An expert’s tips for shopping at the Tucson Gem Mineral and Fossil Showcase

Get the most from your visit!

The Tucson Gem Mineral and Fossil Showcase is enormous, and even the veteran rockhound can miss out on a real treasure. We recruited Richard Ratkevich from Tucson Mineral and Gem World to give us tips for shopping at this colossal event.

tips for shopping

Richard came up with four general purpose tips:

  • Look for stabilizer, or glue that holds lesser quality specimens together. A good quality gem or fossil shouldn’t fall apart.
  • Color and eye appeal is important. You want to look for intensity and hue. It’s very subjective, so let’s just say pale rocks aren’t as valuable as vivid rocks.
  • Rarity is more important than eye appeal. Rarity can mean it comes from a specific mine that’s no longer available, or it has an unusual color (like a green garnet.)
  • Negotiate your price. Look for ways both you and the dealer can come out ahead.

Here’s your guide to the best shows at the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase

Richard and his brother Ron Ratkevich have run their rock shop for over 50 years. They have a passion for fossils, and love sharing their passion with anyone who walks through their doors!