The Shows Must Go On: Heading to Denver Shows During COVID

The Shows Must Go On: Heading to Denver Shows During COVID

Yes, I’m going to actually do this!  

I am heading out to Colorado on September 9th for four days to attend two of the shows I usually go to.  The “Denver Show” and the Colorado Mineral and Fossil Show are still scheduled to take place, but in a diminished capacity.  In addition to that, some of the vendors that I usually buy from are renting suites at the Crowne Plaza where the Mineral Show is happening and are taking private appointments.


With international trade being severely disrupted and mining at a virtual standstill in some locations, US vendors have to do what they can to trade inventory to serve their clients.  This isn’t all bad actually because many of us stock up too much to keep the goods and money flowing to and from the far corners of the world. It’s important to have variety, to show new inventory, and to keep up relationships with mining countries.  But when that’s not possible many vendors dig deeper into their safe and find materials they have not yet cut, or that need recutting, and that hadn’t been touched for years.  There can be the occasional deal on higher priced items as some vendors feel it is time to dig a bit deeper into the gemstone piggy bank and trade some inventory for cash flow.  Depending on availability, this is not a bad time to buy.  I will see some of my favorite vendors in Denver, including Dudley Blauwet, who lives there anyway.  I may catch up with some other friends of mine like Brett Kosnar who lives in Denver as well.


I’m not sure what kind of inventory I will see, but I do know some new sapphires have come in from Sri Lanka via various backroads.  I am getting some more spinel as well, more Vietnamese materials this time, but I’ve also been promised some baguettes and other lovely cuts.  I should get some more Benitoite, and the rest will be a surprise for you and me both.  I will keep the social media channels open and advertise as much as I have time for.

Obviously I’m going by myself this time, and it won’t be the usual social event for me.  My German friend Jochen Hintze from Jentsch minerals is not coming – in fact he is going to Tanzania at around the same time.  I will report on this when he’s back (safely).  It’s a risky trip but he’s put a lot of safety measures in place.

Speaking of, in case you are concerned, here’s how I’ve arranged things for myself: I travel economy plus, empty row right now (and I can switch rows if needed or upgrade), I take the airport shuttle to my hotel, which is in walking distance from the show so I will not need a car or any car service.  My hotel, Wooley’s, is open for breakfast and dinner and offers room service.  I have a fridge, microwave and coffee maker.  Obviously I will wear a mask, and for the occasional encounter where my opposite refuses to engage in the same courtesy, I keep it beyond six feet.  I can’t believe that not everyone is 100% convinced of the value of the mask.  Even a simple cloth mask lowers the chance of transmission by 40%, which can reduce and keep the virus at below pandemic level within less than 6 weeks.  The shows have double wide rows this year, social distancing should be easy – in NYC on public transportation and indoors people have duly been practicing it for months and it’s success should be obvious.  There will be many sanitizing stations and most of the areas have somewhat higher ceilings for space.  The Denver Show is mostly in very well ventilated buildings.  I’ll have to take an Uber there but that will be the only time.  I expect that the local “just looking” crowd that usually shows up but doesn’t spend money will be largely absent so that those of us who come to actually buy will not experience much crowding.  Also, both shows will limit capacity on the first day I’m told.  Lastly, I’ve arranged for some private meetings.

It’s all going to be very curious, to say the least.  Am I worried?  No, not really, as I think logic suggests that with the proper measures in place your chances of getting sick are extremely slim.  Also, I’m not volunteering in a hospital or anything like that.  Colorado’s numbers are low and remain that way, which is good.  Let’s just hope no forest fires get in the way, or travel is disrupted by hurricanes in the south.

We live in interesting times.