8-lb Thunderbolt Gold at the Tucson Show
February 11, 2015
TUCSON – The main gem show starts Thursday morning.
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is one of more than 40 shows. The big event at the Tucson Convention Center is in its 61st year.
Dr. Robert Lavinsky brought an 8-pound crystallized gold nugget called The Thunderbolt, because it is shaped like a bolt of lightning.
“This is remarkable,” he said. “No one has ever seen anything like this.”
It was found a few meters underground in Australia. It is literally worth more than its weight in gold. The Thunderbolt is for sale, but Lavinsky does not expect to find a buyer this weekend.
“Gold drives people crazy,” he said. “Unlike most of the minerals we sell, this is convertible. And you can melt it and make it disappear. So that’s why it’s in a nice convention center with security and a police officer standing here overnight with it.”
The show brings in Tucson police officers for extra security. The Tucson Police Department also deploys more resources from other parts of the city to the Downtown area.
“They’re non-patrol units, so they don’t impact the actual patrol duties of that division,” Lt. Kevin Hall said. “They’re units that are flexible and adaptable and are basically designed for this kind of deployment.”
Police see some vehicle break-ins and shoplifting around the shows. People should pay attention to their surroundings and lock valuable items out of sight, according to Hall.
About 100 dealers are set up in the newly renovated TCC Arena. Show Chairman Paul Harter said it is a much better experience on that part of the property, even thought the main hall has not improved much.
“If the manager is saying, ‘What can we do for you?’ Those are all good things.” Harter said. “And I know that over time, money will trickle into this part of the building, and we’ll see additional upgrades.”
The show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $10. Children 14 and under are free with adult admission.