July 17, 2008

Chips From the Quarry

By Anonymous

SUMMER ENTICEMENTS: Despite the price of gasoline, there are mineral events aplenty to lure us onto the open road with our vacation days. For those who want to escape the heat and humidity of their home state, the cool climes of Michigan's Upper Peninsula entice with the Copper Country Mineral Retreat, 3-10 August, in the historic Lake Superior native copper district. The event encompasses a full schedule of activities: underground collecting, prepared surface collecting, photography workshop, mineral banquet and auctions, socials, speakers, open houses with special sales, a rock swap, historical tours, the thirty-third annual Upper Peninsula Gem and Mineral Show (in Ishpeming) sponsored by the Ishpeming Rock and Mineral Club, the thirteenth annual Copper Country Gem and Mineral Show (in Houghton) sponsored by the Copper County Rock and Mineral Club, and more are planned. Collecting trips are by preregistration only. Localities include the Seneca No. 1, Mohawk No. 1, LaSalle, C&H 21 (Kearsarge lode), Caledonia, Mass, Knowlton, Champion No. 4, Baltic, Quincy No. 6, Minesota, National, Cliff, Phoenix, Central, Copper Falls (Petherick), Mesnard, and Arcadia mines. (Who says there aren't any places to collect anymore?) For more information on the retreat, see http://www.museum.mtu.edu/copper_country_mineral/ index.html. This issue has three articles tied to the Copper Country: one on datolite found this past winter at the Mesnard mine, another on barite crystals with phantoms found in Ontonagon County, and a third on pseudo-octahedral calcite found at the Minesota mine.

If you are headed East, not North, this summer, you will want to take in the East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show, 8-10 August, in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Featured exhibitors will be Herb and Monika Obodda, of Short Hills, New Jersey, who will be filling fifty-three showcases with fine worldwide mineral specimens from thumbnail to cabinet-sized, mining memorabilia, early mineral books, and museum-quality gemstones and gem carvings. There will truly be something of interest for everyone.

Mining scenes and themes will be represented in media as varied as eighteenth-century Meissen porcelain, nineteenth-century carved ivory, cast iron objects, copper memorabilia from Montana and Michigan, and objects related to the Klondike gold rush. One display will feature eighteenth-century copper objects from Herrengrund, Hungary, and another will show objects decorated with polished aragonite from Karlsbad, Bohemia.

Mineral displays will include silvers and fluorites as well as locality groupings from Pakistan/Afghanistan, Germany, England, and Transylvania.

Several cases will be dedicated to early mineralogy books, copper printing plates, and a lithographic limestone block used for printing. Books include Sowerby's British Mineralogy and Kunz's Gems and Precious Stones of North America.

Of special interest to gem enthusiasts will be a display of gemstone carvings from the Oboddas' Gerd Dreher carving collection. All of the carvings are from a single block of gem material, with only the eyes inset with different material. This collection has been exhibited just once before, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Fancy faceted tourmalines will be in one display and museum- quality gemstones in another.

Another show not to miss is the newest kid on the block, another Martin Zinn Exposition, the Southeast Gem & Mineral Show, 15-17 August, in Cartersville, Georgia. It will be held at the Holiday Inn just off I-75, near exit 293, 45 miles north of Atlanta, next to the new Tellus Northwest Georgia Science Museum (formerly the Weinman Mineral Museum). Not only can you visit the show and newly opened museum, but you can also attend a one-day symposium-16 August- sponsored by the Southeast Chapter of Friends of Mineralogy. Theme of the symposium is Gem Minerals, and it will take place at the Tellus Museum.

For details on both the Springfield and Cartersville shows, see http://www.mzexpos.com. For further information on the Tellus Museum, see http://www.tellusmuseum.org, and for symposium information, contact Museum Director Jose Santamaria, [email protected]

ROCK INTO PAPER? Although we have all heard of water being turned into wine, is it possible to turn rock into paper? According to Web site http://www.rock-paper.com/index.html, it is not only possible, but it's being done as yet another way of saving the environment- big time! Phrases such as "mineral-rich paper,""treeless paper," and "paper that rocks" get the attention of the environmentally conscious, for no wood pulp is used in the production of this paper. Even so, it is said to feel, look, print, and fabricate largely like traditional wood-pulp paper while offering far superior durability, water resistance, and tear resistance. What's next, tablets of stone? Oh, wait, that's already been done.

CHALCOPYRITE UPDATE: The chalcopyrite from French Creek, Chester County, Pennsylvania, featured as figure 1 in January/February's Connoisseur's Choice column is now in the collection of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. As stated in that issue's photo caption, the specimen was formerly in the collection of Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences and was owned by Collector's Edge at the time it was photographed by Jeff Scovil. The piece was also in the Carnegie's display, titled American Treasures, at this year's Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: We have many people to thank for underwriting color costs in this issue. The Crystal Gazers group in San Francisco funded color in John White's article on fluorite spheres from India; the donation was in memory of longtime member Jeanne Mager, who is sadly missed. The Northern Michigan University Rock and Mineral Club in Marquette, Michigan, and Shawn Carlson contributed to the Collector's Note column, and an anonymous donation helped bring color to the Mark Mauthner article on California's Oceanview mine. As always, the Cincinnati Mineral Society and the Mineral Section of the Houston Gem and Mineral Society underwrote color costs for the Connoisseur's Choice column, something they have been doing since the column's inception in 1993. Contributors to the Color Fund made color possible in the other articles. Martin Zinn provided for the upgrade in paper stock on which Rocks & Minerals is published. All are thanked for their generosity.


Some of the Obodda Pieces to Be Displayed

Sodalite, var. hackmanite, 2.8 cm, Badakshan, Afghanistan.

Gilt Herrengrund (Hungary, now Slovakia) copper souvenir with mining motiff, 13.5 cm, mid-eighteenth century.

Karlsbad, Bohemia (Czech Republic), intarsia work utilizing local aragonite; about 10 cm.

Brookite and quartz, 2.6 cm, Baluchistan, Pakistan.

Hinged ivory tusk with mining scene carved in its interior, 14 cm (open), Germany ca. 1850.

Porcelain platter with hand-painted mining decoration, 38 cm, Meissen, Germany, late eighteenth century.

Native silver, 6.5 cm, Freiberg, Saxony, Germany.

Calcite twin, 9 cm, Cumbria, England.

The Connoisseur's Choice chalcopyrite specimen pictured in the January/February 2008 issue. Debra Wilson photo.

Copyright Heldref Publications Jul/Aug 2008

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