The special exhibit for 2008 was 'Minerals from Australia' with an excellent display coordinated by Penny Williamson, curator of the museum at Wollongong University in NSW.
Entrance to Australian exhibit in hall A6
When thinking of Australian minerals, Gold and Opal are two that spring immediately to mind, and the display were superb.
Gold nuggets on display, with a replica of the 'Welcome Nugget' on the bottom shelf, the real thing was just massive weighing 69 kg! It must have been such a thrill to find (found at Ballarat, Victoria in 1858)
Our Gold display from Kristalle and Crystal Classics
My all time favourite Gold specimen, huge cubic crystals in a very aesthetic form, from Joe's Gully, NSW.
Gold display by Ausrox - including a rare Gold wire from Kalgoorlie on the far left, approx 8cm in height.
Gold display by Mario Pauwels
Crystallised Gold specimen in the display by the National Museum of Scotland, this specimen was illustrated in 'Minerals of New South Wales' in 1876
Beautiful Opal jewellery.
No Australian display would be complete without Crocoite from Tasmania:
Crocoite from Dundas, Tasmania
Large Crocoite specimen from Redlead Mine, Tasmania
Superb Mimetite from Elura Mine, Cobar, New South Wales with large sharp crystals to approx 1.5cm, part of the display by the Natural History Museum of Vienna, Austria.
Superb Azurite with Malachite
Native Silver from Elizabeth Hills, Western Australia
Display of Variscite, from which they are creating some lovely carvings.
Rob Sielecki of Ausrox had a large display of specimens from his private collection, there was some amazing Aussie specimens on display:
Sieleckiite (named after Rob) with Turquoise and Libethenite from Mt Oxide, Queensland
Native Copper from Broken Hill, NSW
Another beauty of Native Copper from Broken Hill, NSW
Huge fan of Azurite and Malachite from Red Dome Gold mine, Queensland, approx 15cm in length.
Variously coloured Gypsum from Pernatty Lagoon, Mt Gunson, South Australia, which Ausrox is well known for.
The famous 'Shoe' seen at Tucson earlier this year.
Some typical Aussie wine - Hair of the Dingo - labelled as 'Genuine Dingo Piss, for real Australian Men' with a location of 'Somewhere by a gumtree, Outback, Australia'
Over in the other hall A4 was the Alpine display, which this year featured Alpine golds with many stunning Gold on Quartz or Gneiss specimens. The Gold was commonly arborscent to dendritic, and etched from the Quartz or seen in vugs between prismatic Quartz crystals. There were some 'feather' form present. Many of the specimens were quite large, and had been found using metal detectors.
People have been searching for Gold in the Western Alps (which overlaps France, Italy, Switzerland) for over 5000 years. The remains of an old gold mine in Bessa in Italy's Piedmont region is estimated to have produced from 200,000 to 240,000 kg of gold alone. These displays are of Golds that have been collected over many years, some found very recently, and are from Museum and Private Collections.
Alpine Golds from Fenillaz, Brusson, Val d'Aosta, Italy
Native Gold from Fenillaz, Brusson, Val d'Aosta, Italy - specimen approx 10cm in height (seen in the previous photo in the top left)
The front two specimens from Speranza, Brusson, Val d'Aosta, Italy, the rear specimens from Fenillaz.
The specimens in the previous three photos are from the Collection of Franco Chianale in Brusson. It is their first showing in public. The three best specimens on display were originally all in a single block, but unaware Franco crushed the block into three pieces, creating the three specimens - the mind boggles to think what the original specimen would have looked like!
Specimens from Speranza, Brusson, Val d'Aosta, Italy, on display from the Natural History Museum in Milan.
More specimens from Speranza and Fenillaz, Brusson
This giant specimen was approx 50cm high. It was found at Fenillaz, Brusson and is in the Collection of Federico Morelli. Old mining instruments can be seen around it, now overgrown by minerals themselves.
There was also displays of Gold jewellery from Roman and Greek times which is crafted from Gold found in the Alps.
Outside the Gold display was this enormous Quartz crystal from Canton of Uri in Switzerland, found within the last month.
Smoky Quartz from Canton of Uri, Switzerland, over 50cm in length.
Photos of the people who have found this specimen. Over the years they have found many huge Smoky Quartzes, plus Fluorites and other Alpine crystals - they have been working the Planggenstock / Goscheneralp area since 1993.
Back out to the dealers, a few more new finds had surfaced - new Amethysts from Hungary seen in the booth of Stoneland, and these Veszelyites with Hemimorphites from Gexin/Laochang/Gejiu, Yunnan Province, China.
Veszelyite was found 3 years ago at this location, and since then no new specimens were found until now. These were in the booth of Berthold Ottens, and also seen in a Chinese dealer's booth in hall A4.
Spanish dealer Jordi Fabre of Fabre Minerals always has new and interesting things in his booth. Jordi had this amazing Pyrosmaltite, possibly the world’s largest crystal, from Varmland, Filipstad, Norway, approx 4.5cm across.
Pyrosmaltite from Varmland, Filipstad, Norway
He also had a new range of Hematite pseudomorphs after Magnetite, many with an overgrowth of second generation Hematite as tiny sparkly crystals. The location of these specimens is Volcan Payun Matru, Malargue, Mendoza, Argentina. This location is the correct location for these specimens – the specimen have previously come out often with the location of Patagonia, Argentina and Jordi was happy to give the correct location on the specimens. The Hematite pseudos were first found a bit before Tucson this year, and this is new material since then.
Hematite pseudomorphs after Magnetite from Volcan Payun Matru, Malargue, Mendoza, Argentina.
Jordi has recently acquired the Silvane Collection. The Silvane collection was created by Sr. Josep Amigó (1924-2008), a Barcelona collector who passed away this year. He put together the collection over the last 25 years and it contained more than 700 specimens, all of which display his excellent taste, and including some pieces which are exceptional. We were fortunate to be the first ones in to look at the material Jordi had to offer at the show, and were privileged to obtain some of the best pieces.
Specimens from the Silvane Collection on display at Jordi's booth.
Back at our booth at Happy Hour, there were some familiar faces:
Joan Kureczka (wife of Jesse Fisher) with Justin and Brandy of The Vug
Dave Hacker with Alan Hart and Mike Rumsey from the Natural History Museum in London.
Simon Lawrence and David Lloyd.
Myself and Lois have fun in our new shoes, snapped with Ian and Rob Sielecki of Ausrox.
Another show draws to a close, and already thoughts now turn to the preparation for Tucson. It will be interesting to see what the final numbers are for attendance to the Munich show, whether it was down on last year - it certainly felt busy over the weekend. Sales were better than we were expecting given all the talk of the economic crisis, but there was definitely the feel that people are being cautious with their money. It will be interesting to see what happens at Tucson given the change in USA government and the currently strengthening dollar.
But for the moment we are just happy with the success of another show, and the fun we had catching up with all the other dealers and collectors - one of the important parts of a mineral show!
We look forward to seeing you next year at Munich! The mineral exhibit theme will be India.