Steve Rust wins the 2018 Marsh Award for Mineralogy

16 January 2019

All the team here at Crystal Classics are proud and delighted to announce that our very own Steve Rust has been named the winner of the prestigious Marsh Award for Mineralogy 2018.  Late in the afternoon of Wednesday 19th December, Steve received the exciting news and was presented with the award on Friday 11th January 2019 at the Natural History Museum in London.

The Marsh Christian Trust was established in 1981 by Mr Brian Marsh and the three Marsh Awards for Earth Sciences are made in association with the Natural History Museum, London. This is only the third time the prize has been awarded to a mineralogist, the previous winners being Mr Roy Starkey (2016) and Dr David Green (2017). The award is mainly aimed at the ‘unsung heroes and heroines’ who quietly and methodically make a significant contribution to their field of particular interest.

Steve is well known to the mineral collecting community in the UK and further afield, and also from his work at Crystal Classics Fine Minerals in Somerset. Through his relentless fieldwork over the past 50 years he has made many new discoveries to the United Kingdom in both species and topographic mineralogy. It must be remembered that such discoveries are not only the result of diligent fieldwork, but his long-standing friendship with curators at the Natural History Museum London, without whose help many new British minerals would not have come to light.


Steve in the Crystal Classics showroom in East Coker

From a young age Steve began collecting and recording his finds in magazines such as Mineral Realm. One such article was that of his discoveries in the long disused Milltown quarry in Derbyshire in 1981. This article famously described two unknown species which were destined to become the type specimens for the minerals Ashoverite and Sweetite, both zinc hydroxide polymorphs. The former was named for the nearby town of Ashover and the latter for Jessie May Sweet (1901-1979), Curator of Minerals at the Natural History Museum London. To this day there remain at least two more unnamed species from Milltown quarry that await further research.

In 2008 a mineral new to science, yet another of Steve’s discoveries, was named in his honour, Steverustite, an extremely rare naturally occurring copper lead thiosulphate, whose type locality is Frongoch mine, near to Devil’s Bridge in Ceredigion, Wales.

Steve is recognised for his visual mineral identification and focus-stacking digital photography of micro-crystal mineral specimens, and is currently working on his new book, a beautiful photo-atlas of The Mineralogy of Frongoch Mine. He commands a comprehensive knowledge of British mineralogy, especially that of mid-Wales; the Leadhills - Wanlockhead mining district of Scotland; the Tertiary volcanic minerals of western Scotland; the mines of south-west England and the Laurium - Kamariza mining area in Greece. He is one of the many managers and a regular contributor to Mindat; a member of the Russell Society and the British Micromount Society and is an active member of various mineral/mining groups on Facebook. His famous cap and shovel may still be glimpsed surfacing from a deep hole somewhere in Britain (or Greece).

The award ceremony was held on Friday 11th January 2019 in the Flett Theatre of the Natural History Museum, London.  Just prior to this, Steve met with Tom Goodland, principle proposer of Steve Rust for the Marsh Award.


Tom Goodland (L) and Steve Rust in the Minerals gallery, NHM, London

For those of you now studying the large specimen between Tom and Steve, it is an incredible crystallised Galena from the Great Laxey mine, Isle of Man, UK.

The ceremony began with an introduction by Prof. Richard Herrington, Head of Earth Sciences Department (NHM).  This was followed by Dr Martha Richter, Principal Curator in Charge, Vertebrates, Department of Earth Sciences (NHM), who explained the background and aim of the Marsh Christian Trust and of the three awards about to be made; Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Best Earth Sciences Book of the Year.  There then followed an excellent talk by Prof. Chris Stringer on The Origins of our Species, concentrating on the latest fossil finds, genetic analysis and applied research.  Prof. Stringer is Merit Researcher, Vertebrates and Anthropology Palaeobiology, Earth Sciences Department, NHM.

Steve was then presented with the Marsh Award for Mineralogy 2018 by Brian Marsh OBE, pictured (right) with Steve.


Steve Rust (L) receiving the Marsh Award for Mineralogy 2018 from Mr Brian Marsh, OBE

Next, Dr Christopher Duffin (Scientific Associate, NHM) received the Palaeontology Marsh Award and Dr Alan Graham (Senior Research Associate, Missouri Botanical Garden) for best book Land Bridges, University of Chicago Press, 2018).

This splendid and most memorable day concluded with a wine reception, among which Mike Rumsey (Principal Curator, Minerals, Earth Sciences Department, NHM), Robin Hansen (Curator, Minerals, NHM) and Austin Woodbridge (Volunteer, Minerals, NHM) were there to congratulate Steve.

Now the 2018 awards have been made, the Natural History Museum’s Marsh Awards website is already open for 2019 nominations (closing date mid-December 2019).  So, if you have your own unsung mineralogical hero or heroine, do put them forward a nomination to give the recognition they richly deserve.  Visit: NHM Marsh Award page

Also, well worth a look is Roy Starkey’s tribute on Mindat to Steve winning the 2018 Marsh Award at: Mindat Article

Well done Steve, thoroughly deserved for a lifetime of dedication to mineralogy!

Author: HS & PT
Categories: News & Information