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March-April 2013

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Congratulations to Rocks & Minerals and Bruce Cairncross for the wonderfully done September/October 2012 issue. Although the African theme was dominant, I especially enjoyed reading Jim Landon's article, “Quartz Scepters from Crystal Park, Beaverhead County, Montana” (pages 459–462). On the last page, Landon noted that “most of the amethyst crystals exhibit color zoning, with the tips generally displaying the most intense color.” Landon didn't show any pronounced examples of zoning, so I'm writing to share a story about such a sample.

The article sparked my memory of a truly spectacular Crystal Park amethyst scepter (No. T0984) Si and Ann Frazier obtained when the well-known Jim and Dawn Minette collection was released at the 2008 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. The thumbnail-sized scepter has incredibly sharp, undamaged form and displays the most intense purple tip I've ever seen in this material. There's also another band of color right above the “stem” of the scepter. Usually collectors avoid color zoning in favor of evenly saturated crystals, but the zoning here is eye-catching and beautiful. For these reasons, the Fraziers kindly loaned the specimen for the special “Connoisseur Thumbnails” exhibit at the 2010 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. To me, the specimen has an “ikonic” presence that Wayne Thompson talks about in his well-known Ikons: Classic and Contemporary Masterpieces monograph (Thompson 2007). It remains one of my all-time favorite amethyst specimens, and hopefully it'll serve as an instructive complement to Landon's comment on color zoning.


1. Thompson, W. A. (2007) Ikons: Classic and contemporary masterpieces of mineralogy. Mineralogical Record 38:1, pp. 1-192. (supplement)

Caption: Intensely color-zoned amethyst scepter, 2.8 × 1.7 cm, from Crystal Park, Montana. Ex Jim and Dawn Minette, ex Si and Ann Frazier collections, and now a Jim Houran specimen, Jeff Scovil photo.

Jim Houran
Mineola, New York


The thirty-fifth annual symposium held in conjunction with the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show will take place on Saturday, 15 February 2014. The symposium is cosponsored by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society, the Friends of Mineralogy, and the Mineralogical Society of America. As a tie-in with the sixtieth anniversary of the show, the symposium theme is the same as the show theme: Diamonds. Presentations on descriptive mineralogy, classic and new localities, and related subjects are welcome. An audience of amateur and professional mineralogists and geologists is expected.

Anyone wanting to present a paper should submit a 200–300-word abstract to Julian C. Gray, Tellus Science Museum, PO Box 3663, Cartersville, GA 30120; email; phone 770/606-5700, ext. 415. Presentations will be twenty minutes in length. Abstracts must be submitted by 31 August 2013.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those who made the 2013 symposium a success, including cochairman Ray Grant and speakers Anna Domitrovic, Richard Graeme, Ray Grant, Kim McGlasson, Peter Megaw, Erik Melchoirre, Wolfgang Mueller, Marcus Origlieri, and Les Presmyk.

Julian C. Gray
Symposium Chairman
Tellus Science Museum
Cartersville, Georgia


The American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (AFMS) would normally be announcing the winners in the 2012 program competition at this time; however, for the first time since 1978, due to a lack of entries there are no winners this year. The purpose of the competition is to recognize and reward authors of digital or video presentations about the earth sciences and to make winning programs available to AFMS-affiliated clubs throughout the country. For information about the 2013 program competition, go to Winners in noncommercial categories receive cash prizes and national recognition; commercial presentations are eligible for the AFMS Excellence in Education recognition award. Questions can be directed to

Marge Collins
AFMS Program Competition
Buchanan, Michigan

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