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Each year, thousands of people travel to southern Arizona to attend the world's largest gathering of gem, mineral and fossil collectors and sellers.

However, local residents don't have to wait for the special annual event so they can see and learn about these alluring objects.

The UA Mineral Museum has an extensive array of items that can transport the visitor from Arizona, Mexico and California to much further and exotic destinations including Russia and Afghanistan.

Mark Candee is the museum's collections manager and he says the multimillion assemblage is made possible by donations and loans from collectors and institutions around the world.

He says visitors can get a glimpse in several minutes or stay for hours and be dazzled by the intricate colors and details.

The museum is inaugurating a new exhibit on Friday February 8th, 2013 which is called Crystalline Treasures, The Mineral Heritage of China.

It will coincide with the theme of the Gem and Mineral Show at the Tucson Convention Center. The show will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2014.