Wednesday, April 16, 2014
At age three, there's justification in saying "It's a great show," or better perhaps, "likely to evolve into a great show." The NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and gem show has grown quickly. According to the NY/NJ EZ-GUIDE distributed by its organizers, Eons Expos, LLP, the number of booths has gone from 115 in 2012 to 270 last year, to a projected 340 booths this year. The New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison, New Jersey that hosts it has a capacity of 591 booths. Eons Expos aims to fill all of them by 2017 with dealers of minerals, fossils, gems, and related attractions. If successful,, the NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show will be bigger than "The Big Show," in Tucson, where the Convention Center is said to hold 450 booths.
We photographed our cover image at about 11 A.M. on Friday, April 11, during the first hour of the 2014 Show. This was hardly the time to expect large numbers of attendees. Rather, the hour allowed for plenty of space in which to navigate comfortably with great opportunities for grabbing first pickin's. However meager in number, those present at this time included enough serious buyers to bring smiles to the faces of many dealers very quickly.
exhibited suites of minerals mostly from New Jersey and New York along with a Maryland suite from the collection of Fred Parker. The other half of these cases were devoid of minerals. Since noticeably fewer than eleven states were represented, it seemed possible that the cases without minerals would be filled for the next two days of the show.
Through a door leading to behind the cases, there was a "junior ballroom where the Franklin Mineral Museum and the Sterling Hill Mining Museum co-hosted a magnificent display of dazzlingly fluorescent specimens. In a section adjacent to the display, they offered additional fluorescent minerals for sale at very reasonable prices, giving prospective buyers access to fluorescent lamps to check them out.
Another room just a short distance away housed The Fine Mineral Gallery featuring "$10 million worth of the world's rarest and most exquisite minerals and gemstones." Most were being offered for sale by about 16 high-end dealers, among them Arkenstone, Stonetrust, Miner's Lunchbox, and Cornerstone Minerals. The dealers in this room contributed to a relatively greater proportion of dealers selling fossils and jewelry--- as opposed to minerals--- in the main hall.
For sure, there was plenty happening here at the NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show to set it apart from other shows in the eastern United States. Among its exhibits were a 38 foot Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, another that allowed attendees to touch rocks from the moon and Mars, and for the first time out of Germany, the world's finest collection of "weird, 400-million-year-old Devonian Bundenbach fossils." There was even a booth where the cast from The Weather Channel's TV show Prospectors was hawking their finds from Mount Antero.
With so many attractions, the NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show's stature should improve in the future. Lowell Carhart, Russell Carhart, and Christine Coyle, the team of siblings comprising Eon Expos LLC, have lofty ambitions. Their goal for the year 2016 is to become "the largest annual show of its kind in the United States." If successful in reaching the previously mentioned goal of filling all 591 booths at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center by 2017, they should be able to boast of having organized "the third largest annual show of its kind in the world."
The trio has demonstrated the level of experience, staying power, and success to make it happen. They note that their Denver Coliseum show, launched in 2009, had "become the largest mineral and fossil show in the U.S by its fifth (2013) year." In Tucson, the 22nd Street Show, which they started up in 2011, has now become the third largest mineral and fossil show in Tucson. The NY/NJ Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show is a different kind of event: glitzier and with more diverse attractions, than either of these shows. Such sizzle should contribute significantly to their efforts to reach this goal, all the happy dealers even more so.