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November-December 2014

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Chips from the Quarry

IN THIS ISSUE: Michigan's Upper Peninsula has been making the news the past few months. The A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum got a new curator (January/February 2014 issue, page 97); agates were collected underwater in Lake Superior, Keweenaw County (July/August 2014 issue, pages 346–352); and the annual Keweenaw Mineral Days was held in the Copper Country in August (July/August issue, page 301). Now, in this issue, comes news of a new mineral find at the Manganese mine in Upper Michigan, described on pages 548–552, and a detailed, illustrated article on the Manganese mine itself on pages 498–513. Plus, you'll find a newly published book on iron-range minerals in Upper Michigan and elsewhere critiqued in the Media Reviews column.

SPEAKING OF COPPER: Copper and copper minerals comprised a grand special exhibition at the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Show this past June. Under the capable direction of Alain Martaud, important copper specimens from museums worldwide captivated collectors and photographers alike in a museum-like setting. Professional informational signage, maps, video footage, whimsical floor-to-ceiling twists of shiny copper wire, and, of course, exquisite specimens had visitors returning for a second look.

One of the copper specimens in the special copper exhibition at the 2014 Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Show in June. The 10 × 15-cm specimen is from Kolwezi, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, and is owned by the National Museum of Natural History of Luxembourg.

But that was then, and this is now, which is when you can see fine copper specimens on display at the Mineralogical Museum at the University of Delaware in Newark. They are on loan from the collection of California collector Peter H. Farquhar. For details, see the Museum Notes column on pages 557–558 of this issue.

NAMESSAKE MINERALS: Bruce Cairncross, featured in this issue's Who's Who in Mineral Names column (cairncrossite, pages 545–546), joins a growing number of our editorial board members who have been honored by having a mineral named after them. These include Carl Francis (carlfrancisite), Anthony Kampf (kampfite), John Rakovan (rakovanite), George Robinson (robinsonite), and John White (whiteite).

CHEERS! In the May/June issue we wrote about mineral collectors having their own music, thanks to the CD put out by miner/collector/dealer/musician David Joyce. Well, now collectors can also have their own wine, which they can drink in their very own mineral wine glasses, thanks to mineral collector/wine master Brett Keller of California's Mother Lode region.

For your drinking pleasure, specialty mineral wines, from Brett Keller's California vineyard, and mineral-logo wine glasses.

Mineral Wines, begun in 2009 by Keller, creates award-winning wines with a mineral theme. Each variety he produces has a different mineral on its label, featuring watercolor art by Frederick Wilda and the photographic talents of Jeff Scovil and Joe Budd. And, of course, the premium wines just taste better in Mineral Wines' classy wine glasses with their etched mineral logos. The wines made their debut in Tucson in 2012 at Trinity Mineral Company's home show. In 2013 they were again presented there and also in the showroom of Weinrich Minerals at the Westward Look Show.

Brett Keller setting up for a wine tasting at the 2014 Tucson Show.

Keller's background includes a bachelor's degree in viticulture (growing of grapes) and enology (study of wine) from Fresno State University and more than fifteen years' winemaking experience. His wines have won numerous gold medals and best of show awards at California's most prestigious wine competitions, so this is the “good stuff.” His Mineral Wines collection was available at the 2014 East Coast Show in Springfield, Massachusetts, in mid-August and at the San Francisco Gem and Mineral Show later that month. Come February, I'm sure he will be back at Tucson making happy hour just that much happier.

As a mineral collector, Keller specializes in small miniatures and has twice won best of show honors at the Tucson Show, including in 2014. The website www.mineralwines.com tells more about Keller, his minerals, and his prize-winning wines, including ordering details.

GIVING BACK: We know that organizations (mineral clubs, federations, and show sponsors) give scholarships, but how often does an individual sponsor a scholarship on a continuing basis. Dr. Robert J. Lauf, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has made such a commitment. For the second year he has sponsored the DHZ (for Deer, Howie, and Zussman) Award for Excellence in Mineralogy to a student in the Department of Geosciences at East Tennessee University. With the award came a scholarship along with a personal letter from Dr. Jack Zussman himself. The presentation was made by Lauf to Lindsey Farris, the department's top mineralogy student in 2013, on Earth Day, 22 April 2014.

Lindsey Farris (left) received the second annual DHZ Award for Excellence in Mineralogy from Dr. Robert J. Lauf, award sponsor.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: What's more fun than browsing through those vintage photographs posted on Facebook's Throwback Thursday. In the same spirit of nostalgia, as the final illustration in this column, we've added a photo, taken by Gail Spann, that combines yesteryear with the present.

Talk about Throwback Thursday: A 2013 photo of John S. White, who founded the Mineralogical Record in 1970, holding a copy of the periodical's first issue, posed in front of a picture of that issue and himself ca. 1970. Gail Spann photo, staged by Jim Spann.

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 Minerals) did the same for the Museum Notes column. Donors to the Color fund contributed toward color in the remaining columns and articles. All are thanked for partnering with Rocks & Minerals to support color photography in the magazine.

In this Issue

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