Reflections on the Sainte-Marie Show, 2014

By Will Larson, Pala International


Pala International’s Will Larson shares some of the highlights of the 2014 show whereby an Alsatian mountain township becomes an international playground for mineral enthusiasts.



Sainte-Marie is always a blast! I’m sure everyone in the mineral community has heard us Larsons talk about how much we love the show, and every bit of it is true!


Setup Day photo image
Inside and outside. Setup day provides the Larsons with a chance to get in on the latest finds. (Photos: Will Larson)
Setup Day photo image

The weather was great this year. Sometimes it is prone to thunderstorms, but luckily we avoided that and it was sunny most days of the show with a few clouds spread here and there.

Specimens photo image
Sunlit. Many of the roadside displays are at the mercy of the elements, which were especially merciful this year. (Photo: Will Larson)



Bill Larson photo image
Unwired. Bill Larson asks for his Wi-Fi passcode. (Photo: Will Larson)



Specimens photo image
Élite. Two views from the theater, known as the Prestige area, with only fourteen dealers taking part. (Photos: Will Larson)
Specimens photo image


Gobin photo image
How many bars? Dealer Christophe Gobin multitasks. (Photo: Will Larson)

One of the more exciting discoveries for the French was a brand new find of quartz specimens that had both Japan-law twins as well as beautiful clusters of crystals. These are from the Isère region, a different mine than the famous La Gardette but apparently very close by. The quartzes come out with a beautiful yellow coating which can be removed with basic cleaning but I think I prefer them with the yellow staining as one sees so much clear quartz these days on the market.

Quartz poster image
Above, a poster announcing the January 2014 discovery of quartz, pictured below, in Vizille (in the Rhône-Alps department of Isère, home also of the famous La Gardette Mine). (Photos: Will Larson)
Quartz photo image


Pink Fluorite photo image
A nice large sphalerite from Spain. (Photo: Will Larson)


Booth With Wine photo image
Taking the ad-vin-tage. One way to entice the clientele—including Bill Larson, whose arm appears at lower left. (Photos: Will Larson)


Pool photo image
Wasted space. Booths on all sides, but next year we expect la piscine to be drained. (Photo: Will Larson)

On setup day we were able to get in with our VIP badges and ascertain which new specimens might be lurking inside a box, behind a booth, or on a shelf. As we ran from booth to booth we found new fluorites from China, acanthites from Morocco and lovely little axinites from Pakistan.

Axinite photo image
A selection of axinites from Pakistan. (Photos: Will Larson)
Axinite photo image


Calcite and Amethyst photo image
Calcite and amethyst specimen from Uruguay. (Photo: Will Larson)


Calcite and Amethyst photo image
À votre santé. Will Larson raises a beaker of gluten-free ale surrounded by family and friends: Bill Larson, Carl Larson, Toastmaster, Malte Sickinger, Marcus Walter, Mark Kaufman, and George Hickox. No doggy bag needed for the foie gras. (Photo: Eloïse Gaillou)


See these reports from other years