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May-June 2012

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Chips from the Quarry

WINNING WAYS: If it's true that everyone loves a winner, we've got lots for you to love in this issue's Chips from the Quarry column: a prize-winning photograph, the Carnegie Award winner, the Best Paper in Rocks & Minerals winner, and the American Mineral Heritage Award winner.

It should also be mentioned that Rocks & Minerals was a winner in its own right when it was named one of the 2011 Gold Ink winners, being honored with the Silver Award in the Scientific & Technical Journals category. The awards are presented to printers and publications that demonstrate exceptional quality and execution of products. The Sheridan Press, located in Hanover, Pennsylvania, is the printer of Rocks & Minerals. Speaking on behalf of the company, representative Andrew Gordon said: “Sheridan Press could not get an award like this if we didn't have such a lovingly put-together publication to print.” For details on the award, see

SCIENCE AS ART AWARD: Bruce Cairncross, a longtime consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, captured first place in the Science As Art category of the 2011 Southern African Science Lens Competition. His winning photo, titled Arid Landscape, is shown here. Dr. Cairncross is a professor of mineralogy and head of the Department of Geology at the University of Johannesburg.

Caption: Arid Landscape, prize-winning photograph taken by Bruce Cairncross. Shown is a slice of “picture sandstone” from Namibia. The wavy, undulatory lines, caused by staining, are called Leisegang bedding. The swirling lines appealed to Cairncross because they make the image look like a desert scene.

CARNEGIE AWARD: Jeffrey “Jeff” Post, curator-in-charge of the Smithsonian Institution's mineral collection, was honored as recipient of the Carnegie Mineralogical Award for 2011. Dr. Post notably led the development of the Smithsonian's Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals, and his dedication to specimen mineralogy and educational outreach is exemplary. Marc L. Wilson, collection manager and chair of minerals at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, presented the award to Post at the Saturday evening banquet and program held 11 February in conjunction with the 2012 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

Caption: At the 2012 Tucson Show, Marc Wilson (left) presented the Carnegie Mineralogical Award for 2011 to Jeffrey Post of the Smithsonian Institution.

An accomplished scientist, Post's research interests include mineralogy, gemology, geochemistry, crystallography, and electron microscopy, and he has written a number of scientific papers and articles in these fields.

The annual award honors outstanding contributions in mineralogy preservation, conservation, and education that match the ideals advanced in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. Established in 1987, the award is underwritten by the Hillman Foundation. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2012 award. Private mineral collectors, educators, curators, mineral clubs and societies, events, museums, universities, and publications are eligible. For a nomination form, go to or contact Marc L. Wilson, Section of Minerals and Gems, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213;

BEST PAPER AWARD: The Friends of Mineralogy (FM) named Tomasz Praszkier as winner of the Best Paper in Rocks & Minerals for 2011 for his article titled “Morocco: Tea and Minerals,” published in the November/December issue, pages 492–514. The announcement was made during the awards banquet at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in February. In addition to the Award of Merit given to the author, the magazine received a grant of $200 in his name. We congratulate Mr. Praszkier and thank FM for this significant annual recognition.

AMERICAN MINERAL HERITAGE AWARD: New this year at Tucson's Westward Look Show was the presentation of the American Mineral Heritage Award, established by the Mineralogical Record for achievements in field collecting. It recognizes those field collectors whose personal discoveries anywhere in the Americas have contributed most significantly to the cumulative heritage of aesthetic and/or scientific mineral specimens preserved in museums and private collections worldwide.

Edward Swoboda, born in 1917, was chosen as the first recipient of the award, which was presented at the show's Sunday evening program, on 5 February. Cited were his codiscovery of the blue-cap tourmalines at the Tourmaline Queen mine in 1972 and his involvement in important specimen digs throughout his long career, including at the Benitoite Gem mine (1930s); Brazilian pegmatite localities, including the brazilianite type locality (1940s); and the boleite locality in Mexico (1970s), among many others. After receiving the award, Swoboda gave a delightful illustrated program highlighting some of his many mineral adventures and discoveries.

Caption: Ed Swoboda, recipient of the American Mineral Heritage Award.

Fifteen prominent collectors, curators, and dealers comprise the selection committee for this annual award. For details on requirements for eligibility and how to submit nominations, contact Günther Neumeier, editor of Mineralogical Record, at

MORE ABOUT THE JANUARY/FEBRUARY COVER: At the Tucson Show, we learned that the striking malachite after gypsum specimen from the Ray mine, Pinal County, Arizona, pictured on our January/February 2012 cover, was collected by Frank Valenzuela of San Manuel, Arizona, in 1974. The current owner, Carolyn Manchester, purchased it from Valenzuela while viewing his collection in 2009.

Caption: The January/February cover of Rocks & Minerals

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The Houston Gem and Mineral Society, in memory of Arthur E. Smith, and the Cincinnati Mineral Society underwrote color costs in the Connoisseur's Choice column; Maryanne and John Fender (Fender Natural Resources) did the same for the Museum Notes column. Donors to the Color Fund contributed toward color in the remaining articles. All are thanked for their generosity in partnering with Rocks & Minerals to support color photography in each issue of the magazine.

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