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Munich Show 2009

Last Updated: 5th Nov 2009

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

Once again it's time for the biggest mineral show in Europe, and the biggest single-venue mineral show worldwide, the Munich Mineralientage.

Munich Hall A6. There were three other halls of identical size

It was my fifth trip to the Munich show, I've reported about the previous visits here, here, here and here. So I don't really need to go into great detail about what the show is and how it works. You just want to look at the rocks anyway!

The new show layout (four halls instead of three in previous years) makes it much simpler. The 'A' halls (A6 and A5) contain primarily mineral and fossil dealers, and the gems and jewellery sellers have been moved over to the 'B' halls (B6 and B5). Even with three days, walking around to try and see everthing is pretty much impossible. I spent no more than 15 minutes total in the 'B' halls, and even with my time dedicated to the 'A' halls, there are places I know I missed and people and things I wanted to see but did not get time for.

One person who is hard to miss however is Bryan Lees of Collector's Edge, who towers over the other dealers in the high-end Mineral Pavillion. This year he did not have a booth of his own, so was exhibiting a few things in the Crystal Classics/Kristalle cabinets - in particular some excellent Zambian emerald crystals:

Emerald from Zambia

Staying with Kristalle and Crystal Classics, they had their usual long wall of cabinets filled with interesting things. As usual, I like the odd ones, and this, although not especially rare, is a good example of the type and has a good historical pedigree, an achtaragdite pseudomorph from the Vilyui river in Siberia, Russia.

Achtaragdite from Russia

And of course Cornish classics can't be ignored, such as this aesthetic chalcocite from the Tincroft Mine, which has an excellent surface alteration/coating of rich blue secondary copper minerals.

Chalcocite from Cornwall

Those who've been following the threads in the 'Fakes' section of our messageboard recently will know we've recently had some debate about the validity of the strange skeletal galena specimens from Bulgaria, which appear to defy all logic in forming the most fragile and complex looking hollow cubes, and we were rightly suspicious about whether they were natural or not. I'm mostly convinced now that there are natural, and this is a good example of why, a skeletal galena from the Septemvri mine showing some tiny quartz crystals inside the skeletal areas, from Ivan Pojarevski.

Skeletal galena from Bulgaria

Namibian dealers Omaruru Gemstones Processing CC were one of a number of dealers showing a new find of aquamarine with schorl from Erongo in Namibia.

Aquamarine from Namibia

Having shown emerald and aquamarine already in this report, why not continue with the beryl-related theme and show a nice Ukranian heliodor - these crystals with the etched faces look incredible, and this specimen, from Mineralien (Jürgen Margraf) was the best that I saw on offer at the show.

Heliodor from Ukraine

And why not finish off the beryl theme with the daddy of them all - a huge 9.7 kilo crystal of aquamarine from Tamil Nadu, India, which was the centerpiece of the show's India-themed exhibition. This crystal is 32cm tall!

The Emperor of India - Aquamarine from Tamil Nadu

There's always something new at the Chinese mineral dealers, and this year it was sharp clear and very, very pale blue baryte crystals, just labelled from Guangxi province. I saw three dealers who had these on offer, the photo below was of a tray of reasonably nice crystalline groups from Hunan Bafang Mineral Shop. I bought one of these for my personal collection.

Barytes from China

Jordi Fabre had a selection of gold crystals from Spain, from a locality I'd never heard of before - Sierra de la Chimenea in Badajoz.

Gold from Spain

He also had a couple of very large specimens of the botryoidal aluminium hydroxides doyleite and gibbsite from an undisclosed locality in Baoshan, China. This one was close to 40cm across.

Doyleite and gibbsite from China

Finally from Jordi, he had a selection of doubly-terminated paraiba tourmaline crystals from the original Paraiba locality. Here's one of the small but sharp crystals:

Paraiba tourmaline from Brazil

When I started doing show reports on the internet, the only other person doing regular online reports from the major shows was John Veevaert, but now there are dozens of reports that go online often much sooner than mine (I'm afraid to say that I tend to spend my show evenings now relaxing in the restaurant with friends rather than rushing back to the hotel to write the show report, as I did in previous years). So, a familiar sight at shows now are other roving reporters - here's Robin from Crystal Classics researching for her show report. See how professional she is, writing down notes! Maybe I should try that...

Robin the roving reporter

One I didn't need to write notes on was a great bunch of evaporite minerals from the Wadi Natrun in Egypt, which were collected and being offered for sale by Luca Bertelli. Here are two of the specimens, a 25cm group of trona crystals, and some (presumably) powdery thenardite pseudomorphs after mirabilite crystals.

Trona from Egypt

Pseudomorphs after Mirabilite from Egypt

He also had a rather splendid large phosgenite from the Monteponi mine, Sardinia - a real classic Italian mineral.

Phosgenite from Sardinia

Staying with the Italian theme, Rob Lavinsky had a small but perfectly formed Hauerite crystal from the Destricella mine in Sicily. These things were found in one layer of clay during the construction of a shaft - a one-time find, and this particular one is especially interesting because it's a cube-octahedra form.

Hauerite from Siciliy

I took a video of some other pieces that Rob was showing at Munich:

And now more Italians, this time it's the obligatory Mindat meeting photo. This year it was more of a distributed get-together, with small groups of people meeting up on friday, saturday and sunday. Here I am (left) with Sarah Sudcowsky (Elba mineral collector and mineral artist) and Chris Mavris (Italian and Greek mineral expert, he also runs the Mindat group on Facebook).

Jolyon meets the Italians (Sarah and Chris)

Another relatively new find that was distributed throughout a dozen or more dealers at Munich were nice samples of demantoid garnet from Madagascar. I chose this sample as representative, rather than because it's the best of those shown (I try not to simply repeat other people's show reports, and sometimes it's good to see what is available and relatively affordable to the 'rest of us'), so here's a relatively inexpensive sample from Marco Tironi.

Demantoid garnet from Madagascar

One of the fun things about walking around the show is getting stopped by people thrusting rocks into my face saying "Hey, this is new, why not put it in your report?" It's quite sneaky, because sometimes these people aren't paying for a stand at the show themselves, and are just floating around waiting to pounce on people like myself armed with neat rocks. One such incident happened as I was walking past Jeff Scovil's little photography cave, and out leaps Thomasz from Spirifer Minerals with some great minerals to show me. I can hardly complain when they look like these do!

Firstly, a polish fluorite from Strzegom:

Fluorite from Poland

And, returning to our ongoing beryl theme, two excellent Madagascan aquamarine crystals:

Aquamarine from Madgascar

Luiz Menezes came to show me several things during the course of the show (except he did have his own stand), this was my favourite of them all, a twinned crichtonite crystal from Brazil.

Crichtonite from Brazil

Top Minerals International were selling some specimens from the Berger collection, an Austrian collector who collected from around 1920 to 1950, and of course that meant he had some fantastic classics. For example, one thing you don't see very often are good Icelandic minerals (and if you do, please keep alert, because a bunch were recently stolen from an icelandic museum - see our stolen minerals messageboard section). This wasn't stolen though, a fabulous group of Icelandic calcite crystals:

Calcite from Iceland

But the most eye-catching part of his collection was a group of over twenty great pieces of Kunzite. Photos don't do that justice, so here's a little video:

I'll end my report with what most of us at the show thought was the neatest display we've seen for quite some time - a selection of mounted insects (mostly butterflies and beetles) along with mineral and rock specimens with similar textures, colours and patterns - the amount of work that had to have gone into this little collection is astounding. Here's a brief look:

Butterflies, beetles and minerals

Similar patterns and colours in the mineral world and the living world

The butterflies and associated rocks/minerals

Incredible patterns

That's all from Munich 2009 - I'll post other pictures from time to time to my blogs on here. You can also look here to see other photos I've uploaded but haven't used in the report (I didn't want to make it too long). Sorry to those who showed me things but aren't in my report - I'll continue to post things over time.

The next show I'll be visiting is the Hayward's Heath mineral show in Sussex, England on November 14th - I'm judging the mineral competition this year, so I'll be bringing photos, decisions and reasons for the decisions here in my report. Watch out for it!

Article has been viewed at least 27491 times.


Thanks Jolyon,
I was unsure about the galena from Bulgaria as well, so I've been following the thread.
The piece pictured abouv would be incredibly difficult if not impossible to create.
Not only the tiny quartz crystals, but the growth patterns look very natural.
Wonderful report!

Adam Kelly
6th Nov 2009 12:56am
Thanks for the photo's Jolyon. My family and I eagerly await your reports on theses shows.

Craig Mercer
6th Nov 2009 2:20am
The most beautiful moment, to me, is inprinted in one of these pictures... What a wonderful moment meeting a great friend in person, after many years waiting


Sarah Sudcowsky
6th Nov 2009 11:41pm
Thanks for the report! Great info for me! I am waiting for this report :-) Best Wishes to you from ShangHai,China!

XiaoJun Chen
7th Nov 2009 2:15am
Thanks for this nice report of Munich Show.

I agree with you about what you said:
I choose this sample as represantative, rather than because it's the best of those shown.
(Sometimes it's good to see what is available and relatively affordable to the "rest of us" )

I simply regret that you don't display the price on some affordable sample.
This will give a good idea to collectors, and a good comparison too.

Wonderfull pictures anyway.


Michel Ambroise
10th Nov 2009 5:17pm

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