanding traprock minerals of the Watchungs (such as Paterson and Prospect Park), as well as those who focus on minerals from New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Connecticut.
The show had really filled out the convention center this year, taking up much of the space in the interior of this massive 150,000+ square foot venue. Some of the features of this year’s show included a full-sized T-Rex skeleton, public showcase exhibits of local minerals, an outstanding fluorescent room, and lectures from well-known speakers such as Bob Jones and Justin Zzyzx.
There were several high-end mineral dealers selling museum quality pieces in the fine mineral gallery. Many of these well-known dealers had outstanding, museum-quality pieces available in beautiful display arrangements. The fine mineral gallery room featured a dazzling $2 million gold exhibit featuring "as dug" gold specimens from around the world. The Maine Mineral and Gemstone Museum had two large showcases in the Fine Mineral Gallery of recently mined minerals from Maine, especially Tourmalines from the Havey Quarry. (This Museum will be opening later this year; it was a treat to get a sneak preview of some of their display minerals).
In addition to the giant, 38 foot Tyrannosaurus Rex that stood proudly on the show floor, there were several other fascinating, full size fossils, including a complete 12' tall Entelodont skeleton, and the world's finest collection of exquisite Devonian Bundenbach Hunsrück fossils. The show also had rocks that you could touch from the moon, Mars, and 4 Vesta, (one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System.)
There was also an entire room showcasing fluorescent minerals from the nearby Franklin and Sterling Hill zinc deposits. The exhibits were organized mostly by the Franklin and Sterling Hill Museums, and featured one of the largest displays ever of glowing fluorescent minerals under a single roof.
Last year's public exhibits had great representation of NY/NJ Minerals, but the showcases were big, bulky, and not photogenic. For this year’s exhibit, the show staff put together the more traditional "club-style" cases with risers. They were able to get showcase boxes from the Franklin Museum, and invested time and money to repair them and allow their use for future shows and other club uses. The exhibits were once again curated by Justin Zzyzx who put hours of work into this massive effort.
There was a big disappointment in the public exhibits, as many of the showcases were empty and just had labels. Apparently some of the big museums that committed had cancelled at the last minute due to a miscommunication. This did put a damper on the exhibits, though the showcases from some private collectors that had setup display cases of local minerals from the Northeast were still outstanding.
Minerals.net had a booth at the show, where Hershel Friedman was selling part of his collection of local NY and NJ Minerals, as well as promoting the Minerals.net website. Hershel had set up a screen at the booth that was playing some of the Minerals.net videos he produced. He also placed several articles in the show guide, which can be seen by clicking this link. His articles appear on page 16, 17, 24, and 25.
Although there was a nice turnout of dealers and buyers at the show, there was some disappointment with the lack of additional mineral dealers. There was a healthy representation of dealers selling beads, jewelry, and fossils, but outside the fine mineral gallery there were definitely complaints that not enough mineral dealers were present. This includes both established mineral dealers as well as some of the smaller local dealers. This also likely contributed to the fact that I saw very little new material being brought to the market at the show. Anything new I had already seen two months earlier in Tucson. There were also some complaints from dealers in aisles that they received much lighter foot traffic than the corners.
I have heard the show staff is aware of these matters, and they are working diligently to address them in the coming year. This show has outstanding potential to continue growing and become one of the most important shows in the world. The key to success is to attract more relevant dealers, which in effect will bring more serious buyers who will travel longer distances to attend the show. Overall I really enjoyed the show this year and look forward to seeing its continued growth in the coming years. I have divided the pictures into four separate posts for easier reading:
- General Show Scenes
- Public Exhibit Showcases
- Public Display Minerals
- Dealer Displays