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January-February 2016

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Chips from the Quarry

BLUE FEBRUARY: Back in 1957, Elvis may have had a blue December when, wearing his blue suede shoes, he recorded the rock-and-roll holiday classic Blue Christmas, but collectors heading to the 2016 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® will be having a blue February because of the event's theme—Shades of Blue: Minerals of the World.

SHADES OF BLUE, a Tucson preview. Apatite, 61.6 carats, from Madagascar.

Likewise, this expanded issue of Rocks & Minerals has more shades of blue than an artist's palette as we take a closer look at blue minerals, large and small (“Baby Blues”), causes of the blue color of minerals (“Blue's Clues”), blue state gemstones, blue mineral stamps, even blue lava and blue mineral pigments in paints (“Blue's Hues”). Thanks to several photographers, the issue is lavishly illustrated with something(s) borrowed, something(s) blue.

Spinel, 14.33 carats, from Muhuwest, Tanzania.

The blue-ribbon show itself, now in its sixty-second year, will be held 11–14 February at the Tucson Convention Center. For more information about its dealers, exhibitors, lectures, and annual symposium, see

Indicolite, 35.38 carats, from Neu Schwaben, Namibia.

AND THERE'S MORE: Many related activities swirl throughout the city for weeks before and during the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, or as it's more familiarly called, the “Main Show.” Bring your walking shoes if your plans include visiting the approximately fifty satellite shows scattered wherever space can be found—from fancy hotels and halls to rental housing, newly erected tents of all sizes, vacant buildings, and parking lots—and enterprising individuals with their folding tables alongside roadways and on street corners.

Tanzanite, 35.66 carats, from Block C, Merelani, Tanzania. Mark Mauthner photos, courtesy Heritage Auctions.

Early arrivals will want to take in the twenty-third annual Mineral Madness Showcase and Sale held at Tucson's Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, on Kinney Road, the weekend of 16–17 January. It offers families the opportunity to learn more about minerals and to add treasures to their collections. Included 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.

On Friday, 5 February, the University of Arizona Mineral Museum in the Flandrau Science Center, is hosting an invitation-only (because of space limitations) reception beginning at 5 P.M. This popular event traditionally includes refreshments, a special exhibition around a theme with invited exhibitors, and a prominent speaker. This year that theme centers on Harvard University's Mineralogical and Geological Museum and the role it has played as a leader in mineralogical matters for the past three hundred or so years. Likewise, the exhibition, which continues for a year, will feature specimens from the Harvard collection, with emphasis on the museum's donors, collections, curators, and research. The speaker will be Dr. Raquel Alonso-Perez, curator of the Harvard collection.

A vision in blue is this watercolor of benitoite painted by Fred Wilda in 2001 and now in the permanent collection of the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum. The painting is 11″ × 14″; framed it's 16″ × 20″.

Coming up next, on Saturday, 6 February, David Waisman's Fine Mineral Show at the Westward Look Resort presents its annual Collector Day in the resort's lobby, this year showcasing the collection of Evan Jones, of Scottsdale, Arizona. The following evening, 7 February, is the show's Sunday social (beginning at 6:30) and program (beginning at 7:30) in the Sonoran Ballroom, featuring a well-known speaker. Another of the evening's highlights is the presentation of the American Mineral Heritage Award, established by the Mineralogical Record.

The Hotel Tucson City Center, home of Martin Zinn's Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show, is also home once again for two Friends of Mineralogy (FM) events. The FM general meeting and social is planned for Tuesday, 9 February, and the FM board will have a breakfast meeting on Saturday, 13 February. Further details will be in the show's program.

Another hotel, the Riverpark Inn Hotel, site of the Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show, has scheduled its sixth annual series of evening talks by prominent mineralogists. On Tuesday, 2 February, Dr. Raquel Alonso-Perez (Harvard University Mineralogical and Geological Museum) and Dr. Cristiano Ferraris (Muséum National d'Historie Naturelle, Paris) will speak; on Friday, 5 February, Mr. Alan D. Hart (Natural History Museum, London) and Mr. Federico Barlocher (Switzerland and Myanmar) will be featured. The talks are preceded by a courtyard reception on both nights.

WHERE WE'LL BE: In addition to attending as many social activities as time permits, we'll be set up with a Rocks & Minerals booth at three locations: the Ballroom at the Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show in the Hotel Tucson City Center, 28 January–9 February; the Sunday evening program at the Westward Look Show, 7 February; and the Main Show, 11–14 February.

A WARM WELCOME: We begin the year with the addition of Günther Neumeier's name to our masthead as a consulting editor. Although new to our editorial board, he is certainly not new to the publishing world. His depth of experience comes from being on the staff of the German periodical Lapis, extraLapis English, and the Mineralogical Record. His depth of mineralogical knowledge comes from having a doctorate in mineralogy and also teaching mineralogy, geology, sedimentology, and microscopy at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. For the past year he has been doing everything from reviewing and translating articles for Rocks & Minerals, suggesting author and article leads, helping in our subscription booth at shows, and transporting and storing issues between shows, to preparing the composite map for November/December's Belvidere Mountain article. We are honored to have him onboard.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: A tip of the hard hat is extended to the authors in this special Shades of Blue issue, to William Besse for preparing several maps, and to the photographers for kindly providing so many wonderful photographs.

Maryanne and John Fender (Fender Minerals) underwrote color costs associated with the Museum Notes column. The Houston Gem and Mineral Society, in memory of Arthur E. Smith, and the Cincinnati Mineral Society did the same for the Connoisseur's Choice column. Donors to the Color Fund and to the Dallas Symposium's Benefit Auction contributed toward color in the remaining articles and also toward the additional pages of editorial content in this and other issues. All are thanked for partnering with Rocks & Minerals to enhance the publication with color photography and extra pages.       

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