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September-October 2013

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Chips from the Quarry

SERIES CONTINUES: While baseball fans have their World Series to look forward to this fall, Rocks & Minerals has its own series, the Copper Country Series on the mines and minerals of Upper Michigan. In this issue you'll find Tom Rosemeyer's article on Michigan's St. Louis mine, his twentieth in the series. This series dates back to November/December 1996, and many of the issues are now sold out. There's a complete list of articles and their availability, together with ordering information, as a sidebar to the article (see page 411).

Also under the heading of Michigan mineral news, George Robinson and Shawn Carlson have updated Robinson's Mineralogy of Michigan, published in 2004. The update corrects typos and other errors in the book and also describes about fifty new mineral occurrences and/or species new to the state of Michigan since 2004. The update can be downloaded free of charge from Michigan Tech's website: www.museum.mtu.edu/new/museum.news.htm. The plan is for these reports to become an ongoing project with periodic updates posted.

TOURMALINE REVISITED: Although our July/August issue featured a cluster of articles on tourmaline (as a tie-in with the September Denver Show's theme of Tourmaline), we're revisiting the subject in this issue's Connoisseur's Choice column. Guest columnist Robert Cook provides an up-close-and-personal look at buergerite—recently renamed fluor-buergerite—a member of the tourmaline supergroup.

PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTION: Heading up our article list for the November/December issue will be a report on the first-ever China (Changsha) Gem and Mineral Show, held 16–20 May of this year and attended by many top U.S. dealers and collectors, including Peter Megaw who will share his impressions of the show as well as his photos. In the meantime, to whet our appetites, he's dangling a few pictures and comments in this issue. As a thirty-plus-year member of the team that puts on the mighty Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, Peter is in a unique position to provide perspective on this international event.

The welcoming banner at the China (Changsha) Gem and Mineral Show, held earlier this year. “Note the front rank of mineral dealers. Some of the first ones encountered were Arkenstone, Collector's Edge, and Kristalle … foreign dealers got pride of place. The second floor was devoted to jewelry and opal and gem dealers” [Peter Megaw].

The welcoming banner at the China (Changsha) Gem and Mineral Show, held earlier this year. “Note the front rank of mineral dealers. Some of the first ones encountered were Arkenstone, Collector's Edge, and Kristalle … foreign dealers got pride of place. The second floor was devoted to jewelry and opal and gem dealers” [Peter Megaw].

Ah, the food! “This ‘rocks as food’ exhibit was one of the most popular exhibits at the Changsha Show. The woman who put it together apparently made three of them and had sold two (at $200,000 each) midway through the show” [Peter Megaw].

Ah, the food! “This ‘rocks as food’ exhibit was one of the most popular exhibits at the Changsha Show. The woman who put it together apparently made three of them and had sold two (at $200,000 each) midway through the show” [Peter Megaw].

Now for some of his random sound bites, delivered directly from the show: “Overall the show has its share of speed bumps, as one would expect for a first-time show, especially one as ambitious as this, with its 1,200 dealers and its aim to be the ‘Tucson of Asia.’ One of the realities of Chinese collectors is they like BIG rocks. And they carve special custom wooden bases for each piece. Also, it is hard to get locality information—typically the labels give no more than province. Another reality is the incredibly limited number of species represented in the show, especially from China. Fluorite, calcite, and quartz are everywhere … arsenopyrite, scheelite, babingtonite, ilvaite, pyromorphite, and cinnabar are much harder to find. Hospitality is wonderful, the food also (with some interesting excursions into ‘delicacies’), and they very cleverly brought in a group of delightful college students majoring in English to translate.”

Bigger is better! “This yellow calcite is about the size of a Volkswagon! Crystals are perfect and the color is wonderful. It is part of the private collection of Mr. Xiao, a major collector and backer of the Changsha Show. A room the size of the one we use for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show's Saturday night banquet is filled with such pieces … all enormous” [Peter Megaw].

Bigger is better! “This yellow calcite is about the size of a Volkswagon! Crystals are perfect and the color is wonderful. It is part of the private collection of Mr. Xiao, a major collector and backer of the Changsha Show. A room the size of the one we use for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show's Saturday night banquet is filled with such pieces … all enormous” [Peter Megaw].

The rest of the story? You'll have to wait for the next issue (so make sure your subscription is up-to-date).

A SECOND PREVIEW PEEK: Another not-to-be-missed article in the November/December issue will be a firsthand recap of the Heritage Auction of the Hoppel Collection of fine minerals, held in Dallas, Texas, on 2 June. Starting with the preview reception on 30 May and culminating with the auction itself, Gail and Jim Spann will provide a ringside review of the fun and festivities and the record-breaking bids, along with photos of a selection of the breath-taking specimens from this historic event.

After a frenzy of spirited bidding, this spectacular 15.5-inch rose quartz specimen, La Madona Rosa, from Lavra Berilo Branco, Sapucaia do Norte, Galiléia, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil, had a winning bid (before buyer's premium) of $550,000 at the Heritage Auction.

After a frenzy of spirited bidding, this spectacular 15.5-inch rose quartz specimen, La Madona Rosa, from Lavra Berilo Branco, Sapucaia do Norte, Galiléia, Doce Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil, had a winning bid (before buyer's premium) of $550,000 at the Heritage Auction.

The second of the three Heritage auctions of specimens from the Hoppel collection will take place 20 October. That's as of this writing; the event may be expanded, so before you make plans, check website HA.com for the latest information. As with the first auction, bids can be live from the floor as well as online and by fax, mail, and phone.

GIVING BACK: Dr. Robert Lauf, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has established a mineralogy scholarship in the geosciences department of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. Lauf, a member of the adjunct faculty at the university, has designated the annual scholarship as the DHZ Award, honoring Profs. William Alexander Deer, Robert A. Howie, and Jack Zussman and the tradition of excellence in mineralogical study that they exemplified for more than half a century.

The first scholarship was presented to Joshua Day (pictured here), a senior in the department and the top-scoring student in mineralogy. He has been accepted in graduate school at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.

Joshua Day (left) receives the DHZ Award for Excellence in Mineralogy from Dr. Robert Lauf, award sponsor.

Joshua Day (left) receives the DHZ Award for Excellence in Mineralogy from Dr. Robert Lauf, award sponsor.

Lauf has written at least a dozen books on various mineral groups in a monograph series published by Schiffer Publishing. He has also written several articles for Rocks & Minerals, the most recent being “Collector's Guide to the Epidote Group,” published in the September/October 2011 issue (pages 444–455); his next article is titled “Collector's Guide to the Eudialyte Group” and will appear in an upcoming issue.

EARTH SCIENCE WEEK: Two thousand thirteen is the fifteenth year for this annual event, which is hosted by the American Geological Institute, a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. The week was established to give students and others new opportunities to discover the earth sciences and to encourage stewardship on our planet.

Earth Science Week 2013 will be observed 13–19 October; its theme is Mapping Our World. For the latest information on the many associated activities, in general and also state-by-state, visit www.earthsciweek.org.

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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