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January-February 2018

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Media Reviews

Crystal Growth & Development—Interpreted From A Mineral's Present Form by Boris Z. Kantor. Mineralogical Almanac, vol. 6. Ocean Pictures, Ltd., Moscow, Russia; In U.S. order from Terry Huizing, 128 pages; 2003; $45 (softbound).

Theme issues of journals are sometimes reviewed here if their topics are consistent with those of major events such as the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show®. Such is the case in this instance, and although Crystal Growth & Development has been out for almost fifteen years it continues to offer a refreshingly different perspective on crystal growth, development, and aggregation. The publication is a collection of the text of twenty-two talks, each with a catchy title, delivered by Boris Z. Kantor and illustrated by numerous specimen photographs and crystal and structure drawings.

The work begins with a foreword by well-known and respected collector Peter Lyckberg, who also assisted with style editing. In it he points out the historical and philosophical aspects of crystal growth and indeed crystallography itself. He further discusses the difficulties in translating certain concepts from Russian into English and points out that in some cases literal translation has been preserved to better convey the feeling of ideas and concepts. The foreword is followed by a somewhat flowery and poetic preface that informs the reader of what is to come.

The twenty-two talks, or chapters, that form the heart of the book begin with a talk titled “Crystals in Orderly Ranks” that deals with parallelism in crystal growth and aggregation—a very interesting way of looking at things we have all observed but likely passed by without a thought as to origin or meaning. To continue the oddly deceptive titles, Talk 2 is “Water Wears Away Stone.” This would be a chapter devoted to erosion and perhaps cave formations—right? No, instead it deals with solution and etching of crystals typified by gem beryl and topaz and discussed in recent years relative to garnet and tourmaline—again, a good discussion. Chapter, or Talk, 3 is devoted to “Self Healers” or “How Minerals Behave If Having Got Into Trouble.” Several excellent illustrations appear here that show formerly broken but now healed pyrite, topaz, and beryl crystals. By the time we get to Chapter 4 it is clear that each short “talk” reflects a favorite topic of author Kantor and his interesting way of grouping and discussing crystallographic features. This particular talk describes the “Grave Consequences of Irregular Nourishment.” Here skeletal and dendritic crystals are considered. Talks 5–8 are devoted to twins and twinning. One (Chapter, or Talk, 6) is called “Mimics” or “Twins that Are Quite Unlike Twins.” This is a good discussion of twinning that results in what appear to be single crystals such as in aragonite, for instance. Druses and loosely related crystal groups are discussed in the following several chapters, bringing the reader to a discussion (Talk 11) on circular or spherical aggregates. This is followed by a good explanation of roselike crystal aggregates and a subsequent continuation in Talks 13 and 14 that treats certain radial and sheaflike groups. Talk 15 presents hemimorphism and related topics. Stalactitic growth in silica, chalcedony, and the origin of agate are treated in Talks 16–19. Crystal growth from simple solutions that produce things such as salt aggregates and stalactites is discussed in Talk 20. Caves and cave mineral formation are discussed in Talk 21. A few closing thoughts are given in Chapter 22, which ends with a challenge to the reader to carefully examine a final fifteen photographs of crystals and crystal groups and to draw conclusions on what is observed. The book closes with a bibliography and an index.

The issue is illustrated with 142 color photographs, most of mineral specimens, and 72 instructive figures that graphically illustrate important growth mechanisms, habits, and structures. Characteristic of Mineralogical Almanac volumes of this vintage, the English is at times literal and quaint but understandable. The production quality is high with heavy glossy paper and sharply rendered illustrations. Advertisements are collected as the final pages of the work and are not distractively scattered throughout. Crystal Growth & Development is an interesting and worthwhile publication that has earned its place on the mineral collector's bookshelf.

The 39th Annual FM-MSA-TGMS Tucson Mineralogical Symposium CRYSTALS & CRYSTAL FORMS

Date: Saturday, February 10, 2018, 10 am–2 pm, Crystal Ballroom, Tucson Convention Center; Tucson Gem and Mineral Society Show®

Sponsors: Friends of Mineralogy, Mineralogical Society of America, Tucson Gem and Mineral Society

Organizers: Virgil Lueth,, and John Rakovan,


Speakers and Topics

1. John RakovanCrystals and Crystal Forms
2. Pete RichardsDistorted Crystals
3. Terry HuizingCalcite Twins
4. Barb DutrowHemimorphism: Symmetry and Forms in Tourmaline
5. Virgil LuethPseudomorphs of Magdalena
6. Herwig PelckmansMultiple Forms on Isometric Crystals
7. John JaszczakSphalerite & Wurtzite Polytypism and Morphology
8. John WhiteCollecting Single Crystals
9. Marcus OriglieriCrystal Drawing Programs and the AMCSDB
10. John JaszczakBreaking the Law: Exceptions to the Classical Laws of Crystallography
11. William CorduraThe Many Forms and Habits of Chalcocite at the Flambeau Mine


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