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Bakewell Rock Exchange October 2013

Last Updated: 14th Feb 2016

By Colleen Thomson

Bakewell show report for mindat 2013

A couple of weekends ago (12th and 13th October) saw the annual event of the Bakewell Rock Exchange, put on by the Peak Lapidary and Mineral Society. As usual this popular show seemed to be well attended, according to the dealers, the Saturday was particularly busy.
Sunday often attracts more 'club' type people who come to the show as much to socialise as to buy. This is certainly true where I am concerned, as many people will tell you!
Although I would love to attend the show (and other shows) on the Saturday too, my work commitments unfortunately prevent me from doing so. Consequently it becomes something of a challenge to get around the two halls and see everything AND say 'hi' to alot of lovely mineral friends.

The Sunday was a very wet Autumn day and the drive up the M1 motorway to Derbyshire was, well...damp.
Rain on the motorway going to Bakewell

The Bakewell Show is also a great show for 'discovering' new specimens that collectors have dug over the previous year, or dug out of old collections.
Its also an ideal show for gathering North of England minerals. I don't know what it is about the Iron Ore fields of Cumbria and the History of the lead mines of Derbyshire and Weardale, but I find them endlessly fascinating.
If you ever find yourself at the Bakewell show -its here you will find Classic specimens from Classic North of England localites - sometimes on sale from the miners themselves!

Andy Castleton always has plenty of very reasonably priced specimens, and on this occasion, had a few nice cabinet specimens of Fluorite (which, I confess, I do have a particular fondness for) and several of them came home with me, including an unusual modified crystal habit specimen from Ladywash Mine in Derbyshire.
Fluorite from Derbyshire
Unusual Fluorite from Ladywash Mine

Back to N.of England minerals in a minute.....

Meanwhile I spent a while with Mike Wood who is probably the best (and most adept at cliff scaling and hanging off a rope)collector of Scottish Zeolites. Many British collectors will tell you that a few of the collecting areas on the coast of the Isle of Skye can be tricky, if not downright treacherous. Mike thankfully, has a head for heights and an uncanny ability for finding the most wonderful jewel lined vugs in the volcanic Basalt boulders.
In the past I have had from Mike large cabinet specimens of Stilbite to rival those from Pune in India.
This year he has found amazing salmon pink Chabazite, some partially covered by gemmy and sugary micro crystals of creamy white Stilbite - very aesthetic. He has also found the most stunning very pale watery green gemmy Apophyllite crystals with Stilbite and Thomsonite, also from Moonen Bay on Skye.
chabazite Skye
Apophyllite Skye

By this stage, I had probably been at the show for over an hour and had not yet been into either of the main halls yet.....
I stuck my head around the door of the main large exhibition hall (sports hall in the Lady Manners School, where the show is held) and promised to those people nearest, that 'I'll be back' (still can't get Arnie out of my head each time i hear that phrase...)and dashed into the smaller exhibition hall for a quick cuppa.
Never got as far as the Tea..... got distracted by the Crystal Classics stand, as usual. A treasure Trove of some stunning pieces. The majority were way over my budget, but its always an education in what to look out for with regards quality, crystal perfection, rareity and WOW factor. The guys are always very charming and informative.
Steve Rust shows a Rutile and Hematite Specimen
Henmilite Japan

Still distracted, I was drawn to Mike Brooks stand by a shiny row of Pyrite crystals from Tanzania. These were all about 1- 2 inches (2.5 to 5cms) in size and were really funky (not a technical term) with their crystal structure. Not quite sure how to describe them really -it was like they couldn't decide what crystal form to be, so they tried to be everything: pyritohedron,octahedron,diploid,cube,and trapezohedron. Like I said. Funky.
row of complex Pyrite crystals

stopped by to say hi to Rob Selley and Mike Merry from Cornwall and see what treasures the west Country had to offer. I was not dissapointed. there were the 'usual suspects' of Classic Bournonite from Herodsfoot Mine and sparkling micro crystals of Botallackite from Cligga Head.
Botallackite Cornwall

The latest 'find' from Cornwall, and creating a bit of an excited buzz amongst serious collectors and mineralogists is the discovery this year of a Skutteradite material with veinlets and patches of Nickelite from the St. Austell Consols, St Stephen.
These have been analysed. More research and further analysis of the material is ongoing, with several rare species apparently noted (sorry, I do not have the details at this time). The majority of the material appears to be massive or with poor micro crystalisation, although I have observed crystals of Skutteradite at high magnification (x45).
New Find from Cornwall

After stopping by to catch up with a couple of other dealers, I finally got a hot cuppa and a slice of Date and Walnut cake. Heaven. they certainly do know how to look after people at this show. Its something that is sadly lacking at some other venues, and perhaps needs to be addressed.

Now...Heading back to the North of England......

I finally got to see Mick Croft,an 'old -time miner' who in the last 50 or more years has been associated with mines in the Cumbrian Iron Ore body and elsewhere. A bit of a character and always with plenty of stories to tell. Mick is still finding new treasures, including an amazing recent dicovery of large divergent crystal groups of Aragonite (most partially included with Fe or Mn oxides). The better pieces are now in private collections, but I did manage to bring home one or two small 'bonnie bits' (thanks guys)!
I also managed to spend time with Pete Ward,who is managing the Project excavating the old Greenlaws Mine. After about four years and a lot of hard digging and shifting tons of muck by hand, the team are now down on the flats and the signs are good ( there be Fluorite in them veins!).
Pete was selling off some of Ben Creightons collection, which gave me the opportunity of purchasing some nice pieces for my collection- hoorah!
Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 1
Pic 2

Pete was adding to his own collection too, with some classic old timers - including one of the best Heights Fluorite I had ever seen - glassy cubes, lovely composition.

An awesome flattened cube -huge and perfect, great colour Fluorite from Blackdene Mine, Weardale, and a wonderful Campyllite (var. Mimetite) from dry Gill, Caldbecks with a label : 'Mineral department British Museum' - i took a 'before' photo, because it needs cleaning, so hopefully, Pete will take an 'after' shot too.
There is also a great Galena specimen with a Richard Barstow white label (from his personal collection). Pete wanted this one, as he was probably with Richard in Blackdene Mine when he collected it.

Talking of 'British Classics', Its always lovely to spend a bit of time with Ralph Sutcliffe. I did'nt get much time to peruse his specimens and I was somewhat distracted by the beautiful polished and facetted Fluorites he had displayed. Totally awesome gem Fluorites from North of England. stunning.
Mick Croft & Ralph Sutcliffe
facetted Fluorite from Weardale

Finally, I managed a quick chat with liz and David Hacker, who as usual had some interesting specimens, including a huge Jack-straw Cerussite from Redburn Mine, Rookehope, Weardale, typically coloured by Iron and some copper. Alas I was too late to admire their 'stained glass' window, sold the previous day, and made of finely sliced Blue john fluorspar......lucky buyer.

As usual it was a lovely day out in Derbyshire, despite the weather. It was wonderful to catch up with many friends, (apologies to those I did'nt spend time with) I just wish that I could spend all weekend there.....

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Discuss this Article

28th Oct 2013 19:15 GMTSteve Rust Manager

It was a great show lots of social stuff, thanks for the wright up Colleen.

28th Oct 2013 20:19 GMTColin Robinson

Thanks for your report, Colleen. For some reason the mindat listing for the aragonite recently recovered by Mick Croft states the location as Knockmurton mines near Kirkland when you correctly note that they are from the Murton/Coronation pits near Lamplugh. The locations are quite distinct and occur in completely different geological settings. Perhaps the management could correct this.

29th Oct 2013 00:13 GMTColleen Thomson Expert

Thank You Steve - great to see you as usual. Colin, you are quite correct about the locality and yes, I could'nt figure out how to add the proper locality...its a few years since I last did so on mindat, to be fair. Will ask the bods nicely :-)

29th Oct 2013 21:31 GMTDebbie Woolf Manager

Nice report Colleen. Just ask if you need help fixing the locality.

30th Oct 2013 09:23 GMTMalcolm Southwood Expert

Great report Colleen. Bakewell was always one of my favourite shows! Hoping to make it up there again in 2015.

24th Nov 2013 10:45 GMTMichael Wood

Nice report Colleen, good to see yourself and Steve at the show :)
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