Saint Marie-aux-Mines Mineral Show report 2009

1 July 2009

Last week was the Saint Marie-aux-Mines mineral show, set in the Alsace Region of France. It is a lovely show, always lots of fun to attend. This year the weather was quite good, in that it was not scorching hot all the time, and it didn't rain!

Attendance seemed to be way down at the show this year, a reflection on the current economy, although it was quite busy still on the Saturday and Sunday. This did however mean that traffic queues were less of a problem this year to get in and out of the town.

Crystal Classics and Kristalle share a booth in the Grand Theatre - the Espace Prestige, this is a much smaller show for us, and we had only 4 cabinets on display.

On our booth we had our first small release of new bright green Fluorites from Riemvasmaak, South Africa. These were premiered by The Collector's Edge in Denver of last year, and we have obtained a new selection of them. This is our first small release, and we will have many more for display at the upcoming Denver show.

Minerals on display
One of our mineral displays featuring the 'neon' green Fluorites from South Africa

Also in this cabinet was a large specimen of Olmiite from N'Chwaning, South Africa. The specimen is quite spectacular and different from many other Olmiite specimens - it is a bright, well crystallised large mass with big crystals and attractive salmon pink colour. Most specimens of Oliimite have small individual balls on matrix ranging from red to buff coloured. This is the best specimen of Olmiite we have seen.

Olmiite from South Africa
Olmiite from N'Chwaning, South Africa.

There were several new finds at the show. The first was some fabulous Epidotes from Knappenwald, Austria; often with hairlike Byssolite, and also accessories of Calcite, Albite, and Apatite. These were in the booth of Watzl Minerals and this was a recent find. The pocket had been blasted so unfortunately many of the possible specimens were broken. The Watzls were first in, and were able to obtain the best specimens.

Epidotes from Knappenwald, Austria
Epidotes from Knappenwald, Austria

Epidote from IKnappenwald, Austria
Well crystallised Epidote with hairlike Byssolite from Knappenwald, Austria

Another new find making a splash at the show were the new Demantoid Garnets from Antezambato, Ambanja, Madagascar. These specimens had a very attractive green colour and good lustre. We photographed these in the booth of Mawingu Gems of Germany.

Demantoid Garnet from Madagascar

Demantoid Garnet from Madagascar
Demantoid Garnets from Madagascar

The following photos are some of the specimens that I saw on my walk around the show.

Quartz sceptre from Namibia
I really like this Smoky Quartz sceptre from Goboboseb Mountains in Namibia in the booth of Gobin minerals.

Calcite from China
Frederic Escaut had several very interesting Calcites from China which were water clear with strange dark brown inclusions/growths. You can also see the double refractive property of the Calcite at work here when you look at the inclusions.

Phosgenite from Italy
Phosgenite with great phantoms from Monteponi, Sardegna, Italy, approx 3cm in size.

Jordi Fabre of Fabre Minerals had several new specimens on display.

Demantoid from Quebec
Jordi had a range of Demantoid Garnet and Amphibole specimens from Jeffrey Quarry in Quebec, Canada, which is already well known for the Grossular/Hessonite Garnets. These new specimens are reminiscent of the Demantoids from Italy, although the colour is darker.

Quartz and Fluorite from Emilio Mine, Spain
Jordi also had a selection of new Fluorite on Quartz specimens from Emilio Mine, Asturias, Spain, including this sweet piece.

Jordi Fabre with Dolomite
Jordi Fabre holding a very large Dolomite specimen from "El Pozo", Navarra, Spain. The two large crystals are a butterfly style twin. It is unusual to see Dolomite crystals this large from this location.

Jolyon of Mindat
Jolyon of ponders one of Jordi's specimens before deciding it will become an addition to his collection.

Fantastic Pyromorphite from Bunker Hill Mine, Kellogg, Idaho, USA, in the booth of Marcus Budil Fine Minerals.

Sperrylite and Cabriite
Very rich specimens of Sperrylite and Cabriite from Oktyabrskiy Mine, Talnakh near Noril'sk, Russia in the booth of Karp Minerals, Czech Republic.

View around St Marie
View around the show, the Grand Theatre seen on the left. Low cloud, but luckily no rain.

Flowers made of minerals mixed next to mineral specimens.

Ammonite Litoceras, Cornucopie
Large and unusual looking Ammonite with 'ruffles'. I believe that the Ammonite was all natural, but had been mounted on the stone base. It would make a great decorator piece. The Ammonite was Litoceras, Cornucopie of approx 180 Ma. This was seen on the stand of Philippe Grelet.

The Val d'Argent expo
One of the halls in the Val d'Argent expo.

Baryte and Malachite from Zaire
Very attractive Baryte and Malachite specimen from Zaire, in the stand of Daniel Houvey.

Baryte, Russia
A very gemmy Baryte from Russia in the stand of Hammad Gems, owner Shafiee Muhammad looks on in background.

Pretty Tourmalines, great colour in real life. On the stand of Afghan Gems Stone.

Large Indicolite Tourmaline specimen with pink cap, from Nuristan, Afghanistan, from Hi-Tech Enterprises.

Siderite from La Mure, Isere, France
A sweet Siderite from La Mure, Isere, France in William Peraud's stand.

Top Minerals International had a selection of historic classics from an old collection from Austria, the Anton Berger Collection, 1920-1950, including these wonderful Benitoites.

Benitoite from CA, USA
Benitoite with Neptunite from San Benito Co, CA, USA.

Berger Collection

Beautiful plates
Gorgeous porcelain plates and bowls, with crystals of Willemite grown on them to create amazing patterns.

There were two special displays in the Grand Theatre. One was of French minerals, from the local area of the Vosges Mountains, and the other was a pretty spectacular display of Fluorites, the pinks and blues were really stunning.

Minerals from the Vosges Mountains:
Fluorite from Berg Heim, France
Fluorite and Baryte from Bergheim, Haut-Rhine, France in the display of local minerals.

Fluorites of France:
French Fluorite
Fluorites from Le Burg, plus the orange specimen, with a sweet green fluorite crystal on the front right is from Peyrebrune

French Fluorites
Fluorite, also I think from Le Burg, love the blue Fluorite.

French Fluorites
Fabulous pink octahedrons from Mont Blanc.

French Fluorite
Beautiful blue Fluorite from Le Burg

French Fluorites
The blue Fluorite on the far left was just stunning! Electric colour. The Fluorites are from Le Beix.

Jeff, Dan, and Richard
Photographer Jeff Scovil with USA dealer Dan Weinrich, and Richard Jackson from The Collector's Edge.

Ian and Wayne
Ian and Wayne in booth

Kristina Bode with Dona
Kristina Bode of Bode Verlag and Dona

Weise and Wayne
Christian Weise of Lapis magazine with his wife Freya and Wayne

Winfried, Renata and Dona
Dr. Renate Schumacher - curator from the Mineralogical Museum at the University of Bonn, Germany - and her husband Winfried, and Dona

Congratulations to Renate and Winfried on their recent marriage, they are a very happy couple!

Allen Arnold
Australian dealer Allen Arnold takes a break.

Bernard and Michelle Charlier
French dealers Michelle and Bernard Charlier.

One of the big plus sides to this show is the location. Saint Marie is tucked into the Vosges mountains in the Val d'Argent, and has a mining history. Then just out onto the slopes of the Vosges Mountains is the Alsace wine area with incredibly pretty villages dotted along the wine route 'Route des Vins'. Ruins of old castles can be seen on the surrounding hill tops, and the historic monument of Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg - which is rumoured to be overtaken by a family of monkeys.

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg viewed from the village Saint-Hippolyte.

Pretty village of Sainte Hippolyte
Pretty village of Saint-Hippolyte

Selestat is one of the larger towns near Saint Marie, and has a wonderful farmers market on Tuesday morning. Stalls line many of the street selling fresh produce, often direct from the seller's garden, plus all sorts of clothes, shoes, household items. The fruit and cheeses and meats were lovely!

Selestat Market
One street of the Selestat Market

Choosing le fromgage
Liz and Dona chose the fromage.

Selestat architecture
Beautiful buildings in Selestat

The next show will be the San Francisco 10 to 12th July - see you there.

Author: Robin
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