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November-December 2010

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The twenty-seventh annual seminar on mineral photography will be held at the 2011 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in the Copper Ballroom of the Convention Center on Thursday, 10 February, 1–3 P.M.

Winners of the photo competition will be chosen by a panel of judges and announced the following Saturday evening during the awards banquet. A cash prize will be awarded for first place in each category. The rules are as follows:

  1. No more than two entries are allowed per person.

  2. Slides must be original 35-mm transparencies in standard 2-inch mounts.

  3. Written on each slide must be the mineral name, locality, and size, either “macro” or “micro” category, and the photographer's name and postal address.

  4. Entries should be mailed to me at the address below, to be received by 15 January 2011, or hand-delivered to me at the Tucson Show. (All entries will be returned.)

  5. In addition to slides, digital images as high-resolution JPGs are also acceptable.

Jeff Scovil
PO Box 7773
Phoenix, AZ 85055


My wife and I recently visited the southern Illinois/western Kentucky fluorite belt as part of our vacation. We had bought your May/June issue just prior to the trip and read the article on Illinois minerals (mainly Hardin County fluorites and calcites), which made me wonder what we would find there. What I discovered may be of interest to your readers.

I knew of the Clement Mineral Museum in Marion, Kentucky, from a search on the Internet; however, I was initially unaware of the American Fluorite Museum in Rosiclaire, Illinois. The websites of both museums post limited days and hours of being open, and the Clement Museum also announces that day and evening collecting is available. Unfortunately, neither museum was open during the window of time I was there, but my wife, being very persistent, suggested we ask around to see if anyone knew the people who owned the museums and see if they would be willing to open for a wayward Texan who could only be there for a day or two at the most. The people at the Crittenden County Museum were most helpful and eventually contacted the owner of the Clement Museum, who came down and did indeed open the museum and even gave me a personal tour.

It is truly one of the best private museums I have ever seen, displaying some incredible specimens of the wonderful fluorites that came out of the district over the years, and there were as many interesting stories as there were specimens. Because I collect fluorescent minerals, I was pleased to see a large fluorescent display and to learn that Mr. Clement was willing (for a fee) to take me out that evening to do some night collecting with my UV lights. The cost was well worth the opportunity to collect material I had not expected to be able to get. I could go on about the museum and Mr. Clement's hospitality but will instead encourage anyone who has not visited there to plan a trip.

Just prior to the evening collecting trip in Marion, I had also wanted to see Cave-in-Rock and Rosiclaire, Hardin County, Illinois. I was surprised to learn about the American Fluorite Museum in Rosiclaire, which, as mentioned, is also open on a limited basis. Again, my wife spoke to some helpful people in the nearby public library, and they got the curator to come down and open the museum for us. It is located at the former site of one of the mining companies, with several of the old buildings remaining and the office serving as the main museum building; even an old headframe still stands nearby. Again, I saw many wonderful specimens, mining artifacts, and countless other memorabilia of a once-great mining region. Not only do they have rock piles in the museum yard where visitors can collect fluorite and associated minerals, but they also provide shovels and such for those needing them. Wow, collecting at two locations in one day—I was in mineral heaven.

I showed the museum curators the May/June issue of Rocks & Minerals with the article on the fluorites from their area. Because neither curator had seen the issue before, upon returning to Texas, I contacted the editor to see if she would send a complimentary issue to each museum, which she gladly did.

I was also able to visit with the Griffiths, near Cave-in-Rock, and was amazed to find that they have a prospect where they are mining specimen fluorite. I had to buy at least a couple of specimens from this accommodating father-and-son team. Who would have suspected good minerals were still to be seen and had from this famous area.

It was so great to see how helpful and accommodating people in the mineral world are, in spite of all the stories we hear about the difficulties in gaining access these days. I am grateful to those we encountered on this trip and urge readers to visit these places.

Alan J. Cherepon
Cedar Park (Austin area), Texas


May I express my heartfelt appreciation for the recent (May/June) article in Rocks & Minerals magazine on the extraordinary Adalberto Giazotto collection, which preserves unimagined treasures that might have been otherwise lost to posterity. Of course, even your remarkable printing and the superb quality of the photography cannot capture the experience of viewing the specimens in person; nevertheless, for one currently limited in travel opportunities, I can confidently state that it was the next best thing to being there.

Being new to the mineral collecting scene, I find it terribly sad and troubling that current mining operations and environmental concerns may not allow similar specimens to be obtained in the future. In fact, one is constantly bombarded by the major media, including the Internet, on the potential extinction of rare animal and plant species and the importance of the work of individuals to make a difference; the plight of the deforestation of the Amazon and Borneo comes to mind. But I had never considered a similar phenomenon for minerals—that is to say that nonliving things, graced with amazing beauty and the power to inspire, similarly face “extinction.”

For that reason, Dr. Giazotto deserves the highest commendation for his extraordinary achievement, as does your magazine for bringing the collection to the homes of thousands of readers.

Peter S. Perakos
New Britain, Connecticut

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