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January-February 2015

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Introduction to Tucson 2015: Minerals of Western Europe

As impossible as it may seem, that time is upon us once again. The 2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is here, along with its abundance of peripheral venues, great food, and briefly overpriced motels. After more than sixty years of annual shows, most with carefully chosen themes, one would think that there is little left to select as a show focus. There have been individual species such as gold and azurite and geographical areas such as Africa, Russia, and, of course, the United States. Still, however, one very obvious area has been ignored: Western Europe in its broadest sense. Everything considered, Western Europe is clearly the birthplace of modern crystallography and descriptive and geographical mineralogy. Great names in the science and our hobby such as Werner, Kirwan, Mohs, Jameson, Sowerby, Rashleigh, Naumann, Hintze, Haüy, and many others come to mind when we consider the eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and early twentieth-century contributions. Fortunately, investigation into the mineralogy and paragenesis of Western European mineral deposits continues unabated through the efforts of institutions of higher learning, major museums, and sophisticated and energetic amateurs. These efforts either directly or indirectly continue to replenish the supply of great mineral and fossil specimens as well as the occasional gemstone.

Dr. Robert B. Cook, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor emeritus in the Department of Geology and Geography at Auburn University.

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