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November-December 2016

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Chips from the Quarry

COLORFUL PAGES: Have you ever wanted a chartreuse specimen? How about a yellow and orange one? Purple and red? Well, now's your chance. Coloring books for adults are currently all the rage, being touted as fun, relaxing, creative, and bringing out our “inner child.” Following up on this craze, in this issue artist/author Susan Robinson has chosen to focus on you, the reader, rather than on a famed mineral or fossil artist. She has designed two mosaic pages for you to color, one on minerals and one on fossils. She also prepared a page of instructions and has but one request: that you send her your best efforts so she can choose some to publish. Remember: be creative; these are fantasy pages. The fun begins on page 566.

THREE HUNDRED AND COUNTING: This year marks the incredible 300th anniversary of the Fersman Mineralogical Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. To commemorate the occasion, Consulting Editor Michael Leybov and his coauthors document in text and photographs the museum's history in this issue, beginning on page 530. On 22–25 November the museum will host a worldwide conference dedicated to its 300th anniversary. The celebration continues in Tucson in February 2017 at an event hosted by the Pueblo Gem and Mineral Show at Riverpark Inn Hotel (look for details in this column in the January/February issue).

FIELD COLLECTING ARTICLES: If subscribers were polled regarding their favorite type of article, I'm sure most would say they like reading about collecting in the field. After all, what hooked most of us was the chance to get out in mines, quarries, road cuts, and streambeds and personally find the specimens we added to our collections. Now, even if most of our specimens are purchased, we are still field collectors at heart. This issue lets us collect vicariously through the articles of field collectors in Washington State, New York State, and Quebec, Canada.

Collector tales from the field, as featured in this issue, are also popular as talks, as evidenced by John Cornish, a favored speaker at mineral events, shown here collecting crocoite in Tasmania's Adelaide mine.

Collector tales from the field, as featured in this issue, are also popular as talks, as evidenced by John Cornish, a favored speaker at mineral events, shown here collecting crocoite in Tasmania's Adelaide mine.

FIELD COLLECTING TALKS: Just as exciting as reading about collecting, is hearing the stories. And one of the most in-demand speakers is field collector John Cornish of Port Angeles, Washington. For the past few years his talks have been tantalizing audiences with tales of collecting a variety of minerals in the Western United States and also crocoite in Tasmania. In August he spoke at the Dallas Symposium, in September at the Denver Fine Mineral Show, in November he will be speaking at the Socorro Symposium, in January at the Mineral Enthusiasts of the Tucson Area (META) meeting, and in April at the Rochester Symposium.

Although the mineral community associates Cornish with minerals, he also gives talks about his field-collecting adventures collecting fossils. In fact, in August 1993 he literally made a whale of a fossil find in the sediment beds in the old, now-reclaimed, Twin River quarry in Clallam County, Washington. While working the quarry beds, he discovered and over the next several days collected fossil whale bones that had been strewn over a several-meter-square area by a large bulldozer during the course of performing its mining duties. Soon after Cornish's discovery, he donated the whale to the Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Burke Museum, where it was prepared and is on display. The whale as recovered is just under 5 meters in length.

Even more exciting, in July of this year Cornish was notified that the whale was a new vertebrate fossil species and had been named Sitsqwayk cornishorum in his honor.

HONORED: For nearly forty years, Dona Mary Dirlam has served the global gem community with unsurpassed passion and expertise as the founder and director of the Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center. On 25 July, she was honored for her innovative work with the Women's Jewelry Association's (WJA) Award for Excellence in Special Services during the group's annual ceremony, held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

Dona Dirlam, director of GIA's Richard T. Liddicoat Gemologial Library and Information Center and now recipient of the WJA Award for Excellence in Special Services.

Dona Dirlam, director of GIA's Richard T. Liddicoat Gemologial Library and Information Center and now recipient of the WJA Award for Excellence in Special Services.

Appointed the GIA library's director in 1995, Dirlam has grown the collection to more than 57,000 books, 700 journals and magazine titles, 175,000 digital images, more than 1,800 videos and DVDs, and the Cartier Rare Book Collection—making it the world's largest repository of information on gems and jewelry. She was also the driving force behind the GIA's project to digitize the collection's rarest holdings and make them available at https://archive.org/details/gialibrary.

I was especially pleased to learn of this honor because through the years Dirlam's was the smiling voice that countless times pointed me in the right direction when I called with questions. Her guidance always led to the answers I sought. Thus I join GIA in congratulating her for being selected for this prestigious award.

CARNEGIE AWARD REMINDER: Nominations for the 2016 Carnegie Mineralogical Award are being accepted through 15 December. They should be submitted to Marc L. Wilson, Section of Minerals, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213; wilsonm@carnegiemnh.org.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions that promote mineralogical preservation, conservation, and education, ideals embodied in the museum's Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems. The award is open to individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions. Private mineral enthusiasts, collectors, educators, curators, and mineral clubs and societies as well as museums and universities are eligible.

A SNEAK PREVIEW—MIDWEST FEATURED: The January/February issue will, as always, be an expanded issue and will be devoted to the theme of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Sho®, which in 2017 is Mineral Treasures of the Midwest. For the past year, authors, reviewers, and photographers have been working to make it an important addition to your library.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: As always, there are many individuals and groups to thank for their continued support of the magazine. 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.       

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