For the past two months Gerdus had been mining at Boekenhouthoek and was fortunate to uncover a fine pocket of purple cactus quartz which went along to Germany. He also secured some of the best alexandrite that had been seen in a long time.
We arrived at Josef Strauss international Airport after a long flight via Dubai. At the airport we had to go through customs and pay 19% VAT on the stones. This year we decided to get a rental car because of the four heavy suitcases we were carrying. The rental company upgraded us to a compact Suv Mercedes Benz. Our first challenge came when we got to our car. The navigational system was in German. For the past two months I have been hard at work learning German but none of the words that I learned worked here. The nav system will only guide you if you can input a complete address. We could not find an address for the Munich show on any of our papers. We spent almost 45 minutes trying to enter an address for the show and then decided to just set off for the rental flat that was 10 minutes from the show ground.
The first day was setup day. Everything had to be priced. This is an interesting job. The dealer wants maximum Euro and the collector wants a bargain. So you have to price out your items where you make money and the collector gets a good deal. Cost for attending such a show can be quite high. First there is the price of acquisition and then the tickets, the car rental, import charges, accommodation and then the show fee.
On setup day I sold my two best alexandrites to another dealer and we relaxed slightly. One of the crucial things in displaying specimens is your display props and lighting. We had to carry everything in our suitcases. But at the end of the day the collector looks past all this and only buys something that will enhance his collection.
The competition is always fierce at any international show. Imagine this, the best stones from Europe, China, India, Africa and the Americas all in one place and every dealer hoping that their stones will be taken. It can be stressful. The Munich show is the second biggest European show. It is well visited. It comprises 4 halls. Our hall only had mineral dealers. The other halls has lapidary dealers and jewelry or as the Germans says Smuckt.
We made twice the turnover that we made last year and decided beforehand that we needed to go and visit India to buy jewellery for the Hartbeespoort shop after the show.
A mineral show is a wonderworld of colour and form. The red of a Rhodochrosite, the yellow of Sulphur, the green of Emerald and the blue of Aquamarine. What a feast for the eyes. The best displays works on the principle that less is more. A single large gem crystal with the proper light on its own stand holds the eye. So the best collections are larger than life, they are filled with color and usually have one central crystal on a well balanced matrix. And every dealer knows that possessing such a specimen or several such specimens is your passion.
I was very impressed by the mine to mine display in our hall. It was guarded by armed guards all the time so they watched you with hawk eyes because of all the valuable items on display there.
If your passion is collecting fine minerals you should try and visit shows such as these. You never stop to learn.
Please leave a comment on the above article if you have enjoyed reading it. The next article is on our visit to India to source jewellery.