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Munich show 2005.

[October 28-30, 2005]

The Munich Show this year was greeted by spectacularly fine and sunny weather--a nice "welcome back" for my first trip to the Show since 1991. No longer held at the old Messegelande ("Fair-grounds") by the Theresian Meadow where Oktoberfest still takes place, the Mineralientage Munchen ("Munich Mineral Days") now sets up well out of town at the sprawling new fair complex called the Neue Messe Munchen. Big is the word at this facility--16 show halls are available, each of them about as large as the Exhibition Hall at the Tucson Convention Center. The subway provides easy access from the hotels downtown--the two subway stops are named Messestadt ("Fairgrounds City") Ost ("East") and West, the Ost being closest to the three halls occupied by the Munich Show, A4, A5 and A6. I'm told that, big as the Munich Show seems, it is nevertheless the smallest event held each year at the Neue Messe.


Johannes Keilmann, the long-time head honcho of the Munich Show, has passed the administrative reins to his son Christian, retaining for himself what might be termed "creative control"; that is, he still conceives and organizes the thematic aspects (the fun part!). Keilmann has long been famous for his elaborate and beautifully executed theme exhibits which are actually temporary museums in their own right. The main theme of the Show this year was "Agate Dreams," and Keilmann gathered together a museum of worldwide agate specimens that far exceeded, in scope and quality, any such assemblage ever shown anywhere. It occupied a specially constructed multi-room building that by itself took up about a sixth of Hall A6. Individual rooms were devoted to agates from "overseas," agates from the U.S., agates from Germany, agates from Europe, eye agates, agate phenomena, agates from the Edinburgh Museum, master agate-carvers from Idar-Oberstein, pietre dura artworks made from agate, and agates from the Museum Schloss Bertholdsburg in Scheusingen/Thuringia, Germany. Dave Wilber's exhibit of beautiful Argentinian "Condor" agates was particularly interesting for a while, inasmuch as he absent-mindedly left a sandwich on display in the locked case, and it was quite some time before he could get officials to re-open the case for him so he could retrieve it. (Of course, this being Dave, you know it was a world-class sandwich!)



Slabbed and polished agates are legitimate mineral specimens, of course, but Keilmann well knows that not everyone in the mineral world is interested in cryptocrystalline minerals. So he arranged for a very interesting group of "Collector Cases" in Hall A4. I particularly liked Bernard Sick's historical case about Robert Ferguson (1767-1840) and his collection, the case of Russian gem species put in by Simone and Peter Huber, and the special exhibit cases devoted to the 140-year history of collecting epidote and associated species at Knappenwand, Untersulzbachtal, Austria. Knappenwand must be one of the more labor-intensive localities at which to collect, and yet fine specimens continue to come out periodically, the most recent from a large cleft opened there on February 17, 2004 that yielded crystal clusters up to 22 cm.

Now to the minerals that were actually for sale (in no particular order):

One of the more interesting and voluminous new finds came from the Sapo mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Large (to well over 3 cm) discoidal crystals of translucent green carbonate-fluorapatite were found in a habit consisting of only the low-angle hexagonal dipyramid. The crystals occur scattered generously over large to very large (over 46 cm) blocky crystals of while feldspar. A preliminary chemical analysis has shown more carbonate than fluorine. Rob Lavinsky had some nice pieces, as did Ricardo Prato (Preggi Gemme, and Michel and Claudette Cabrol (Merveilles de la Terre,, among others--reportedly over 3,000 specimens were recovered, so there should be enough to go around!

There was a nice find of pale green, cuboctahedral fluorite crystals to 4 cm on matrix from Riemvasmaak near Pela on the Orange River in South Africa. The best one (pictured here, Fig. 16) was being offered by Rob Lavinsky of The Arkenstone. These are attractive specimens, and we can hope that more will be forthcoming.

Rob Lavinsky also had some interesting new ullmannite specimens--gray metallic crystals (some of them twinned) to 2 or 3 mm in thick layers on matrix. These were found in September 2005 in the Musaloni mine, Sardinia.

Andreas Weerth (Weerth Edelsteine und Mineralien, tel: 08022-4330) had a particularly attractive and interesting (how often do you get both!) lot of colorless fluorapatite crystals from the Tormiq area in Pakistan. The crystals are relatively large (to 7 cm), transparent to translucent, stout, blocky hexagonal prisms with pyramidal corner modifications and excellent luster. What makes them unusual is that most of them appear to be faden crystals and parallel faden clusters; the milky faden line is clearly discernible in many of them. Faden growth occurs most typically with quartz but can also happen with other rock-forming minerals; it begins with a rock fracture that cuts across individual crystal grains in the rock. The two halves of the crystal re-heal to bridge the gap, and slowly elongate in crystallographic continuity as the fracture gradually widens (see Peter Richards' article on "The origin of faden quartz" in vol. 21, no. 3). About 15 nice specimens of the fluorapatite fadens were recovered.



Much well-justified publicity has surrounded the superb Pakistani brookite crystals that have been coming out in substantial numbers. This time Andreas Weerth and Francois Lietard ( both had excellent specimens of the brookite polymorph anatase, in typical black crystals to 2.5 cm. The habit consists of the tetragonal dipyramid capped by the basal pinacoid, and ranges from rather flattened (dominant c face) to steep dipyramids, all with excellent luster and sharpness. Associated minerals include quartz crystals and what appears to be a druse of tiny, tabular, colorless and transparent feldspar crystals. He gave the locality only as "Baluchistan"--a big place! Other dealers are giving the locality as Kharan, Baluchistan, reportedly an Alpine-type cleft occurrence. Last year at Denver a common locality tag given for the presumably closely related brookite occurrence was "near Dalbundi, Baluchistan."

Marcus Budil (Fine Minerals International, had a good selection of the peculiar raspberry elbaites in botryoidal to rounded divergent clusters from Mogok, Burma (Myanmar). These have been seen on the market for several years but this was by far the best bunch to surface, with blobby crystals to 7 cm, on matrix (which is rather rare). Marcus had eight or ten cabinet-size specimens and perhaps 20 smaller ones.

Maurice Eyraud (Minerama SA, had a lot of elbaite crystals recently found near Coronel Murta in Minas Gerais, Brazil. These have obviously been well collected and preserved from damage, unlike so many crystals that end up in a bag with many others and have their once-sharp edges reduced to micro-chatter. The crystals are very gemmy and transparent (warning--priced accordingly) and have an appealing greenish brown color in the top half, grading down to brownish green at the base. Nearly a dozen nice examples of loose crystals in the 1.5 to 4-cm range were available, plus a few larger crystals to 5 cm across. Maurice seems to have a corner on these--I didn't see any with other dealers.



Maurizio Casazza (Muzzano, Italy, put out about 15 specimens of glaucophane in slabs to 30 cm across, which he personally collected some years ago at Pollone, Piemonte, Italy. Etching away the enclosing dolomite has revealed continuous crusts and masses of lustrous, sharp little blue-black crystals of glaucophane to 5 mm or so. Glaucophane is one of those metamorphic rock-forming minerals that typically is a component of schists but does not form free-growing crystals in cavities, so the occurrence is noteworthy. I'd like to see some good photomicrographs of this material.

As if to underscore Tom Moore's article on "iron roses" in the previous issue, Anton Watzl (Freistadt, Austria; had a new (2005) find of hematite "iron roses" from Morchnerkar, in the Zillertal Alps, Austria. The rose-like clusters range from 2 to 4 cm or so, on granite. Anton had about 35 specimens available, a substantial lot.

We've all seen the beautiful danburite crystals that have been coming out of Charcas, Mexico for decades, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to see a new lot of specimens that have amethyst crystals perched on the danburites in the booth of Matthias Jurgeit (Lampertheim, Germany; tel: 06256-1097). The little blocky amethyst crystals reach 2 cm, and occur singly and in clusters on 5 to 7-cm danburite crystals. These aren't very spectacular specimens--the luster of the amethyst is frosty and the color is pale, but they are still interesting as a hitherto-unknown combination. Several dozen specimens were available.

We have recently reported the discovery of crystals of painite from Mogok, Burma (Myanmar)--notable because previously only a couple of specimens of the mineral were known, making it essentially impossible for collectors to obtain an example until now. At the same time, some interesting little associated crystals of black baddelyite to 1 cm or so were recovered, from Wet Loo, Sin Khwar in the Mogok district. These were available in the booth of Patrick de Koenigswarter (Miner-K, minerk@club-internet.fe). The lustrous crystals are bladed and appear to be rotation/penetration twins about the long axis.

Yellow to yellow-green, gemmy fluorapatite crystals have been coming from the Imilchil area in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco lately. Several dealers had them at the show (including Jean-Francois Astier (tel. 0033-61116-5618), typically in stout prismatic crystals 1 to 3 cm across, but occasionally larger. They can be very transparent and lustrous, though they are generally lacking matrix and are often a bit scuffed up. The local collectors may get better at removing them cleanly and preserving them from damage; or this may be a one-shot occurrence. Time will tell.


The strahlers of Chamonix in the French Alps are always on the look-out for classic pink octahedral fluorite specimens. This year Jean-Franck Charlet ( was the lucky one, breaking into a Mont Blanc fluorite/quartz pocket about 30 cm tall and 3 meters wide. The cavity is situated in a vertical cliff-face that can only be reached by rappelling. As if that didn't make collecting sufficiently challenging, the cavity is solidly filled with ice, which must be carefully melted out while the strahlers hang precariously from ropes. Those guys sure earn their money. Anyway, thus far, Jean-Franck has removed dozens of cabinet-size pieces as well as smaller ones, enough specimens to cover a couple of eight-foot tables. And he has yet to reach the back end of the cavity, so there may be more glories yet to come. The pink fluorite crystals reach 4 cm across and are generally frosty and rather corroded, with a soft medium-pink color. Fine, lustrous smoky quartz is associated, including some well-formed gwindels to perhaps 10 cm across.


The Madagascar dealer Frederic Gautier (Little Big Stone, has been working a pegmatite near Andilamena, Toamasina (Tamatave) Province, Madagascar for about three years now, but only recently encountered a great rarity: white Japan-law quartz twins capped by amethyst scepters. The spans across these twins measure from 3 to 12 cm, and many are markedly flattened as is typical for Japan-law twins. Around 60 good to excellent specimens have been recovered, plus another 90 or so second-rate pieces. The luster on the amethyst scepter-ends is very bright and the specimens have been professionally collected, so damage is minimal. Clusters of twins have also been found.

For fans of the radioactive minerals (but how do you get them past Homeland Security?) the Severino/Celmira dealership ( had several flats of bright yellow and green meta-autunite and uranocircite from Aideia Nova, Satau, Portugal. The thumbnail to cabinet-size specimens are encrusted with brightly colored layers of crystals up to about 3 mm.

Marcus Grossmann ( brought six large and attractive aquamarine crystals (simple hexagonal prisms) from Taplejung, Nepal. The sharp, gemmy, lustrous crystals are 10 to 15 cm long and perhaps 2.5 to 3 cm across, with a rich blue color (all were purchased by Bill Larson). Marcus also had an extremely fine hamburgite miniature from the old Hyakule mine in Nepal, which has been closed for more than 20 years. The colorless, bladed crystals are sharp and transparent, and reach about 4 cm in length.

The Xianghuapu mine in China has been pouring out green fluorite specimens literally by the ton lately, and numerous Chinese dealers had them at the show. Most specimens are big clusters, usually 15 to 30 cm across and sometimes larger, and most are free of matrix. The crystals are cubic with minor edge modifications, have a brilliant luster, a high degree of transparency, and a really beautiful apple-green color--though you might want to give them the sniff test if you suspect oiling. The crystals do tend to be rather intergrown, and it is difficult to find specimens with more individualized crystals. Miniatures are virtually non-existent because the crystal size is so large, typically 4 to 8 cm on edge. The quantity of these available is really overwhelming, but one must remember that that simply means an excellent selection to choose from; in due course these will fade from the market, and the best ones will be treasured, so don't be put off.

We'll conclude the minerals here with an interesting lot of colemanite specimens Rob Lavinsky obtained at the show--about ten fine cabinet-size specimens and ten good miniatures, plus around 60 lesser pieces. You would not readily recognize these as the typical California colemanite--they are actually from Mustafakemalpasha in Western Anatolia, Turkey. Unlike the California specimens, these are a very dark, rich, gemmy brown color with what I am tempted to call an adamantine luster, so bright are they. The crystals take the form of slightly distorted pseudo-octahedrons and could almost be mistaken for scheelite. Although the individual crystals rarely exceed about 1 cm across, they solidly cover the cavity linings in a very brilliant show of luster, gemminess and color. Some collectors tend to avoid evaporites, but these are remarkably unusual and attractive specimens. They should be fun for playing the "what is it" game when visiting, supposedly knowledgeable collectors come to see your collection.

For those collectors who also specialize in antique mining lamps and mining memorabilia, there was only one place to visit at the show: the booth of Detlev Seel ( Detlev is one of the major dealers in Europe for such things, and has a large ever-changing stock focusing especially on safety lamps, frog lamps and European carbide lamps. He even had a Barte, one of those medieval miner's parade axes with the engraved ivory handle and distinctively shaped blade.

All in all, it was a very easy-going and convivial show. Renato and Adriana Pagano, our Italian representatives from Milan, faith-fully manned our Mineralogical Record booth (and also had some minerals to sell). The Keilmanns were the perfect hosts as usual. The food and beer were good (not just at the show but, of course, throughout Munich) and, as I said, the weather was blissfully warm and blue-skied. Shopping for souvenirs and clothes in Munich is always enjoyable, and one should always save time for a walk through the long and picturesque Englischer Garten (designed by an expatriate Englishman in the 18th century). The 73rd annual Munich art and antique show, a vastly smaller affair than the mineral show but very high-quality, took place the same weekend, as usual (though at a new location, the Paulaner Garten on Nockerburg Strasse). And there are museums galore to visit in Munich--this time we took in the Jagdmuseum (a museum devoted to medieval hunting) and the Alte Pinakothek where the Old Masters reside. All can be reached easily through the clean and efficient subway system.

Next year Keilmann's special theme for the show (November 3-5) will be "Masterpieces," specifically the donation of major private collections of mineral masterpieces to public museums over the centuries--with scads of fine specimens on loan from museums throughout Europe and the United States. Such donations must be encouraged, Keilmann says, because most museums these days can no longer afford to purchase top-quality specimens, and so must depend upon the philanthropic generosity of the wealthy private collectors. It should be a spectacular and historically rich show.
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Title Annotation:What's New in Minerals
Author:Wilson, Wendell E.
Publication:The Mineralogical Record
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:Denver show 2005.
Next Article:The museum directory.

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