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Hayward's Heath Mineral Show 2008

Last Updated: 5th Dec 2008

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

The Hayward's Heath Mineral Show 2008 - Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society

It's that time of the year again. Time for the...

The Sussex Mineral Show

The Sussex Mineral Show at Haywards Heath is organized by my local club, the Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society, and this was the 25th show.

Natural History Museum Display

For the 25th Anniversary show, the Natural History Museum (and in particular, Alan Hart and Mike Rumsey) brought along a fantastic display of British mineral rarities:

Natural History Museum display

Natural History Museum display

Top specimen for bafflement value and double-take at the label (unless you happen to be an expert on historical Cornish minerals) is this outstanding Rhabdophane-(Nd) specimen from "Cornwall" (this old specimen didn't have a more accurate locality listed, but it's thought to have been from somewhere in the Redruth area).

Rhabdophane-(Nd) from Cornwall

Another "This came from where????" moment was this absolutely impressive Almandine garnet specimen from Botallack, Cornwall. Only a handful of specimens, including this large plate, can be found in old collections. Attempts over the years to find the exact spot where these can be found have proven fruitless, so this specimen is pretty significant:

Almandine from Botallack, Cornwall

This next specimen, 'andrewsite' isn't even a mineral, it's a mixture (but was originally thought to be a distinct mineral). It's actually a mixture of Hentschelite and Rockbridgeite with minor Chalcosiderite, from the famous Wheal Phoenix mine in Cornwall. This specimen is famous as it was on the cover of the Embrey and Symes book "Minerals of Cornwall and Devon" - it was great to see it up close and personal. The red crystals are Cuprite.

'Andrewsite' from Wheal Phoenix

Another Cornish classic, this Clinoclase from Wheal Gorland, Cornwall

Clinoclase from Wheal Gorland, Cornwall

And another Gorland classic, this phenomenal Chalcophyllite.

Chalcophyllite from Cornwall

This fabulous Bournonite from the Herodsfoot Mine, Cornwall (around 40cm across and HEAVY!) was actually kept in the Museum's ORE sample collection (face down!) until Alan rescued it. Please let me indulge myself with two photos of this piece:

Bournonite from Herodsfoot, Cornwall - side view

Bournonite from Herodsfoot, Cornwall - front view

Lovers of zeolites, and I know there are a few here, will appreciate this Stilbite-Ca from Old Kilpatrick, Scotland - a large (20cm) group of reddish crystals.

Stilbite-Ca from Old Kilpatrick, Scotland

Back to Cornwall again, with this fabulous Connellite, again from Wheal Gorland. Here it is before it was put in the display.

Connellite from Wheal Gorland, Cornwall

And continuing with the west-country theme, these big (for the UK) Childrenite crystals on matrix from Tavistock, Devon.

Childrenite from Tavistock, Devon

Andy Castleton

Andy always has a table covered with so many boxes that you inevitably go cross-eyed trying to look at them all. But it's worth it because there are always interesting things at reasonable prices.

Andy Castleton's table

Andy Tindle

The other Andy was signing copies of his great book on British Minerals - here's a photo of him signing my copy.

Andy Tindle signing my copy of his book

Bob Symes

Andy wasn't the only person promoting his book at the show, here's Bob Symes who gave an excellent talk to a packed audience about his new book (with Brian Young) about the Minerals of Northern England. Here here is holding a copy.

Bob Symes with his book

Crystal Classics

Ian Bruce was here with the whole family, and Robin of course. Here's robin doing some kind of sign language that I can't decypher. I think it means something like "come look at my rocks, but don't get too near!"

Robin from Crystal Classics

Most importantly, Ian had brought along a large number of samples from the Ian Acworth collection, including this stunning Bornite on Blister Copper

Bornite on Blister Copper - Carn Brea mine, Cornwall

This Baryte from Pallaflat Mine in Cumbria is enormous and impressive!

Baryte from Pallaflat, Cumbria

Like green fluorite? Like really, really green exceptional fluorite? Heights mine, County Durham is the classic source of this, and this is a classic specimen:

Fluorite from Heights Mine, Co. Durham

This piece is covered with large Chalcocite crystals, from the Geevor Mine, Cornwall.

Chalcocite from Geevor Mine

For those more interested in foreign minerals, this Cuprian Austinite from Bou Azzer, Morocco was sure to impress:

Cuprian Austinite from Bou Azzer, Morocco

And this exceptionally pretty Opal from Yowah, Australia had to be seen to be believed. Yes, those colours are right in the picture.

Yowah Opal

As usual, Ian's children were running one side of the stall, selling off some absolute bargains from the tail-end of the Phialdelphia Academy collection. Here's a photo of the sort of things they had on offer:

Philadelphia Academy specimens

And it was from here that I picked up, for £10, the absolute bargain of the show, and something I have been hunting for a long time - a Satin Spar Calcite from the original locality, Alston, in Cumbria. This material was exhausted by around 1817 (I'm working on an article about the history of Satin Spar), so this is ONLY found in very old collections. I thought there might be a piece in the Philadelphia Academy collection - but my enquiries turned up a blank. So, imagine my shock when I saw this on the table of cheap 'bargain basement' Philadelphia specimens - my previous enquiries had turned up a blank because it had been mislabeled as 'Derbyshire' (or, I suspect, the specimen and the box don't match, the original number had been crossed out and replaced at some point during a curatorial cleanup at the Academy).

'Satin Spar' from Alston, Cumbria

Here's a quick video I took at the show to demonstrate the satiny effect that this has when polished. It was a very popular lapidary material at the turn of the 19th century.


Rock-site had some interesting large zeolites from my favourite location, Sgurr nam Boc, Skye, Scotland - here is one impressive piece containing Stilbite-Ca and Chabazite.

Stilbite and Chabazite from Sgurr nam Boc

Ralph Sutcliffe

It was great to see the return of Ralph Sutcliffe, who had retired from the mineral dealing business for many years, but found the temptation of mineral dealing too much to resist and came to the show with some absolute corkers.

First off, this textbook Linarite from the Red Gill mine in Cumbria.

Linarite from Red Gill mine, Cumbria

But pride of the display are what can only be called Spectacularites - these two fantastic Specular Hematite specimens, the first as sharp blades from the Florence mine, and the second as LARGE (13mm tall) sharp crystals from the Ullcotes mine - I've certainly never seen better on sale (apologies for the poor photos, it's not a very easy mineral to photograph at a show):

Specularite from Florence mine, Cumbria

Specularite from Ullcotes mine, Cumbria

Have a closer look on video:

Mike Merry

Mike Merry always has a good selection of cornish minerals, and one that has become rarer to see for sale in the last few years is the reticulated 'jack-straw' Cerussite from the Pentire Glaze mine in Cornwall - this was a particularly nice small piece:

Cerussite from the Pentire Glaze mine

And a curiosity was this copper-coated rail pin, from the Botallack Mine, Cornwall.

Copper-coated rail pin, Botallack Mine, Cornwall

Midland Minerals

Neil Hubbard had this nice Helvite from Tongbei, China.

Helvite from Tongbei,China

Unity Minerals

When I talked to Ian Jones, he was quite surprised that this rare fibrous Siderite from the East PoolMine in Cornwall hadn't been snapped up by one of the many collectors interested in Cornish minerals who were at the show. I was equally surprised, so I bought it myself - this is one true Cornish rarity!

Fibrous Siderite from East Pool mine, Cornwall

Moorland Minerals

Poor Robert is looking somewhat unhappy in this photo! Perhaps someone had asked him about collecting in the Caldbeck Fells. As usual John and Robert were selling mostly self-collected British and Irish minerals - see my report from the Bakewell show for more about what they had (as much was the same here).

Robert looking unimpressed with the world

Keith and Lynn Corrie

These part-time mineral dealers always put the professionals to shame with their displays, perspex bases and nicely printed labels, and some very nice aesthetic minerals, such as this large Epidote from Alchuri, Pakistan.

Epidote from Pakistan

The Calcite Competition

As is now a regular event at the show, space is put aside on the main stage for a competitive mineral display in six cabinets based on a particular theme - this year the theme was Calcite.

Cabinet 1 - Paul Nicholson

Cabinet 2 - Chris Finch

Cabinet 3 - John Cooke

Cabinet 4 - Bridget Belson

Cabinet 5 - Nick Hawes

Cabinet 6 - Trevor Devon

The competition was judged by Bob Symes, and the winner was announced as cabinet number six, by Trevor Devon. Here he is receiving his trophy:

Trevor Devon winning the Calcite competition

And that's my last mineral show report for the year. Next stop... Tucson 2009! I can't wait!

Article has been viewed at least 26354 times.


Well Jolyon, you have done it again. Fabulous write up.

Gail Spann
20th Nov 2008 4:44am
Its been 3 years since my last visit to the Sussex show, great atmosphere, busy right up to the end, loved it !

Debbie Woolf
20th Nov 2008 10:56pm
Great photos and information ... Thank You Jolyon.

John Truax
6th Dec 2008 5:44pm

A really nice report! and the pieces are so coolest. I embed your Satin Spar video in the blog of the Chilean Mineralogist Association and we linked to the world of mindat :)

Take a tour: http://aminch.blogspot.com

Greetings ^^!

Steffan Giadach Axt
11th Dec 2008 1:38am

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