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Munich show 2006.

[November 1-5]

In this space I am almost through writing arias in the key of nostalgia concerning my revisits to Europe, where I resided for 14 years once upon a time. Happily, this 2006 trip to the Munich Show was my second in three years, and so even nostalgia is now at last beginning to yield to custom. Still delightful to me, though, were the cold grayness of the weather this year, with damp winds and even a wet snow which fell overnight one night in the streets around my hotel. It was with quiet, snow-day-vacation joy that I slogged through that snow (better say curbside slush), past the gray facade of St. Paul's Church rearing up into the equally gray sky amid ink-sketchy November trees, on my way to the U-Bahn that would take me out to the show. On most show-commute days, even the giant, featureless concrete-and-glass buildings at the show site seemed to bespeak a kind of reprieve from the Tucson and Denver scenes. Palm-trees-schmalm-trees, is how one can feel when something of Europe's ancient fogs remain in one's blood.

Of course those outwardly sepulchral buildings, once you got inside them, were full of frantically busy and cosmopolitan life. On the two set-up days a perpetual clotting of SUV's, trucks, cars, and handcarts all looking for back-up space crowded through the long ranks of tables. Throughout the show period, visitors found themselves immersed in a happy Babel of languages; endless parallel rows of tables with dealers' stands, and reticulations of spotlights on shelving; wildernesses of polished slabs, spheres, amethyst geodes and dinosaur skulls; plenty of mystically pendant, teardrop-shaped objects lit from within; completely enclosed shops with glass shelving jammed with jewelry, chains, beads, and mysterious "findings"; a "Heaven and Earth" labyrinth with a woodchip-lined path ending in a rose quartz lump-lined fountain; "Juwellness" merchants promising healing; fossil experts; booksellers; stands for all of the major magazine publications (with Renato and Adriana Pagano, as usual, holding the ground of the Mineralogical Record) ... in all there was a general and enormous energy, creativity, commercial libido, and love for all things which come from the earth. Almost 1,000 widely diverse dealerships--I counted 989 listings in the show catalog--filled the three main cavernous Halle of this gigantic show, with most of the mineral dealers of interest in halls B2 and B3. At one end of B2, the majority of the high-end dealers were to be found in a carpeted area bounded by white partitions and, on one end, a stand-up wine and coffee bar. This little elitist domain was officially called the "International Mineral Pavilion" but was nicknamed "the Taj" by Bryan Lees, whose Collector's Edge dealership was to be found there, along with the likes of Rob Lavinsky's Arkenstone, Wayne and Dona Leicht's Kristalle, Riccardo Prato's Pregi Gemme, the sumptuous stands of Lino Caserini, Uli and Karin Burchard, Andreas Weerth, Francois Lietard, and more mini-wonderworlds for the tasteful and/or well-funded.

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Show managers Johannes and Hermi Keilmann and their son Christophe had invited displays (as they do each year) on multiple themes, and there were in addition many small display cases--far too many to try to list here--put in by collectors and institutions. About the non-mineralogical show subtopics I'll say only that they ranged from "Dinosaur Fossils of Switzerland" to a human presence very much more alive than that: an Edelsteinkonigin (Gemstone Queen), 22-year-old Carolin Schmaler of Sulzbach, who, wearing an aquamarine/amethyst/citrine tiara fashioned in Idar-Oberstein, reigned in blonde grace and (as far as I could tell) good humor throughout the proceedings.

The minerals of, and mineral collecting in, Canton Uri, Switzerland constituted the show's #2-ranking theme. In a large enclosed alcove in hall B3 one found case after dazzling case of smoky quartz, pink fluorite and other Alpine treasures from the collections of members of the Swiss Urner Mineralienfreunde association. Further Uri-related displays were also on hand, and the show catalog pitched in with a series of well-illustrated articles about collectors' adventures in the Voralptal, Gletschhorn, Feldschijen, Winterstock, and other mountainous sites in Uri, including tunnel workings such as produced, for example, an amazing pyrrhotite specimen on display in the alcove, with a super-sharp, brilliantly lustrous, single crystal measuring 5 X 5 X 7 cm, fully as fine as any pyrrhotite from Dalnegorsk.

The chief show theme was denoted by the deliberately flexible, omnibus term "Masterpieces," and in B1 a large, complexly partitioned display area explored that concept. "Technological Masterpieces" included gleaming old specimens of petrographic microscopes made in the 19th century by German master craftsman Harry Rosenbusch (displayed by Olaf Medenbach), as well as wonderfully elaborated, very large wooden models of mining machinery and mine facilities from the collection of the Technical University of the Freiberg Mining Academy. "Artistic Masterpieces," hung up in long rows on the walls of the display area, included several of Eberhard Equit's exquisite mineral paintings, and some minutely detailed watercolors of mineral specimens and other natural subjects by Claus Caspari (1911-1980)--the Caspari works had not been seen publicly since the 1970's, but were provided for this occasion through the good offices of his son Stefan. "Fossil Masterpieces" included, besides some rhinoceros skulls and other hefty mammalian remains from sites in Bavaria, an extensive display concerning a famous scam perpetrated in 1726 on one Prof. Johann Bartholomaus Adam Beringer of Wurzburg, by his colleagues J. Ignatz Roderick and Georg von Eckhart: a lot of little gray pieces of sedimentary rock now known as Lugensteine ("lying stones"), containing fake fossils fabricated by Roderick and von Eckhart and left for Beringer to find. Beringer was completely taken in, and published a Latin monograph (a copy of which was on exhibit) on this fabulous "find" of fossilized ferns, crinoids, spiders, worms and less recognizable fantasy-flora and fauna. The Lugensteine themselves (now collectors' items) were displayed alongside corresponding plates from the rare Beringer book by Dr. Birgit Niebuhr of the Institut fur Palaontologie, Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universitats, Wurzburg.

And finally there were the sorts of Masterpieces that we cherish most: about 50 world-class mineral specimens brought by Joel Bartsch from the great collection of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. In an innermost display alcove, some of these specimens got their own separate spotlit displays while others were arranged in well-spaced rows in wall cases. "Mineral Masterpieces" whose pictures (at least) you've admired on many occasions were present here: they included the "Alma Queen" rhodochrosite from the Sweet Home mine, Colorado; the "Dragon" gold from the Colorado Quartz mine, California; the "Rabbit Ears" blue-capped elbaite from the Tourmaline Queen mine, California; the 5-cm matrix specimen sporting several blue jeremejevite crystals, from Mile 72, Swakopmund, Namibia; the great Hiddenite, North Carolina emerald crystal discovered in 2004; the majestic purple adamite specimen from the Ojuela mine, Mexico, shown on the cover of vol. 34, no. 5 ("Mexico II"); the 7-cm cluster of proustite crystals from Chanarcillo, Chile; the finest extant specimen of spangolite from Bisbee, Arizona; and others almost as well known. Present as well were a few items from the Houston collection which, for me anyway, were surprises, e.g. a 25-cm galena twin from Balmat, New York and a huge cluster of copper crystals from Broken Hill, Australia.

Some people complained that this "Mineral Masterpieces" display area was too dark (and there was indeed a high probability of shoulder-bumpings and flash camera-interferences among the crowds of gawkers), and a few serious mistakes in labeling at first occurred (they were later corrected)--but the Keilmanns, as well as Joel Bartsch, of course, deserve high praise and gratitude for bringing so many of these highest-ranking aristocrats of the mineral specimen world to be seen by Europeans firsthand.

We proceed now to What is New In Minerals, circa late 2006, as seen at this tremendous show. It is a pretty impressive roster, into which I'll enter, as is my habit, via the show's home country, even though that means that several of the most blockbustery items from Asia will have to wait until near the end.

The very old mining district near the town of Annaberg, Upper Saxony--between Chemnitz and the Czech border, in the former East Germany--has seen no active ore-mining to speak of for many decades, but interesting finds on the old dumps and in abandoned underground workings are still being made. Near the village of Frohnau, the old Markus Rohling mine and the dumps of the Frisch Gluck Stollen (formerly and more colorfully called the Ten Thousand Knights tunnel) are giving up, as we speak, very nice specimens of "black" fluorite--distinctive clusters of razor-edged simple cubic crystals, individually to 2 cm or so, which at first glance look quite black but actually are a very deep purple; other fluorite crystals from Frohnau are a rich, transparent orange, and clusters of both the orange and the deep purple kinds are sometimes adorned by bright orange, gemmy barite crystals to 5 mm. A small lot of this "black" fluorite appeared in Tucson in 2000 (see vol. 31, no. 3), and two years ago Marcus Grossmann offered another lot at the Munich Show (see vol. 36, no. 1). This time around, Jorg Walther of Sachsische Minerale (ahe75@freenet.de) had about 100 thumbnails and miniatures which he dug himself over the past few years, and the best of them are highly attractive fluorite specimens, especially those which are decked out with the orange barites or, as in a few cases, by 5-mm galena crystals. The Sachsische Minerale stand is one of the most-fun-of-all stops to be made on the Munich show floor, for it offers dozens of flats, almost exclusively of German minerals, mostly as small specimens in a quirky quality range from "study-grade" to superb. In general these are specimens recently found by Jorg and his colleagues, either in the field or in stashes in cellars in sundry mining towns of the Erzgebirge. What more in the way of educational fun can you ask, when you come to a mineral show in Germany, than to paw through such a stock?

Also from the home country (der Vaterland, if you prefer) comes exciting news of an old locality coming again to life: Jordi Fabre has obtained a few specimens showing gemmy green boracite crystals in matrix, found just this year in the Grona mine, Bernburg, Sachsen-Anhalt. The mine lies in a former evaporite-mining region near Stassfurt, south of Magdeburg in the former East Germany; the boracite crystals are not to be confused with the better known ones from the Luneberger Heath in the West, although they resemble them, being sharp, equant, complex, and embedded singly in dirty gray matrix of massive anhydrite/halite. The crystals in Jordi's specimens are only a few millimeters in diameter, but a pocket flashlight reveals them to be quite gemmy, and of a hue close to peridot-green. Of course it's uncertain whether more boracite specimens with larger crystals will appear in the future--but you can trust Jordi to monitor the situation.

Alpine-minerals enthusiasts revere a tiny collecting area called the Morchnerkar, in the Zillertal Alps of Tyrol, Austria (actually, North Tyrol: South Tyrol has belonged to Italy since 1918, and the Zillertal Alps are just north of the Italian border). Some of the Alps' finest specimens of sceptered amethyst crystals and of hematite "iron roses" have been found over the decades in the Morchnerkar area, and in summer 2006 the site yielded an outstanding find of fluorapatite crystals, specimens of which were sniffed out in Munich by Rob Lavinsky (who promptly bought some to resell, and who furnished the photo shown here of one of the best). From one cleft, Gerhard and Hannes Hofer collected hundreds of fluorapatite crystals measuring up to 10 cm across, as well as some lovely amethyst crystals; from a second cleft, Heinz Kirchtag and Kurt Novak collected more, and just as fine, fluorapatite specimens, mostly as single, loose crystals and subparallel clusters of two or three. The crystals are hexagonal-tabular, with at least two orders of modifying pyramidal faces, and they are mirror-faced, lustrous and for the most part transparent. The great majority are colorless but a handful are very pale purple. These beauties were brought to the Munich show by the father-son strahling team of Anton Watzl Sr. and Jr. (anton.watzl@epnet.at), who just may have emerged from the show with a few crystals still unsold (though don't count on it).

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The French-specimen presence in Munich took the form of fresh supplies of two "old" but highly desirable items. I mentioned in my report on the 2006 Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines show that the Burg mine in Tarn, France, was giving up some fine specimens of gemmy, baby-blue to deep blue fluorite crystals to 3 cm in clusters of diverse sizes, and, sure enough, more than 50 pieces, small-miniature to large-cabinet size, of this blue fluorite came to Munich with Claudette and Michel Cabrol (michel_cabrol@yahoo.com). Then there are the storied granitic rocks of the Mont Blanc massif, Haute-Savoie, long famous for giving up pink fluorite and smoky quartz from their clefts on the edges of glaciers. The glaciers of Mont Blanc are rapidly retreating--melting, dying, disappearing--as global warming kicks in, and this means that virgin rock areas are being exposed and are presently being combed by the cristalliers (i.e. French Strahlers). Quite a few new finds are emerging as a result. Many lots of excellent smoky quartz crystal clusters from Mont Blanc were scattered all over the show, but a very honorable mention goes to the German dealership of Peter & Janet Wittur Mineralien (wittur5@aol.com), where at least 50 gleaming specimens, representing a few years' summer collecting by the Witturs, were offered for very reasonable prices. Fat, highly lustrous, totally gemmy smoky quartz prisms to 10 cm long form largely undamaged groups, and there is even a handful of medium-smoky gwindels, open and half-open, in thumbnail and miniature sizes.

Also at the Witturs' stand in Hall B3 was an impressive lot of hedenbergite-included quartz from the Island of Seriphos, Greece (see the locality article by Gauthier and Albandakis in vol. 22, no. 4). Outcrop collecting sites in the Seriphos skarn rocks are well known for producing fine specimens of ilvaite, andradite and, most of all, the world's best "green quartz," but little has been heard lately of the occurrence. The batch of specimens on hand at Munich was dug in June 2006 by Peter and Janet Wittur; it consists of about 50 spiky clusters of velveteen grayish green, opaque to translucent, lustrous quartz prisms, with individual crystals to 6 cm long and groups from miniature size to 20 cm across. The same alluring table held about 15 very nice specimens of andradite of a style recognizable (if you know the stuff) as hailing also from Seriphos: sharp, pale brown dodecahedral crystals with parquet faces to 1.5 cm individually, in tight clusters to 12 cm across.

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For micromounters and "species" collectors, a new item of interest from the ancient polymetallic mines of Laurium, Greece appeared at the show with Helmut and Daniela Braith of the Munich dealership of Braith Stones (braithstones@aol.com). Microcrystals found in 2004 on the 132 level of the Christiana mine in the Laurium district have just been described (by Nikita Chukanov in Moscow) as the new calcium arsenate species attikaite. In the small group of specimens offered at Munich, attikaite may be seen (under magnification) as pale blue-green crystals and spherical aggregates on mixed jarosite/"limonite" matrix, with microcrystals of conichalcite and arsenocrandallite.

Time now to discover the New World. Just before leaving for Munich I posted in my "what's new in the mineral world" online report a notice of the exciting new finds of rose quartz crystals at Mount Mica, Oxford County, Maine, from recent collecting activity conducted by Gary Freeman of Coromoto Minerals (www.coromotominerals.com). Dug in September-October 2006 from an extensive zone of pockets in the Mount Mica pegmatite, these specimens bear a distinct resemblance to specimens from the rose quartz crystal localities in Brazil and (especially) Afghanistan. Some are loose, thumbnail-size sprays of subparallel, bright pink, well-terminated crystals with individuals to 1.5 cm; others are cabinet-size pieces of the "Van Allen belt" style familiar from Brazilian localities, i.e. wavy belts and ridges of rose quartz points making girdles around portly, pale smoky quartz crystals. And there are even some specimens showing transparent-colorless quartz prisms with pale pink scepters. Gary and Mary Freeman brought a small selection of superb specimens of this material to Munich: the best of the thumbnails carried low four-figure prices, but these, after all, are major items for quartz collectors and New England specialists, and are at least an order of magnitude better than the old Newry, Maine rose quartz crystal groups.

Mexican minerals were made available in Munich--not for the first time--by exploration geologist Matthias Jurgeit (www.matsminerals.com), who in the past has brought out lovely specimens of silky gray, transparent, butterfly-twinned calcite crystals from prospects in volcanic ash deposits near Rodeo, Durango. This year Matthias had a nice selection of thumbnail and miniature-size Rodeo calcites, as well as some excellent danburite crystals with adhering calcite, amethyst and chalcopyrite from Charcas. Much less predictably, he had some winsome thumbnails and miniatures of pale pink apophyllite found in October 2006, not in the San Martin mine, Zacatecas, from which pink apophyllite has come before, but rather from a mine in the Naica district, Chihuahua. The lustrous, translucent, pale pink crystals are blocky, not pointed like those from San Martin, and they reach about 5 mm individually. They form tight, gleaming clusters, loose or on a matrix of pale blue bladed anhydrite crystals. Also, Matthias reports that just a few weeks ago a single pocket in the San Martin mine yielded blocky, twinned, lustrous, pale lilac crystals of calcite to 10 cm--he only had one (yet unsold) specimen to show off, and it is beautiful, with a 3.5-cm pink-lilac calcite crystal sitting up smartly on matrix.

Rob Lavinsky reports a discovery of yet more superb pyrargyrite specimens at Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico: a few pieces with transparent blood-red pyrargyrite crystals to several centimeters across rising from massive white calcite came, in July 2006, from the 450 level on the San Carlos vein. Rob received only a couple of these pyrargyrites in time for Munich, but more, he promises, will be on hand in Tucson.

In the vast expanses of halls B2 and B3, which are filled by flats and motley unsorted litters of specimens brought in by entrepeneurs from China, India, Morocco, Peru etc., one prowls in search of one-of-a-kind sleepers, as well as for hints of interesting new discoveries. Two of the latter, both from Peru, presented themselves this time around. Last April, in a small prospect pit near the famous Huanzala mine, Dos de Mayo Province, Huanuco Department, a number of attractive specimens of barite encrusted by pyrite were found, and about 20 of them were brought to Munich by some friendly folks from Ramos Minerals (ramosminerals@latinmail.com). The barite occurs as transparent, colorless to pale smoky gray, tabular crystals to 2.5 cm in jumbled groups without matrix, and very bright drusy pyrite coats all exposed surfaces of the barite crystals. The groups range between 3 and 10 cm across. And then, from the little Pucarrajo mine, located in a pass halfway between Pachapaqui and Huanzala (see the brief account by Hyrsl and Rosales in vol. 34, no. 3), comes a nice suite of small, recently mined specimens of sulfide species: arsenopyrite, as groups of sharp, lustrous, 1-cm crystals with quartz; galena, as brilliant 2-cm cuboctahedrons; tetrahedrite, as bright black 2-cm tetrahedrons on drusy pyrite; and lesser pieces showing fairly good crystals of pyrite and sphalerite. This appealing little metallic litter of thumbnail and miniature-size specimens was shown in Munich by the dealership of Macchupicchu-Peru (mineralescristales_macchupicchuperu@hotmail.com).

Trusty Jordi Fabre had about 60 small specimens from a September 2006 find of childrenite at a brand-new locality in Brazil: Lavra do Poco Dantas near Taquaral, Minas Gerais. These childrenite specimens look distinctively different from the older ones long known from the Lavra da Ilha rose quartz locality, also near Taquaral. The thin, wedge-terminated, transparent brown blades of Lavra do Poco Dantes childrenite form loose, delicate clusters, some with red-brown microcrystals of roscherite, with individual childrenite crystals reaching 3 cm. Jordi was also proud of his new specimens from the Cigana (formerly the Jocao) mine near Galileia, Minas Gerais: brown matrix pieces to 10 cm showing lustrous reddish brown crystals of reddingite to 5 mm and of hureaulite to 1 cm.

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Several interesting--indeed exciting--new mineral finds in South Africa and Namibia stood out in Munich this year. The extremely rare hydrous Na-Al-Mn sulfate shigaite was found in extraordinary specimens in 1993 in the Wessels mine, Kalahari manganese field, Northern Cape Province (and a few more fine pieces emerged in 2002); shigaite in these beauties forms sharp, hexagonal, mica-like "books" and iron-roselike rosettes of lustrous amber to bronze-colored crystals to 2 cm across. Well, early in 2006, similarly outstanding thumbnail-size shigaite specimens were found for the first time in the old underground workings of the N'Chwaning I mine, very near the Wessels mine in the Kalahari field. N'Chwaning I is now inactive commercially, but French prospector Paul Balayer holds exclusive specimen-mining rights, and it was Paul and his crew who patiently followed small pink rhodochrosite seams in the black manganese ore beds until finally opening a fist-sized pocket on whose walls the dainty shigaite crystals and rosettes perched on sparkling drusy pink rhodochrosite. During the next weeks of work, a further 12 pockets yielded a few hundred shigaite specimens including about 15 top-quality thumbnails, many of which were on hand in Munich, watched over lovingly by South African mineral titans Bruce Cairncross and Desmond Sacco, who shared with Paul Balayer the stand of Kalahari Mineral Venture (palomu@africa.com). In some specimens, single, transparent reddish amber shigaite plates, super-sharp and of simple hexagonal-tabular form, to 3 mm stand alone and in jumbled clusters on the pink rhodochrosite. In others, dark red-brown shigaite rosettes to 2 cm across occur alone and on matrix. One exceptional thumbnail shows a dense convocation of lustrous red-brown shigaite platelets covering most of a transparent smoky brown barite crystal, with the tiny accent of a pink rhodochrosite spray near the top. These are truly fine examples of that truly scarce thing, an ultra-rare mineral species which can and occasionally does form aesthetic specimens.

Also brand-new from South Africa (found in August 2006), and also offered by Paul Balayer at the Kalahari Mineral Venture stand in Munich, are cabinet-size specimens of siderite/sphalerite epimorphs after calcite from the Aggenys mine in Northern Cape Province. The original calcite crystals, individually reaching 5 cm, were scalenohedrons with blunt trigonal terminations; the very sharp forms of these crystals are now memorialized by thin, silky yellow-brown to dark brown, hollow molds. The flat plates of interlocked epimorphs reach 25 cm across, and it's startling to pick them up, as they're very lightweight, all the calcite having dissolved away. About 200 specimens were collected, including about 50 undamaged, sleekly perfect-looking groups, most of them without matrix.

Wendell Wilson's report from the 2005 Munich Show (vol. 37, no. 1) noted a new discovery of pale green, translucent, cuboctahedral fluorite crystals to 4 cm on matrix from Riemvasmaak, near Pela on the Orange River, South Africa. According to Africa specialists Brice and Christophe Gobin, the collecting site is a lonely outcrop on the South African side of the river (which forms the border between that country and Namibia), and a new strike there, made about six months ago, has yielded more beautiful fluorite specimens, this time with gemmy deep green, simple octahedral crystals to 4 cm on massive purple-green fluorite with a little quartz. In the alcove of Gobin Sarl (gobin@club-internet.fr) I ogled a gorgeous 20 X 20-cm cluster of these gemmy green octahedral fluorite crystals--and I learned that most of the recent lot had already passed to Rob Lavinsky. While luxuriantly sipping wine (normally I'm a beer man) with Brice and Christophe in their booth in "the Taj" I also saw the best of a new lot of superb specimens of dioptase on shattuckite from Kaokoveld, Namibia--the sharp, deep green, doubly terminated dioptase crystals of typical form reach 2.5 cm, and they rest on baby-blue botryoidal cavity linings of shattuckite. Other recent specimens from the occurrence show very rich green, prismatic, somewhat coarse crystals of malachite in bundles to a few centimeters long, rising from the same baby-blue shattuckite beds.

A new oddity from South Africa, seen at several dealerships around the show but most notably with Clive Queit (queit@icon.co.za), is the very rare calcium borosilicate oyelite, as chalky white coatings over, and epimorphic shells replacing, pseudocubic crystals of hydroxylapophyllite to 1.5 cm, from the N'Chwaning II mine, Kalahari manganese district, Northern Cape Province. The white, somewhat shaggy forms of the oyelite epimorphs perch on glittering drusy calcite cavity linings (which, of course, save the specimens from hopeless ugliness). Desmond Sacco tells me that many specimens of the oyelite epimorphs were unearthed a few months ago.

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A mineral dealership and mineral-touring concern called Geo-Tours Namibia filled a large space along one wall in B2, and proprietors Andreas Palfi (pha@mweb.com.na) and Ralf Wartha offered some new Namibian items there. The most intriguing of these was a find, this past summer, of gemmy orange villiaumite crystals from the Aris phonolite quarry. The crystals, reaching almost 2 cm, rest singly and as clusters in cavities in the hard, solid matrix of salt-and-pepper phonolite rock. Unfortunately, these specimens are sawn slabs--with frontages of flat, painfully clearly sawn surfaces--in which crystal-pocket holes appear; it is just too dangerous to try to trim out the pockets with hand tools. To look at the villiaumite crystals is instantly to think of grossular crystals from the Jeffrey mine in Quebec, as the vivid orange color, high luster, and complete gemminess are the same. At Geo-Tours Namibia there were also fine, loose, lustrous, single epidote prisms with wedge terminations from the Rehoboth area, to 3.5 cm long; and there were several flats of specimens from a remote exposure of altered siderite in the Khomas Highland, these showing sharp, lustrous, striated, red-brown single crystals and elbow twins of rutile in dark brown, crumbly matrix. The rutile crystals range between 1 cm and the size of a finger, and they look quite promising; the first find occurred about three years ago.

Those villiaumite specimens from Namibia make for a neat segue, here, entirely out of Africa and to Russia. Elsewhere in B2, a dealership called Laplandia Minerals offered villiaumite of the more usual sort, together with other exotica, from the intrusive hyperalkaline igneous bodies of the Kola Peninsula. Klaus Hielscher (Feldbergstr. 63, 61449 Steinbach, Germany) has been collecting furiously in the Kola Peninsula's Khibiny and Lovozero massifs, although many of the specimens he showed at the Laplandia Minerals stand are "older," he says, inasmuch as very little has come from the region of late. Villiaumite was seen here as rich red, gleaming cleavage faces to several centimeters across, in cabinet-size lumps; kovdorskite was on hand, as palest orange, glassy, wedge-shaped crystals to 1 cm in matrix coverages to 8 cm across; the very rare bobierrite was seen as sprays of pale blue, glassy crystals to 3 cm rising from matrix (these from the world's only significant bobierrite occurrence, the Zheleznyi mine, Kovdor massif, Kola Peninsula); and, front and center at the stand, a huge piece of nepheline/apatite matrix was seen to harbor a sharp, complete crystal of eudialyte fully 8 cm across, rose-red inside but with a thin, opaque brown crust of wadeite.

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Not "out" on the show floor but safely harbored inside an innocent-looking box in the keeping of Riccardo Prato of Pregi Gemme were three quite amazing, unearthly-beautiful crystals belonging to Marco Amabili (and, last I heard, "available" from him: if you're an optimist, Marco's e-mail address is marco@me.unipr.it). They are thick, totally gemmy crystals of heliodor beryl, reportedly found years ago in the now-flooded Mine #2 at Volodarsk-Volhynia, Ukraine, and they measure respectively about 10, 15 and 20 cm long. The crystals are yellow-orange, lustrous and undamaged, but their really remarkable feature is that they show six distinct prism faces, with pyramids and small pinacoids at the terminations, i.e. they are not so heavily etched (as are nearly all other heliodors from this locality) that the morphology is obscured by phantasmagorias of ridges, waves and curves. They are easily the most impressive heliodor crystals I have ever seen.

Surprisingly, I saw little that was new from China (although some of the pale blue plumbogummite specimens from Yangshuo are quite impressive), or for that matter from India--although of course the show was awash in zeolites from the Deccan Plateau, lovely green fluorites from the Xianghualing mine, Chinese cassiterite, aquamarine, calcite, stibnite, etc. It was Pakistan that spoke most loudly for Asia this time around, but let's look first at a pleasant new plenitude of chlorite-included quartz from Nepal. Alpine-type clefts in the mountain called Ganesh Himal have yielded these pretty specimens before, but thousands more of them, representing several years of production, were brought to Munich by Nepalese miner Hari Prasad Timsina (quartznepal@hotmail.com), and further, smaller hoards were on view at other dealerships around the show. The thin, pointed quartz prisms are heavily dusted and included by dark green, fine-grained chlorite, but are transparent, colorless and highly lustrous in undusted parts; crystals to 60 cm long have been recovered, but most marketed specimens are bristling groups between 3 and 12 cm. They come from an underground quartz mine in Ganesh Himal; a separate but nearby quartz mine typically produces groups of thicker, unchloritized prisms. At this dealership, too, were a few nice crystals of aquamarine beryl to 12 cm long, pale blue and mostly cloudy inside (some cut gems give a cat's-eye effect), but sharp and lustrous, from workings in Kanchanjenga Mountain, Taplejung district.

From a pegmatite at Kaha Chee near Momeik, in the prolific Mogok gem district of Myanmar (Burma), comes a surprise, courtesy of Patrick de Koenigswarter of Miner K (minerk@club-internet.fr). According to Patrick, about 20 small, loose, sharp crystals of pezzottaite have recently been dug from this pegmatite, and the single crystal I saw at Munich, though small, is quite fine: a hexagonal tablet measuring 3 X 6 X 12 mm, bright medium-pink and translucent. Of course, pezzottaite is a recently described species (see vol. 35, no. 5) known heretofore only from its type locality, the Sakavalana pegmatite in Madagascar. It would be of highest interest both to mineral collectors and (take a deep breath) gem cutters should the new locality in Burma turn out to harbor these lovely pink crystals in quantity. If so, you heard it here first.

Well, the sun is sinking below the yardarm, and I have promised (a couple of times now) to end this report with some Big News from Pakistan--so here goes. From the moment I first hit the show floor on the first set-up day, with many dealers not even in evidence yet, an intense and palpable buzz surrounded one stand in "the Taj" that had been set up--that of the Italian dealership Pregi Gemme (pregigemme@iol.it), where Riccardo Prato had laid out in his glass cases a handful of large specimens from new discoveries of epidote and pink fluorite in Pakistan. The combined effect of these two groups of fabulous specimens, plus some extraordinary Pakistani aquamarines, Chinese azurites, and a 36-cm plate of raspberry-red, gemmy elbaite crystals from the Jonas mine, Brazil, made the Pregi Gemme array everyone's favorite candidate for the (imaginary) award of Best Dealer Stand At The Show.

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A huge, Alpine-type pocket opened in September 2006 in the Tormiq Valley, Skardu district, Northern Areas, Pakistan produced about 10 cabinet-size specimens of epidote, including single, loose, bladed crystals to 22 cm and a few clusters to 8 X 12 X 20 cm on gray-green amphibolite matrix with small white crystals of adularian orthoclase. The epidote blades are striated, brilliantly lustrous, and totally transparent in shades of dark green to brown--actually more brown than green, leading one to suspect that the species might actually be clinozoisite (Riccardo admitted that the crystals had not yet been chemically analyzed). Most of these spectacular gemmy crystals have crude terminations, or none, but one twin shows sharp terminations with V-notches to mark the twinning plane.

Riccardo's other show-stopper was a group of only 5 specimens of octahedral pink fluorite from the already well-known locality of Chumar Bakhoor, Gilgit district, Northern Areas, Pakistan. The pocket, opened in September 2006, yielded what must be considered the finest pink octahedral fluorites ever found anywhere in the world--yes, more dramatically beautiful than any from Mont Blanc in France, the Goscheneralp region in Switzerland, or the Huanzala mine in Peru, and larger as well. In all five of the Chumar Bakhoor cabinet specimens, the fluorite crystals rest on beds of silvery muscovite "books" which blanket rock matrix. The largest crystal is 12 cm (4.7 inches!) on edge, and the others range from 5 to 6 cm; some are simple, mirror-faced, razor-edged octahedrons while others show dodecahedral modifications plus subtle flutings on the {111} faces. Best of all, the crystals are highly lustrous, bright rose-pink, and completely gemmy, with the underlying muscovite showing quite clearly through multi-centimetric thicknesses of glowing roseate color. No other specimen-lots at this show could compete with this one for beauty, surprise, and pure mineralogical charisma. Lest you begin having daydreams of ownership, however, be advised that all of the specimens had been "spoken for" even before their enthronement in Riccardo's glass wall case on the first set-up day.

If you have enjoyed and/or been stimulated by all of these happy ravings, then you know your course: you must make it to the Munich Show yourself next year! There is nothing like a cold Mettwurst bought fresh from a butcher shop near the Marienplatz, and perhaps the faeryland sight of snow dusted on the great dome of the Marienkirche, to make you forget just how few Euros you received in exchange for your dollars. And anyway, who knows? Maybe the exchange rate will have improved by November 2007.
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Title Annotation:What's New in Minerals
Author:Moore, Tom
Publication:The Mineralogical Record
Article Type:Conference news
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Mar 1, 2007
Words:5767
Previous Article:Beijing show 2006.
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