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2010 Sussex Mineral Show, Haywards Heath

Last Updated: 14th Nov 2010

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

The 27th Sussex Mineral Show, Haywards Heath, Sussex, England. November 13th 2010

Yesterday was the 27th annual Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society show, held ever November in Haywards Heath, Sussex. Held, as usual, in Clair Hall this one-day show is one of two major UK mineral shows for collectors, the other being the Bakewell Show I reported on last month.

Haywards Heath Mineral Show 2010

One of the main reasons for the show is to promote the society, at the entrance was the
club desk, where prospective members could find out more about the club activities and, if they wanted to, sign up.

Sussex Mineral and Lapdiary Society display

Next to it was a small display of minerals and lapidary creations from members.

Sussex Mineral and Lapdiary Society display

In front of the display, a selection of club photos from years gone past, including in some a much younger Jolyon! But here's a photo from the album of dealer Ian Bruce, who put on a display of Australian Minerals for the show in the mid 1990s

Ian Bruce, Sussex Mineral Show

One of the most important parts of the Sussex Club show, and unique within UK mineral shows, are the talks held in the small hall adjacent to the show. The 1pm talk was from Jan Freedman, keeper of Natural History at the Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery, discussing the collections of Sir John St. Aubyn (17 May 1758 - 10 August 1839), one of the most important mineral collectors in Britain during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Jan Freedman, Keeper of Natural History Plymouth Museum & Art Gallery

Back in the main hall, the Plymouth Museum hosted a small display of minerals from the Sir John St. Aubyn collection

Sir John St. Aubyn Collection

Note the distinctive label on the cylinder of Alum from Siciliy below.

Sir John St. Aubyn Collection

During the talk, Jan described that type of label and several others. They are building an online database of specimens from the collection (many were sold off during his lifetime, so only a percentage are now held in Plymouth). As part of this process, they are asking for people who may have seen his characteristic labels on other specimens to get in touch. Here is the link to see the different types of labels on the collection.

And, as I was watching, I thought I recognised the label from one of my own specimens. When I got home I checked, and yes, I had one on this old specimen of Cuprite from "Siberia". I'll be emailing the photos to the the museum as soon as I've finished this article!

Cuprite from Russia - J.Ralph collection

The museum is famed for a second, far more recent collection, it houses - the Richard Barstow collection. Richard was a UK mineral dealer in the 1970s and 1980s who tragically died very young. His collection came to the Plymouth Museum, and some of the specimens were on display at the show.

Richard Barstow Collection

Malachite from Carn Brea

Chalcocite from Geevor Mine

Back with the dealers, SMLS member Peter Moore, who now lives in France, had returned to sell off excess material from his collection, much of it self-collected. The prices were very reasonable and he was able to sell almost everything before he packed for home.

Peter Moore

The biggest surprise for me at the show was seeing Californian mineral dealer, Wayne Leicht (Kristalle). Here he is with Ian Bruce and Ian's daughter Verity.

Wayne Leicht

Crystal Classics/Kristalle had, as usual, the biggest selection of classic British and worldwide minerals at the show.

Red Heulandite from Old Kilpatrick, Scotland

Fluorite and siderite from Allenheads mine

Large Boltsburn fluorites

SMLS members Allan Mortimer (left) and Nick Hawes examine a Cumbrian baryte specimen found amongst the Crystal Classics flats.

Alan and Nick

The baryte

Natural History Museum curator Alan Hart stops for a tea break with Ed from Crystal Classics

Alan and Ed

Moving along, Liz and Dave Hacker were again offering minerals for sale - here is Liz enjoying the benefits of the show bar.

Liz Hacker

In one of the smaller halls, Peter Briscoe was taking a break from his own table to look through the stock on Andy Castleton's table

Peter Briscoe

While back on Peter's own table, he was offering some samples of uvarovite and yushkinite from Pakistan, including this nice specimen which I almost bought (somebody else beat me to it however).

SMLS Show 2010

Of course, the show offers specimens to suit all collectors at every price range, including the popular and relatively inexpensive Spanish pyrite cubes.

Pyrite from Spain

Ian Jones (Unity Minerals) had a rather rich sphalerite from the Mogul Mine in Ireland.

SMLS Show 2010

G4 Gems had nice rough gemstones, and some very interesting and unusual cut stones. Here are some of their rough gem crystals.

Rough gemstones

A regular part of the show is the competition, where invited entrants put on a display of minerals for the theme of the show, which this year was Iron Minerals.

Cabinet one was from Peter Taylor. It showed minerals from the Florence Mine in Cumbria. While not every mineral shown is an iron mineral, the mine is a classic locality for English hematite and associated minerals, and at least the matrix on each specimen is highly iron-rich!

Cabinet 1 - Peter Taylor

Centerpiece was this magnificent 'kidney ore' hematite, and alongside it the classic 'pencil ore' form of the mineral.

Kidney Ore

Blue fluorite is one of the most highly regarded minerals from this locality, and this was a very nice specimen.

Blue fluorite

Here is a specimen of bladed baryte crystals.


Cabinet two was from Steve Warren.

Cabinet 2 - Steve Warren

It included this excellent ludlamite from Wheal Jane, Cornwall (38).


And this excellent hematite specimen


Cabinet three was from Paul Nicholson

Cabinet 3 - Paul Nicholson

First, a specimen of sphalerite from Kosovo. Dark sphalerite such as this always contains some iron, but the specimen also has siderite, an iron carbonate mineral.

Siderite and Sphalerite

Chalcopyrite is usually thought of as a copper mineral, but of course it contains iron as well as copper.


Cabinet four was from Nick Peters

Cabinet 4 - Nick Peters

A nice group of limonite pseudomorphs after pyrite from the Blaengwynlais quarry in Wales. I've been there and collected these pseudomorphs many times - this is a very nice example.

Limonite from Blaengwynlais

Pyrite crystals in matrix from Co. Galway, Ireland

Pyrite from the Glengowla mine, Ireland

Cabinet five was from Richard Bell

Cabinet 5 - Richard Bell

A very nice 'box' epimorph of siderite after (presumably) fluorite from the Virtuous Lady mine in Devon.

Box epimorph

Cabinet six was from Trevor Devon. Trevor tried to show the diversity of iron mineralogy by including many different species from across the whole mineral kingdom.

Cabinet 6 - Trevor Devon

Unusual minerals including this jervisite from Spain.


and this balangeroite from Italy.


Neither of these two minerals are what I'd call a true "iron mineral", as they don't have essential iron in their formula. Fortunately I wasn't judging the competition this year, this time was the turn of Mike Rumsey from the Natural History Museum.
Clearly he decided that these two minerals were, indeed, iron minerals, because he chose Trevor Devon's cabinet (number six) as the winner. Well done Trevor! Trevor is of course a member of the SMLS, and now for two years running the entrant from the club has won the competition - I would be very suspicious about this if I wasn't the person who judged the result last year!

Thanks to the SMLS for putting on another great show.

Article has been viewed at least 26995 times.


I was planning on attending but due to other commitments (A friends wedding so I feel is a decent enough excuse) I was unable to. It does look as though it is very much the show I remember when i was younger and unquestionably one of the top shows.

That Balangeroite is stunning, regardless of it's Iron content ;-)

Liam Schofield
15th Nov 2010 12:03pm
Thank you for the excellent report. From the display of Trevor Devon you post a photo of a specimen which according to the label is the very rare Scandium mineral "Jervisite" said to come from Rio Tinto, Huelva, Spain. The specimen looks like any amphibole or pyroxene and I wonder if the ID is correct ? Jervisite like most Scandium-minerals are very rare and requires very special geochemical conditions since trivalent Iron or Aluminum usually will be dominant in minerals that contains Scandium. Jervisite is also a very rare mineral not listed from Spain in Mindat.

Knut Eldjarn
15th Nov 2010 11:08pm
Many thanks Jolyon for a splendid report of the Sussex Show. I have to respond to your comment on the ferro-magnesian minerals in my display however. The BALANGEROITE is from the Italian Type Locaclity with only one elemental analysis that I can find, and that records 19.52% iron present, which in my book says it is an iron mineral. I recognise Jolyon's point that the formula indicates that as a ferro-magnesian mineral there is a theoretical end of series mineral with no iron, but that is actually another mineral, not balangeroite! And thank you, Liam for your appreciation of the specimen, I thought it would interest people viewing the display as it looks so "un-iron-like"!

Trevor Devon
22nd Nov 2010 9:06am
No problem. I must admit, I found myself searching my diminished collection, wondering what I could put forward for such an event. I would assume that only the more aesthetically pleasing, visable specimens would suffice rather than my more visually unimpressive specimens. One day, I'd love to be involved in something like that- to have spcimens worthy of presentation would be an start though it would be interesting to see how a tiny specimen of something very unusual would be received. Poorly no doubt..!

Liam Schofield
3rd Dec 2010 8:40pm

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