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September-October 2017

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Chips from the Quarry

GOLD CRYSTALS: Real or Fake? Ever since gold crystals, some hoppered and some pseudomorphs after pyrite, from the Bodaibo area, Eastern Siberia, Russia, put in an appearance at the 2013 Munich Show, and later at the 2016 Fine Mineral Show in Tucson, the question regarding their authenticity has continued to spark controversy, with supporters and naysayers firmly entrenched on both sides. Collaborators and authors John Rakovan, Volker Lüders, Andreas Massanek, and Gert Nolze delved into the subject, compiled research, and ran multiple tests to come up with an answer. The results of their extensive study begin on page 410.

Striated gold cubes, 1.3 cm on edge, associated with pyrite and goethite/hematite-replaced pyrite, Bodaibo ore district, Eastern Siberia, collected in 1970. Marcus Budil specimens, Malte Sickinger photos.

Striated gold cubes, 1.3 cm on edge, associated with pyrite and goethite/hematite-replaced pyrite, Bodaibo ore district, Eastern Siberia, collected in 1970. Marcus Budil specimens, Malte Sickinger photos.

SILVER CRYSTALS: As with the gold crystals, wire silver specimens have generated their fair share of skepticism. Are they natural or manmade is the question being raised and debated by curators, dealers, and collectors alike, whether in satellite show hallways, museum galleries, or over late-night mugs of beer after show closings. Finally a group, the Mineralogical Research Initiative, is tackling the question head-on in the laboratory. Who's involved? What are the group's aims and goals? Has any progress been made? See the full-page special announcement on the following page for all the project details. Preliminary results were part of the July/August 2017 Connoisseur's Choice column (pages 345–354) on wire silver and wire gold by Calvin J. Anderson and John Rakovan.

SCOVIL EXHIBITION: We all enjoy Jeff Scovil's marvelous mineral photographs in mineral periodicals and books published 'round the world, on international show posters, even on mineral tee-shirts, calendars, notecards, and coffee mugs. Now comes the opportunity to see them super-sized in a special exhibition of his work in the newly opened, at the end of March, Huangshi Geo-Science Museum in Hubei Province, China. The 16,000-square-meter display area includes five halls: a Mineral Hall, a Fossil Hall, the Guanghua Liu Private Collection Hall, an Interactive Museum, and, until the end of September, the Scovil Photo Gallery. Altogether there are 240 mounted photographs, the largest assembled grouping of Scovil's work ever displayed. Photo sizes range from 42 × 60 cm to 84 × 119 cm. The photo exhibition culminates with the Huangshi Mineral and Fossil Show, 26–30 September, which will be held in the 260,000-square-meter Mineral Expo Park, a commercial complex that houses the Geo-Science Museum along with twenty-five shopping buildings for stone, mineral, and fossil trading and related businesses.

The entryway to the Scovil Photography Exhibition, organized by Dr. Guanghua Liu of AAA Minerals International, at the Huangshi Geo-Science Museum in Hubei Province, central China.

The entryway to the Scovil Photography Exhibition, organized by Dr. Guanghua Liu of AAA Minerals International, at the Huangshi Geo-Science Museum in Hubei Province, central China.

Scovil's photographs span some thirty years of mineral photography.

Scovil's photographs span some thirty years of mineral photography.

Scovil's mineral photography is as breath-taking as the specimens themselves.

Scovil's mineral photography is as breath-taking as the specimens themselves.

WILLIAM “Bill” W. PINCH: The mineral community was saddened to learn of Bill Pinch's death on 1 April of this year. A memorial service was held in his home city of Rochester, New York, in April. In February there will be a memorial service in Tucson, Arizona, and the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium (RMS) will celebrate his many achievements at next year's symposium in April.

One of Pinch's most significant contributions to the mineral community, of course, was his role in the initial RMS back in 1974 and his continued influence on the event for many years thereafter. He helped build the symposium into an internationally recognized annual event, setting the highest standards for speakers, exhibits, and congeniality, as noted by current committee members. He began the annual What's New in Minerals, still a popular part of the weekend's program. He also began the annual production of Program Notes. With the thirteenth RMS, formal leadership passed to others, but Pinch continued to serve as an advisor. With his support the Technical Session was added to the agenda, and important mineralogical works were reprinted, including Goldschmidt's Atlas der Krystallformen.

At the twenty-fifth RMS, Pinch gave the keynote address: “Fifty Years of Mineral Collecting—Twenty-five Years of the Symposium.” The previous year the symposium had donated proceeds of its annual auction to the funding effort for the Canadian Museum of Nature to purchase the Pinch mineral collection, establishing yet another legacy.

The In Memoriam column in this issue, by Robert Lavinsky and Robert Downs, pays tribute to Pinch and provides insight into the many other contributions to the mineral community by this legendary collector.

EARTH SCIENCE WEEK: The twentieth annual Earth Science Week is being observed 8–14 October. An international event, the week is sponsored by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and has as its theme Earth and Human Activity. And again this year it's a twofer: National Fossil Day will be celebrated midweek, on 11 October. For the latest information on the many related activities, especially for teachers and schoolchildren, visit www.earthsciweek.org.

Through the years the number of organizations supporting Earth Science Week has grown to the point that, in addition to AGI, it now includes the U.S. Geological Survey, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation, the National Park Service, NASA, Esri, the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, the Association of American State Geologists, AmericaView, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Archeological Institute of America.

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 (on tsumcorite in this issue); Laura Delano of LLD Productions, Inc. did the same for the Museum Notes column. Donors to the Color Fund and to the benefit auction held in conjunction with the Dallas Mineral Symposium this past August contributed toward color in the remaining columns and articles. All are thanked for partnering with Rocks & Minerals to support color photography in the magazine.

M.E.H.

 

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