Brazilian Tourmaline, available in shop
Continuing the discussion about how to acquire minerals.
Purchasing minerals at shows
We sell at Tucson (Arizona - Martin Zinn Expositions) and Denver ( Colorado Mineral & Fossil Show (Fall) - Martin Zinn Expositions) US based international shows. These are very large multi-location shows. We take turns sitting the booth freeing one of us to shop. If you visit these shows plan on days of long hours to have enough time to visit many dealers from around the world.
You will get better prices if you are willing to buy minerals in lots as opposed to buying one at a time. Before we were in business John would travel with a small group of like minded mineral collectors and they would purchase the lots together.
Dealers are not inclined to negotiate on price for a single item. When I purchase a single item from a dealer I generally hope the dealer will give me a "dealer discount" in hopes of future business. If you haggle over every single item you may wear out your welcome. So look around a dealer's booth and see if there isn't something else you want. Nothing aggravates a dealer more than someone who points to a single item and requests a discount, then another, then another. Group what you want before starting the negotiation. And remember if you admire the dealer's stock - don't try to put them out of business by wanting a cut throat price.
Smaller shows and swaps (Show Dates | Rock & Gem Magazine) I just love going to smaller shows and swap meets. This is where I find most of my classic locality vintage treasures. It is time consuming and requires travel but if you are a rabid mineral shopper it is worth it. You may come away from shows with nothing but when you do it can be a real treat.
Be prepared to spend hours searching through boxes. Ask the dealer if they "have anything under the table to look at" If they allow you under the table here are the rules:
Gently unstack and restack the flats, don't fling or hold sideways (mineral people call the large boxes with minerals flats from the days when we would put our minerals in beer flats)
Move out of the way for other traffic walking in the booth, don't be an impediment to other customers.
At my booth you are welcome to pull out "maybes" but I usually expect only to have to put away 10% of what you pulled. It is a lot of work to return the minerals to their flat. So be nice.
One more thing about swap meets. Seek out the "old collections" and diggers. People trying to dispose of Dad's collection want to move the inventory not make a career of it and diggers want to move out the old stock so they can go dig some more. I have found that many of the people trying to destash or cull their own collection tend to overprice their minerals. They look on the internet and find the highest price and put that on their item regardless of quality.