August 2015 Newsletter
Table of Contents
Shows and Events
- Pala at Denver Fine Mineral Show: September 12–15, 2015
- Mineral & Gem Asia: An Optimistic View
- Reflections on the Sainte-Marie Show, 2015
- PEG in a Poke
Pala International News
Minerals and Mineralogy News
- Yale Gets Gallery Gift from Friend
- Fill in the Blanks: Urban Geode Street Art of A Common Name
- Crystal Gazing
- Mineralogy from Natural Productions of Burmah
by Rev. Francis Mason
Shows and Events
Pala at Denver Fine Mineral Show: September 12–15, 2015
Pala International will exhibit at the second annual Denver Fine Mineral Show in nearby Golden.
- When: Sept. 12–15, 2015
- Where: Denver Marriott West, 1717 Denver West Bl., Golden
- Room 219
Sat.–Mon.: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Tue.: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
- Admission: Free and open to the public
We look forward to seeing our many friends there.
Each afternoon of the show, attendees can take in talks by local and not-so-local speakers in the "Hear it from the Experts" series:
- Dr. James Hagadorn, Curator, Denver Museum of Nature and Science: "Colorado Volcanoes – From Earthquakes to Minerals"
- John Cornish, John Cornish Minerals: "Upside Down and In The Future, Mining Tasmania’s Adelaide Mine"
- Krystle Dorris, Weather Channel "Prospector": "Filming of 'Prospectors' and Recent Dorris Family Discoveries"
- Graham Sutton, Collector's Edge Minerals: "The Chinese Mineral Market – 10 Years of Progress"
Visit the Pala International Show Schedule for future events.
Mineral & Gem Asia: An Optimistic View
Readers of our pages will recall that we publicized the new Mineral & Gem Asia show in Hong Kong that overlapped the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair last month. Unfortunately, the show also overlaps the Sainte-Marie show, which Pala people attend regularly, so we didn't give the new show a lot of thought. Fortunately, Tucson Gem & Mineral Society member Guenther Neumeier attended the Hong Kong show along with photographer Mark Mauthner. Their report might surprise readers, given the challenges facing past shows in China. Take, for instance the review by Pala International's Will Larson of the 2013 Changsha Mineral and Gem Show. Regarding set-up day, Will wrote:
At a normal show this is the day you look forward to, the day all the deals are going down and most purchases are made. But when we arrived at 11 a.m. no one had any goods. In fact, most booths were still being built or modified. The reason: customs officials were having trouble releasing the foreigners' goods. Maybe they needed a little "grease?" or who knows what. Either way, dealers were starting to get upset. The show starts tomorrow…hello.
Fortunately, Will and his party at least were able to browse the booths of Chinese dealers. Such glitches didn't necessarily hasten the return of attendees, especially professionals, to shows in China. But things can change…
Guenther Neumeier, writing about last month's Hong Kong show, admits the decision to attend a new show was a gamble, but he notes that the exhibition was mounted by seasoned organizers UMB Asia, the same folks who have offered the overlapping Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair for years. And it shows! Read all about it in "A New and Promising Mineral Show" on the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society website.
Reflections on the Sainte-Marie Show, 2015
Pala International's Will Larson provides info, images
The Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines mineral show is one of the highlights of my year as a mineral enthusiast—mostly because the town is located in such a charming area, not because it has the most minerals on display, although this year it did feature a fantastic display of alpine minerals. Every year I look forward to late June to visit the show and this year was no different—well, a little different as I was accompanied by my lovely wife Rika, along with my mother and father on this adventure.
This year the show was probably the most organized it has ever been. There were very few times traffic was an issue. In past years, the traffic coming into the town was lined up for at least one hour, but no more! Mayor Claude Abel and the show organizers have done an amazing job: by reducing the bottleneck by adding buses and off-site parking, by improving the layout of the booths, and even expanding some areas to integrate more dealers and special exhibits into the show…
For three dozen more photos of the show and its special exhibition, read Will Larson's complete report, Reflections on the Sainte-Marie Show, 2015.
PEG in a Poke
If we can let the cat out of the bag, a little bird told us that the Pegmatite Interest Group is considering its ninth biennial International Symposium on Granitic Pegmatites (PEG 2019) to be held in the San Diego, California area. PEG 2017 will take place in Norway.
Because of San Diego's many pegmatitic districts and active gem mines—assuming those mines will be active four years hence—as well as the area's private and public collections, selection of the area seems a natural. Our informant also noted that it was in Southern California that Richard H. Jahns published what has been called "a series of classic papers on layered pegmatite-alpite instrusives, which established him as one of the world's leading authorities on these fascinating and important rock types."
Pala International is very excited about the consideration of San Diego as the venue for PEG 2019.
Pala's Featured Specimen: "Rainbow Castle"
This time we offer a goethite growing in columns with vivid iridescences sparkling with all the colors of the rainbow. The sample, from a very unique find in the 1980s, was in a Spanish private collection.
Interested? Contact us.
We don't often make mistakes, and they usually are the sort that can be corrected when the newsletter is archived on Palaminerals.com. A couple of instances come to mind. Two years ago, I mistook dendrites for fossilized ferns; historian and professional appraiser Dr. Kenneth Burchell straightened me out, as did paleontologist Alan Goldstein. In June, as part of thanking clients for their support over the past 46 years of Pala International's existence, I wrote: You keep us unspired. That gaff was caught in-house by Pala's John McLean.
In our last edition of Pala Mineralis, we featured a specimen that I understood had made a 360-degree revolution since it appeared in April 2011 as that month's feature, and we were happy to offer it again. Imagine my surprise when we received a note from collector Kevin Schofield that read in part, "My intrigue is driven largely by the fact that the piece in question is sitting about ten feet from me as I speak, and has been in my possession ever since purchasing it from you in April of 2011. It also features quite nicely in the recent Texas Collectors edition from the Mineralogical Record." As is my own intrigue driven…
— David Hughes, Editor
Mineral and Mineralogy News
Yale Gets Gallery Gift from Friend
The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History got a birthday present of $4 million from David Friend to mark the museum's 150th anniversary, it was announced June 16.
The gift will allow augmentation of the museum's existing auditorium, as explained by David Skelly, director of the Yale Peabody Museum. "This renovation project will reimagine our auditorium as both an exhibit space and a room in which groups can gather together for teaching and learning. The remarkable specimens will complement our displays in the adjacent Hall of Minerals, Earth, and Space, and advance the museum’s mission to communicate understanding of Earth history to a wide audience." Friend also will create an endowment to support programming and displays in the new space, which will be named David Friend Hall.
The gift is no whim; Friend's early interest in minerals and chemistry led to study in other areas of science. He graduated from Yale with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in 1969. "My passion for minerals came from inspiration, not textbooks,” he said. “The variety and beauty of minerals is astonishing. My hope is that this new space inspires visitors to ponder how these materials are formed, where they come from, and their composition."
Fill in the Blanks: Urban Geode Street Art of A Common Name
When I lived in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo neighborhood, circa 1979–1980, the area had been invaded by artists seeking large studio space at relatively low rent. My building was filled with many artists, one of whom contributed visuals to my electro-acoustic sound performance in the small gallery space my roommates created in our spacious loft. Occasionally the art spilled into the streets. One resident of our building had a habit of painting features of our urban landscape—not representing them on canvas, but literally covering them with pastel hues. It was her signature and we recognized her work immediately.
So I was reminded of all of this when Will Larson sent me a link to A Common Name, which documents the work of Paige Smith, who regards the nooks and crannies of that urban landscape as the un-gessoed canvas for her "Urban Geodes." In fact, Smith has traveled much of the same terrain that I did thirty-five years ago. Geode #2 in her documentation appears directly across the street from where I lived, on Traction Avenue. I was unable to obtain permission to use her images by e-press time, but I'll provide street views from Google Maps that show what caught her eye.
When I was going to college in the late 1970s in Hollywood, if we were able to splurge, we'd go to Echo Park, to Taix Restaurant, which bills itself as French Country Cuisine from a family originally from the Hautes-Alpes (see Alpine specimens above). The menu has branched out a bit in forty years—a chicken sesame salad, macaroni and cheese, tuna salad sandwich—but you can still get two types of Salade Niçoise (my favorite), a charcuterie plate, Grand-Mère's Beef Tongue Écarlate (on Mondays), and frog legs. Paige Smith saw a chink in the base of Taix's planter and filled it with golden Geode #4.
Paige Smith's geodes are to be found on five continents, and are created out of individually cast resin or hand-cut or -folded paper. Thus, they could degrade over time. Is this what took place in on Hollywood Boulevard—Geode #12?
A profile of Smith appeared in the Mar-Apr 2015 edition of Rocks & Minerals.
Smith encourages people to become involved in "a beta program of participatory art" by contacting her and arranging for geodes to be placed in a nook or cranny near you.
— David Hughes, Editor
BBC's Strange & Beautiful
You can ignore the lurid headline: "Ten Crystals with Weird Properties that Look Like Magic." For one thing, most of the minerals highlighted in BBC's Strange & Beautiful entry are pretty prosaic. And while seasoned mineral enthusiasts won't find much new, the ten crystals profiled—fluorite, selenite (of the Naica Cave), Iceland spar, quartz, galena, meteoritic carbon crystals, autunite, sugar (!), biophotonic crystals, volcanic ice crystals—could be a good introduction to spark a novice's interest in minerals.
The aforementioned carbon crystals, from the Haverö meteorite that landed in Finland in 1971, are harder than terrestrial diamonds. Heat and pressure from the meteor's entry into Earth's atmosphere are thought to have been responsible. The meteorite is discussed in the 2010 paper, "Carbon polymorphism in shocked meteorites: Evidence for new natural ultrahard phases."
Last week it was announced that some other carbon crystals—diamonds—were found to be so unlike typical diamonds that they received a new classification. According to the Russian Ministry of Science (as reported by The Siberian Times) the diamonds were found in solidified lava from the 2012–2013 Tolbachik eruption on the Kamchatka peninsula in eastern Russia. Thus: "They are named Tolbachik diamonds," the Ministry stated. "According to the Russian geologists, these unique diamonds are not formed in the magmatic melt, but are created by volcanic gases under pressure and as a result of crystallisation under the influence of electrical discharges of lightning."
And life seemed to imitate art, loosely speaking, at least at first. Producing diamonds from gas in this way was patented in France in 1964, according to the Ministry. In fact, the Tolbachik diamonds look like synthetics. But in a comment on the Siberian Times article, scientist Reginald B. Little differs, stating that the 1964 patented method "is much different from the phenomena occurring during lightning striking a sample like hydrocarbon gas or solid carbon […]."
A chapter from Natural Productions of Burmah by Rev. Francis Mason
With Pala Presents, we offer selections from the library of Pala International’s Bill Larson, who will share with us some of the wealth of information in the realm of minerals and mineralogy.
Rev. Francis Mason (1799–1874) was an American Baptist missionary who, beginning in 1830, spent time in Burma directing a college for home-grown preachers and teachers in Tavoy, in the country's narrow southern region. He translated the Bible into local dialects and published a grammar of the Pali language.
But Mason also was a naturalist, and in 1850 he produced The natural products of Burmah, or notes on the fauna, flora and minerals of the Tenasserim provinces, and the Burman empire. It was published by the American Mission Press in Burma. In 1851, Mason published Flora burmanica, or, A catalogue of plants, indigenous and cultivated, and in 1852,Tenasserim; or, Notes on the fauna, flora, minerals, and nations of British Burmah and Pegu, with systematic catalogues of the known minerals, plants, mammals, fishes, mollusks, sea-nettles, corals, sea-urchins, worms, insects, crabs, reptiles, and birds, with vernacular names. Next, in 1860, came Burmah, its People and Natural Productions. In 1868 he published a Burmese hand-book of medicine.
Finally, in 1870, Mason issued his memoir, The Story of a Working Man's Life, with Sketches of Travel in Europe, Asia, Africa and America.
We are happy to offer Part One of the chapter, Mineralogy, from Rev. Mason's first work, Natural Products of Burmah. In it, you will be introduced to "fowl's blood," "Eggplant flower stone," "Oriental amethyst," "earth soap" and more.
— End August Newsletter • Published 8/3/15 —