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January-February 2014

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Chips from the Quarry

A DIAMOND-STUDDED TUCSON: For mineral collectors, February is synonymous with the world's greatest gem and mineral event, the mighty, magnificent Tucson Show, which encompasses weeks of satellite shows, social events, meetings, and reunions with counterparts from around the globe. But the heart of the Tucson experience is the Main Show, and this year that "heart" will be celebrating its sixtieth (diamond) anniversary.

As always, the show will be held at the Tucson Convention Center. Dates are 13-16 February-how appropriate that with diamonds being highlighted, the show will be open on Valentine's Day. Visitors can expect lots of dazzle and sparkle, with plans calling for the venue to be awash with diamonds! This special diamond issue of Rocks & Minerals is but a taste of what awaits those who come.

Caption: Finders keepers is what has field collectors coming back to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, where for a fee visitors can hunt for diamonds. Pictured is twelve-year-old Michael Dettlaff of Apex, North Carolina, who found a 5.16-carat diamond after just ten minutes of searching on his first visit to the park this past summer.

Caption: Finders keepers is what has field collectors coming back to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, where for a fee visitors can hunt for diamonds. Pictured is twelve-year-old Michael Dettlaff of Apex, North Carolina, who found a 5.16-carat diamond after just ten minutes of searching on his first visit to the park this past summer.

Caption: A close-up of the gemmy honey-brown diamond, the twenty-seventh largest diamond found by a park visitor since the park opened in 1972.

Caption: A close-up of the gemmy honey-brown diamond, the twenty-seventh largest diamond found by a park visitor since the park opened in 1972.

DIAMONDS-A LOOK BACK: In planning articles for this special issue, care was taken to not duplicate diamond subjects covered in past issues. These include, in chronological order, the following columns and feature articles:

  • Rock Chips (column): "Diamonds in the Great Lakes Region" by R. Dirk Titamgim (May/June 1987, pages 195-196)

  • Connoisseur's Choice (column): "Diamond, Jagersfontein Mine, Free State Province, South Africa" by Robert B. Cook (September/October 2000, pages 344-349)

  • "Colorado Diamonds: An Update" by Jack A. Murphy (September/October 2000, pages 350-352)

  • Let's Get It Right (column): "The Hope Diamond Weighs 45.52 Carats" by John S. White (May/June 2002, page 191)

  • "Canadian Diamonds: Obscurity to Center Stage" by Warren F. Boyd (July/August 2006, pages 278-283)

  • "Diamonds in Western Australia" by Peter J. Downes and Alex W. R. Bevan (January/February 2007, pages 66-73)

  • "A Namibian Adventure" by Terry E. Huizing and Anthony R. Kampf (November/December 2008, pages 486-500)

  • "The Jewell Gem: Rediscovery of a Historic Arkansas Diamond" by Jim Houran (November/December 2008, pages 502-507)

  • "Diamonds of Russia" by Galina F. Anastasenko and Michael B. Leybov (November/December 2008, pages 508-517)

We'll close out the diamond portion of this "Chips" column with a quote attributed to Zsa Zsa Gabor: "I never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back" (Houran, November/December 2008, page 502, Rocks & Minerals).

YOUR TUCSON TO-DO LIST: The scope of all that goes on in Tucson during the weeks leading up to the Main Show is such that it's impossible to do everything. However, there are a few events that should be on your calendar.

On 18-19 January, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, on Kinney Road, is sponsoring its annual Mineral Madness, offering families the opportunity to learn more about minerals and to add treasures to their collections. Included in the weekend are mineral activity stations; free egg-carton collections for kids; micromount viewing; mineral painting; fossil, gemstone, and jewelry demonstrations; and a mineral sale with thousands of specimens in all price ranges.

Another not-to-be-missed annual event is the reception at the University of Arizona Mineral Museum in the Flandrau Science Center, this year being held the evening of Thursday, 6 February. Arizona Collectors is the theme for the occasion as well as for the museum's special exhibition, which will feature select specimens from the collections of several Arizonians, including, among several others, Gene Meieran, Peter Megaw, Wendell Wilson, Richard Graeme, Les Presmyk, Evan Jones, and Barbara Muntyan. Refreshments will be served before the featured speaker takes the podium. Please note that although the display will run for several weeks, the reception is by invitation only.

Two Friends of Mineralogy (FM) activities will again take place at Martin Zinn's Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show at the Hotel Tucson City Center (formerly the InnSuites). The FM general meeting and social is planned for 11 February, and the FM board will have a breakfast meeting on 14 February. As last year, dinosaur models, as many as there's room for, ranging in size from 3-foot babies through 15-foot adults, will be stretching and roaring on the hotel's grounds.

David Waisman's Fine Mineral Show at the Westward Look Resort on Ina Road will have its now-traditional Collector Day on 8 February, from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Featured in the resort's lobby will be Al and Sue Liebetrau, of Powell Butte, Oregon, and an exhibition of specimens from their award-winning collection. The following evening, 9 February, is the Sunday social (beginning at 6:30) and program (at 7:30) in the Sonoran Ballroom, with Daniel Trinchillo speaking on "The Pederneira Mine: A Rainbow of Colors."

The celebration commemorating Michael Leybov and Ludmila Cheshko's twenty years of publishing, in English, about Russian localities and minerals had to be postposed last year because of Michael's health problems. So, the reception will be held this year, the evening of 11 February, in celebration of twenty-one years. The place is the same, the International Fine Minerals Building of the Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show at the Riverpark Inn Hotel on South Freeway Road. Friends and well-wishers are welcome to join the festivities, which include jazz entertainment, refreshments, complimentary valet parking, and more than a few surprises. Readers will recall that Dona Leicht wrote about this dedicated, energetic pair in her "People Behind the Publications" series in the September/October 2011 issue ("Behind the Scenes at Mineralogical Almanac," pages 408-412). The show has also scheduled several other evening activities, including talks by Federico Pezzotto, Jolyon Ralph, Gail Spann, Jeff Swanger, David London, Federico Barlocher, and Stanley Keith. Receptions follow the presentations. Check the show website (www.pueblogemshow.com) for dates and times.

COME SEE US: You'll find Rocks & Minerals at three locations again this year. We'll be set up in the Ballroom at the Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show in the Hotel Tucson City Center 1-11 February. We then move to the Main Show, which opens on 13 February. The evening of 9 February we'll have a table at the Sunday evening program at the Westward Look Show.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Many thanks are extended to all the authors of this special Diamond Issue, especially Eloïse Gaillou for lending her expertise by coauthoring two articles and reviewing several others. Contributions aside, she also wins points for meeting deadlines, an attribute dear to an editor's heart. In addition, we thank Mark Mauthner for providing color-match prints for many of the photographs.

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, and 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 and also toward the addition of an 8-page signature. All are thanked for partnering with Rocks & Minerals to enhance the publication with color photography and extra pages.

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