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September-October 2014

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Chips from the Quarry

“TURN YOUR RADIO ON”: The Tucson Show is many different things to many different people. For Roarke “Rock” Lessing, of South Africa, the 2014 show was a huge step forward for his Crystal Clear Radio (CCR) project, an online source for interviews and discussions about minerals with mineral collectors, mineralogists, authors, editors, dealers, and others. Audio content is provided as podcasts and live streaming. CCR was the creation of Lessing in March 2013 when he combined his IT skills and his passion for, and incessant need to talk about, minerals. Most of the interviews are done by him, and although on serious subjects, they are informal and light-hearted and feature high-profile, well-known names in the mineral field: Jolyon Ralph, Bob Downs, Bruce Cairncross, Rainer Bode, and Rock Currier, to name but a few of the dozens with whom he has chatted. To listen to specific podcasts, visit; to listen to the live stream, use the following platforms: iTunes, (or the free Tunein App), and (app also available); to contact Lessing, email him at or see him, live and in person, at the upcoming Munich Show (

Rock Lessing (left), of Crystal Clear Radio, interviewing John Rakovan, executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, in June 2014, prior to the mindat-sponsored trip to Madagascar.

IN THIS ISSUE: Dallas has been spotlighted as a rising star in the mineral community during the past few months: first with the high-profile Heritage auctions of the Hoppel collection (see November/December 2013 issue, pages 516–526) and more recently with the fourth annual Dallas Mineral Symposium and related socials held this past August. That brings us to this issue's personal tour, led by authors Jim and Gail Copus Spann, of the highly touted Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall in Dallas's still relatively new Perot Museum of Nature and Science (pages 442–452).

The post that was read 'round the world first appeared on Internet news in April of this year, then was immediately reposted on Facebook and several mineral websites before being picked up by mainstream newspapers and magazines. We're talking, of course, about the announcement telling about the world's largest gold crystals and quoting none other than Rocks & Minerals' executive editor Dr. John Rakovan, who analyzed the crystals and summarizes in text and photographs the story behind the headlines (pages 404–406).

Another near-celebrity featured in the issue is author/artist Joe Dorris, of Manitou Springs, Colorado, but perhaps more widely known as one of the leading characters in the Weather Channel's recent “Prospectors” series. On pages 453–456, author Susan Robinson zeroes in on his creative side as a talented writer and producer of mineral and mining artwork. For those wanting to see more of Dorris's work, he will be set up, as Pinnacle 5 Minerals, at both David Waisman's Fine Mineral Show (, 6–9 September, in Golden, Colorado, and Martin Zinn's Denver Mineral and Fossil Show (, 7–14 September. (I would guess that participating in two shows with overlapping dates would also qualify him to add “magician” to his talents.)

MUNICH 2014: There's still time to get plans in place to attend the internationally renowned Munich Show, now in its fifty-first year and holding fast to its reputation as Europe's top show for minerals, gems, jewelry, and fossils. This year's theme is Treasures from Space; dates are 24–26 October. As always, Rocks & Minerals will be there with a booth, so do stop by to renew your subscription, purchase back issues, or just say “hello.”

WHAT A SITE: Is visiting the mineral and gem galleries at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History on your bucket list? If so, you can now check it off by going to website for a virtual tour that lets you zero in on the museum's halls, exhibits, and even individual specimens.

COMMEMORATIVE COIN: Ludmila Cheshko, of the Russian publications Mineralogical Almanac and Mineral Observer, kindly donated what will surely be a popular item to the upcoming online benefit auction for Rocks & Minerals, being conducted this 10–16 October by John Veevaert (Trinity Minerals). It was a commemorative coin denoting the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia, in February. Although spendable in Russia, the coin will likely be saved by the lucky highest bidder as a souvenir of the historic event.

Two sides of the same (Sochi) coin.

EARTH SCIENCE WEEK: Two thousand fourteen is the sixteenth year for this now-international annual event, which is organized by the American Geosciences Institute, a nonprofit federation of geoscientific professional associations. 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 2014 will be observed 12–18 October; its theme is Earth's Connected Systems. For the latest information on the many related activities, especially for teachers and schoolchildren, visit

NEW EDITOR NAMED: After an extensive international search during the past year, and with thirty-five applicants from ten countries, Dr. Jodi Rosso was selected as the next executive editor of Elements, a bimonthly magazine covering mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry. It is published by some seventeen geoscientific professional organizations worldwide. Since 2000, Rosso has been the series editor of Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, a joint publication of the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) and the Geochemical Society. She also serves as editor of the Monograph Series published by MSA. Rosso will replace Pierrette Tremblay, recipient of the MSA's 2013 Distinguished Public Service Medal, who will step down at the end of 2014 after ten years as executive editor.

CORRECTION: From Carole Atallah, assistant curator at the MIM Museum, comes a note that the size she provided for the cumengite in figure 28 of the article on the museum (March/April 2014, pages 134–146) was incorrect. It should have been 3 × 3 × 3 cm, not 5 × 13 × 10.5 cm.

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 and to the benefit auctions for Rocks & Minerals contributed toward color in the remaining columns and articles. All are thanked for partnering with Rocks & Minerals to support color photography in the magazine.

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