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3rd Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium

Last Updated: 2nd Sep 2013

By Jolyon Ralph

3rd Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium, August 2013



Katya and I were delighted to be invited to attend the 3rd Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium this August, even more so as I was asked to give a presentation there about mindat.org.

On the Friday evening before the symposium we attended an opening party held at the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

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The impressive new building for the Perot Museum


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Inside the Gem and Mineral hall - note the hanging crystal sculptures


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Jim Spann talking with Dave Wilber


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Katya Ralph, Tomek Praszkier and Dr Asia Gajowniczek


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One of the displays of fine minerals at the museum.


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A rather large drillbit.


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Peter Megaw and Jim Walker


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Stretch Young with Katya


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Tourmalines on display


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A fabulous chinese rhodochrosite (on loan from Spann collection)


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Katya and I with Rob Lavinsky


The next day, Saturday, was the symposium itself, held at the SMU campus in Dallas.

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Rob Lavinsky opens the event


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Daniel Trinchillo gave a presentation on the Pederneira Mine in Brazil


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The audience


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Brice Gobin gave a talk about mining Malachite and Carrollite in the DRC


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Bill Larson spoke about 40 years at the Himalaya Mine


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Bob Downs from the University of Arizona talked about his work with NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars


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Then it was my turn to talk about mindat.org


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Peter Lyckberg gave a presentation about Russian (and Ukranian) gem mines.


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Bryan Swoboda recording everything. All presentations will be available on DVD soon.


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Dave Wilber talked about treasures in his collection, and his life of mineral collecting.


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And finally, Gene Meieran stood in for absent Wayne Thompson to talk about collecting the very best minerals.


After the presentation many of us visited The Arkenstone's showroom nearby where Rob and his team had prepared snacks, drinks and of course minerals to view and to buy.

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The Arkenstone's Showroom


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Everyone is talking or looking at rocks.


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Rob's daughter (and her friend) were giving out cupcakes she had spent all day baking for the event.


The following day our friends Gail and Jim Spann organized a "Soiree" for the visiting mineral community and local friends, this has now become a regular August event, this being the sixth year it has been run. This year's event was more work than usual to organize as it came during the complete reconstruction of their home.

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6th Annual "Spann Soiree"


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The open door welcoming people into the Spann home


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With up to 200 people attending over the course of the day, Gail was admirably assisted by 'The Help'


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Food ready for guests. Jim Spann is hovering around the food for some reason.


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Tables had candies in these lovely little 'crystal' encrusted bowls.


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Gail Spann and poodle Eragon welcome us to the vault where their best minerals are displayed.


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Guests admiring the minerals in the Vault


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It's impossible to take in the whole collection in one day


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One of several 'blue cap' tourmalines in the collection.


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Incredible Mexican Brochantite


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This realgar on calcite was on the cover of Rocks and Minerals


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Adularia (the cat) admiring some of the Tsumeb suite, including a lovely gem pocket mimetite


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Jim Spann takes advantage of a quieter moment to talk with Herb Obodda


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One of the thumbnail/minature cabinets


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Mark Mauthner carefully handles a 17th century edition of Agricola's "De Re Metallica"


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And finally, Gail and Jim discover the gift that Tom Praszkier left for them. They have been duly warned of its side effects.


We stayed for a couple more days in Dallas to relax and spend some private time with our friends. Before we left, we had a chance to go on a boat ride with Gail, Jim and family to see the sunset over Lake Ray Hubbard - we couldn't have asked for a nicer way to end the trip.

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Sunset over the lake


Thank you to Gail and Jim for hosting us for the trip, thank you to Rob Lavinsky for inviting and funding our visit to the symposium. We look forward to returning next year!





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