Notes from the EDITOR.
Talk about a tough nut to crack, getting authoritative articles on Soviet mineral localities prior to the fall of the "Iron Curtain" was just about impossible. Every minable commodity was considered to have "strategic significance" in some way, and consequently the publishing blackout covered nearly all of the information we wanted. Getting specimens out wasn't easy either, as the brave mineral dealers operating in that theater in those days will attest.
Happily, those problems began to crumble away in 1988. Beginning at the Munich Show that year (see vol. 20, no. 1, p. 69-75) we started seeing wonderful recently mined Soviet minerals in quantity for the first time, coming from localities we had never heard of, such as Dal'negorsk and Akchatau. Old classics began turning up anew as well, such as crocoite from Berezovsk and dioptase from Altyn-tyube. We discovered that we had mineral collecting brethren in the Soviet Union who were becoming more active and were building excellent collections. Curators of important Russian mineral museums were suddenly able to travel outside of their country, and we had the opportunity to meet them face-to-face in places like Munich and Tucson. Truly it has been a boon to all collectors to see that great land become fully integrated into the world mineralogical community.
It required a bit more time before mineralogical publishing caught up to the changes taking place in Russian and former Soviet societies. During the first 25 years of the Mineralogical Record, 1970-1994, we published not a single significant locality article on any occurrence in the lands of the former Soviet Union. Michael Leybov and his associates in Moscow broke the ice by beginning publication of the Russian mineral-collecting journal, World of Stones--in English--in 1993. In 1994 we got started ourselves with a review of early Russian mineral collectors in "The history of mineral collecting, 1530-1799" (vol. 25, no. 6).
In 1995 we finally got down to localities, with "A guide to mineral localities in the former Soviet Union," by Bill and Carol Smith (vol. 20, p. 517-549). (Bill had gotten a head start, as a former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency.) That same year we also described an important antiquarian work on Russian mineralogy, "Nickolay Ivanovich Koksharov and his Mineralogie Russlands (1853-1891)" in the 1995 Books Issue (vol. 26, no. 4). In 1996, Lutz Nasdala et al. gave us an interesting study on "Unusually shaped quartz aggregates from Tirniauz, Russia" (vol. 27, p. 205-206 and 223). Louis Cabri et al. contributed an article on "Platinum-group minerals from the Konder Massif, Russian Far East," in 1997 (vol. 28, p. 97-106). Evgeni Burlakov provided us with two important articles on the Dodo and Puiva deposits in 1999 (vol. 30, p. 427-442 and 451-465). And in the September-October 2000 issue we featured a "Collector Profile" of Vladimir Pelepenko, Russia's leading private collector and one of the fir st to display his minerals in the West.
In this issue we cover one of Russia's most important and prolific modern localities, Dal'negorsk, and we also present the abstracts from this year's mineralogical symposium in Tucson, focusing on Russian and former Soviet localities and minerals. We hope this is just the beginning of what will ultimately be a lengthy and thorough documentation of important localities in the former Soviet Union. Authors with ideas for articles are invited to contact the editor.
In the meantime, schedule a trip to the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show this February, where the special topic will be--you guessed it--gems and minerals of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Show chairman Bob Jones and exhibits chairman Peter Megaw have arranged a stunning banquet of sights that may well constitute a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
We never like raising the subscription price of the Mineralogical Record, but we have found that we must do so every two years in order to catch up with our increasing production and mailing costs. This policy has kept us viable for over a quarter of a century, serving the world's mineral collectors and specimen-oriented professionals.
Although the need for increases is inescapable, we have always tried to mete them out in the smallest doses possible. In comparison to most other U.S. periodicals, we've done pretty well in keeping increases to a bare minimum. For example, the average increase for all U.S. periodicals (according to a study by the journal American Libraries) from 1988 to 1998 was 10% per year, and for just the scientific journals it was 7.6% per year. Over that same time period the price of the Mineralogical Record increased an average of less than 5% per year.
Major subscription agencies (EBSCO, Faxon, Blackwell's, etc.) are projecting an average price increase of 10% for U.S. periodicals in 2001. This is based on higher postage costs (the non-profit rate will rise by 10%-16%), higher paper costs (5% to 6% for 2001), and general inflation in publishing-related services that considerably exceeds the projected increase in the Consumer Price Index. Our increase for 2001 will still amount to less than 5% annually over the last two years.
Our non-U.S. subscribers get a break, too. The average surcharge for overseas subscriptions to U.S. journals is $16.98 for six issues. Our surcharge is only $4!
No one likes increases, but we hope our readers will still consider the Mineralogical Record to be a bargain. Subscription fees cover only a portion of our total costs; the rest we raise in other ways, so that our subscribers can receive their favorite mineral magazine at the lowest possible price.