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October 2015

Air Dubai. Business class travelers are greeted by large-scale slices in the lounge at Dubai International Airport. (Photo: Brice Gobin)

Air Dubai. Business class travelers are greeted by large-scale slices in the lounge at Dubai International Airport. (Photo: Brice Gobin)

Table of Contents

Mineralientage München 52nd Munich Mineral Show:
October 30 – November 1, 2015

Pala International's Bill Larson and Will Larson will attend this year’s Munich Show.

When: October 30 – November 1, 2015
Where: Munich Trade Fair Centre
Hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM each day
   Friday, October 30 (Trade only)
   Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1 (Trade and public)

This year's theme is "Precious Stones" and featured will be an exhibition of mineral specimen "Masterpieces," including the "Crown of Shengus" (shown below) and "Kilimanjaro," the world's largest tanzanite crystal (11,000 ct, 22 cm). Also represented will be "Gemstones of Lost Civilizations," looking at gems over the last six thousand years. "Ice Age" will take visitors back even further through the fossil record.

"Crown of Shengus." Aquamarine on feldspar and muscovite, Haramosh Mountains, Skardu District, Baltistan, Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas), Pakistan, 27 cm. (Photo: Malte Sickinger, courtesy Munich Show)

"Crown of Shengus." Aquamarine on feldspar and muscovite, Haramosh Mountains, Skardu District, Baltistan, Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas), Pakistan, 27 cm. (Photo: Malte Sickinger, courtesy Munich Show)

For more information visit the show website. See the Pala International Show Schedule for future events.

Wall of Golden Fleece. This is one of the great highlights of the Munich Residenz Treasury, which visitors to the Munich Show can take in as a side trip. In July 2010 we examined the relationship between the stone that would become the Hope Diamond and a ceremonial pendant for the Order of the Golden Fleece (look for the little sheep hanging from some of these insignias). (Photo courtesy Eloïse Galliou)

Wall of Golden Fleece. This is one of the great highlights of the Munich Residenz Treasury, which visitors to the Munich Show can take in as a side trip. In July 2010 we examined the relationship between the stone that would become the Hope Diamond and a ceremonial pendant for the Order of the Golden Fleece (look for the little sheep hanging from some of these insignias). (Photo courtesy Eloïse Galliou)


Virtual Museum of Chinese Minerals

For twenty years while living in Hong Kong, collector Steve Smale has acquired fine Chinese mineral specimens, highlights of which are featured in his book, The Smale Collection. (Smale's wife Clara, who shared in the collecting, died in 2011.) He now is sharing the cream of the crop—300 in all—via the photography of Jeff Scovil: the Virtual Museum of Chinese Minerals. Visitors can browse by species, by locality, or at random (via the home page).

Smale takes pride in the aesthetics of thes specimens, pointing out that nearly all of them present well from any angle, and to his knowledge none of the pieces has been repaired or restored. And he requested that Jeff Scovil minimize the use of image enhancement. The results will keep you occupied for quite some time.

Pala International News

With this edition of our newsletter we offer a rare and remarkable specimen of well crystallized greenish prehnite in a fine cockscomb specimen. This beautiful group was found earlier this year at the Merelani Mine, Arusha, Tanzania.

To make the piece even more exciting and interesting, a well terminated bicolor (yellow and blue) tanzanite (3.0 x 2.5 cm in height) has grown into the side of this prehnite.

Tanzanite parasite? Prehnite and tanzanite from Merelani, Tanzania, 5.5 x 4 x 4 cm. Price available upon request. (Photo: Mia Dixon)

Tanzanite parasite? Prehnite and tanzanite from Merelani, Tanzania, 5.5 x 4 x 4 cm. Price available upon request. (Photo: Mia Dixon)

Interested?  Contact us!


Appraising Harvard Redux

Pala International's Bill Larson Assesses
the Mineral Collection at Harvard University

In the summer of 2013, Bill Larson was asked to appraise the gemstone collection of the Mineralogical and Geological Museum at Harvard University. (See "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" on Palagems.com.) In 2015, Bill was asked to return and do the same for the mineral collection. He also took advantage of the opportunity to attend the East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show in West Springfield Massachusetts.

This spring I received an email from Dr. Raquel Alonso-Perez, Curator of the Mineralogical and Geological Museum, inviting me to visit Harvard during the first week of August in order to appraise their finer mineral specimens for the museum’s usage. We decided on a valuation of roughly $5000.00 per specimen to qualify for appraisal, as their collection is rather extensive. And I was asked to assess the complete collection, i.e., the specimens on display, the duplicates underneath in drawers, the better study specimens, the vault, and the bank lock-box collections.

"The Wire," from the Ground Hog Mine in Colorado. This and several other priceless gold specimens are kept by Harvard in a bank lock-box. Bill's story includes ten images of other beautiful golds. (Photo: Bill Larson)

"The Wire," from the Ground Hog Mine in Colorado. This and several other priceless gold specimens are kept by Harvard in a bank lock-box. Bill's story includes ten images of other beautiful golds. (Photo: Bill Larson)

Any avid mineral enthusiast will realize that the opportunity to work with these pieces is an amazing experience and an honor. For instance, going into the project I knew that, not only would I get to hold the great Ground Hog Mine gold wire, but I would be refreshing and expanding my own knowledge on rare and classic localities. Read the rest of the story on Palaminerals.com…

Red embers. A gorgeous example of pyrope garnets in schist, from the Red Embers Mine in Erving, Massachusetts. Read the story behind this specimen at the tail end of "Appraising Harvard Redux." (Photo: Ben DeCamp)

Red embers. A gorgeous example of pyrope garnets in schist, from the Red Embers Mine in Erving, Massachusetts. Read the story behind this specimen at the tail end of "Appraising Harvard Redux." (Photo: Ben DeCamp)


Querying the Curator

Last February, at the Westward Look Show in Tucson, Dr. Alonso-Perez sat down with Bob Jones, Show Host for BlueCap Productions' What's Hot in Tucson series, to discuss the Harvard Museum's holdings. The museum was featured on Collector's Day, which takes place on Saturday each year, giving visitors a chance to browse highlights from the institution's collection as well as talk informally with Raquel Alonso-Perez, its curator. Bob Jones begins the conversation by asking Raquel to name her favorite specimen from what is the oldest university mineral collection in the country.

Mineral and Mineralogy News

NOVA Mines Harvard's Vault for Spring Segment

You won't find mention of it on the NOVA website, but the weekly science series will offer a segment next spring called "Life's Rocky Start." A four-minute teaser displays rotating, "flying" mineral specimens chosen for their vivid hues or fluorescence.

Industry News

Prospector Gives Up Smoking, Gets 2.7-k Nugget

Mick Brown, of Kerang, Victoria, in southeastern Australia, had stopped smoking for about two weeks when his wife told him to leave the house; he was just too grumpy. To blow off steam, Brown left town for a few days and went prospecting with a metal detector in Wedderburn, about an hour and a half's drive to the southwest. He'd been there before. Sure enough, the detector detected—what he thought to be a "blob of copper," as reported by The Age on March 9. "Bugger me," he thought, when it turned out to be gold. He named the nugget "fair dinkum," Australian slang for "fair enough."

The nugget was offered for AUD160,000 in April, but there were no takers even though there was interest as far away as the United States, according to an Mi9 story on September 7. By the time of that story, Brown had sold the nugget for AUD175,000 in Ballarat, an hour and a half west of Melbourne, to a private Australian collector who Brown hopes will keep the nugget as-is.

Since the time of the big find, Brown has been back to the site, which he won't divulge, and has found about AUD30,000 more, including one 50-gram nugget worth AUD2,500.

Pala Presents

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.


Mineralogy, Part Two

This time we offer part two of the Mineralogy chapter of Rev. Francis Mason's Natural Productions of Burmah. This section covers Metaliferous Minerals and Combustible Minerals. Of interest is the section on gold: "Though not quite so abundant as in California, yet there is perhaps, no mineral except iron, more universally diffused over the Provinces, than gold." And the section on tin, for which Mason and his informants do a feasability study. A new carbonaceous mineral also is named—tremenheerite—after Capt. Tremenheere, who sent the material to the Museum of Economic Geology in Calcutta for analysis.

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. 


— End October Newsletter • Published 10/1/15 —


Note: PalaMinerals.com selects much of its material in the interest of fostering a stimulating discourse on the topics of minerals, mineralogy, and the mineral industry. Therefore the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those held by the proprietors of PalaMinerals.com. We welcome your feedback.