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Roger Lang's Blog

Ste. Marie-aux-Mines show report pt. 2

30th Jun 2010

Here the second part of the 2010 Ste. Marie aux Mines show report:

Thursday, 24th of June 2009

Thursday we arrived at about 10.30 a.m. at the show, weather fantastic again. After a coffee at Philipps booth we started to take the tour through the Val Expo Halls and on our way we had a look at some moroccan booths. Got some manganese oxide specimens (cryptomelane/hollandite probably, will do tests) from Taouz and a nice vanadinite for my miniature display. There was not much really new stuff but i noticed good quality Imilchil apatites on matrix, interesting Mibladen vanadinites with thick stacked more brownish red crystals and siderite with quartz. Lots of erythrite but the quality was overall not very good. El Hammam fluorites were quite abundant and there were some interesting obviously newer specimens available. Dyscrasite, Skutterudite etc from the Bou Azzer region and many more could be found.

On the way to the Val Expo Uta suddenly said to me that there was somebody asking for me in my back - and tadaa! ... Bob and Jessica Simonoff stood in front of me. Jessica had seen my montanpark t-shirt (quite practical if you want to meet people you never met in real life before) and we talked a few minutes. They had to proceed to Ian Bruce then and we made a loose appointment for a drink later but finally we didn´t manage to meet again during the show. Maybe next time again!

Jessica & Bob Simonoff
Peter Griss

At the entrance of the halls we stopped at Peter Griss´ booth with bolivian minerals. There was nothing exciting new material but really interesting specimens and it is always nice to have a talk there. Then we entered the sauna: Val Expo halls were steamy hot inside and we tried to get through as quick as possible. First we met Mathias Jurgeit at Val Expo Hall 1 with his mexican minerals and Ingo Löffler was there showing me one of his acquisitions: a very strange, perfect calcite from China. Then we were looking for Mike Brooke but had to learn from Neil Hubbard that he couldn´t come this year. So we proceeded to the booth of Damian Kislig and friends where i got some excellent olmiites with oyelite and calcite from a quite recent find at N'Chwaning II Mine. Damian told me that he had picked up the specimens in April 2010. With the olmiites and a nice Riemvasmaak fluorite we continued the tour.

Ingo with weird calcite from China
More Olmiite!

My collection Olmiite
Gold from the Alps
Beautiful Gold from Brusson, Aosta Valley

The next interesting specimens for me were at the booth of a private italian collector who had Brusson, Aosta Valley gold specimens on quartz. Very attractive and with acceptable price i got one specimen for my collection. The next specimens that caught my eye were the new calcite/pyrite/fluorite combos from China again. They were generally scarce at the show (at least in combination with fluorite, calcite/pyrite was more abundant) and only one chinese dealer had a larger quantity with quite good quality. But don´t ask for the prices... I asked and was in a state in between shocked and amused. > 400 $ for a good but not exceptional medium size specimen was too much for me and i finally left the show without any of those. At the opposite side i got at least a nice small snowflake like calcite from this locality, which was given as Mao Nao Shan Mine, Chenzhou, Hunan Province, China.

New chinese specimens
Fluorite/Calcite/Pyrite from China

Another interesting display we found at the booth of (if i remember right) Yannick Calonge of Lithostone. Beside his Nepal quartz specimens of good quality he showed a 2007 find from Saint-Peray, France with very nice fluorite, baryte and calcite specimens, some in combination.

Fluorites etc. from Saint Peray, France
Baryte/Fluorite from France

Val Expo Hall 2: nothing new which i would be interested in but we tried to find Alfredo Petrov and Frank de Wit at the place they were last year. Nope. Maybe i had missed that they wouldn´t come this year or simply did not find them, anyway, time for a lunch break and a bottle of water and one beer to recover from the heat in the halls. My fellow collector and friend Jens Dezelski showed up with a perfect miniature of pyrrhotite from Dalnegorsk, then we decided to meet Ralph Vetter from KRANTZ for a drink and some unusual snacks ;)

Jens with Pyrrhotite
Ralph Vetter during a break
Strange snacks...

Next, Jens joined me and we went to the booth of Vantony. Vangel Parvanov had some excellent Madan specimens and we purchased quite a few galenas for our collections. 2 Meters away we finally met Tomasz Praskier at his booth, he had good moroccan and Rogerley mine stuff again, and some other too of course. Asia showed us a flat with very good erythrites .. maybe the best i saw outside the theatre this year although specimens were abundant generally. We made appointment for the official mindat party and proceeded with the tour.

Vangel with superb galena
Erythrites at Spirifer Minerals

Now time for the Theatre and a visit to Jordi Fabre. He was quite busy so we talked only briefly and we proceeded to admire the beauty of the displayed minerals in the holy hall of excellent specimens with prices of a Ferrari or a Rolls Royce. Beside the usual Aquamarine, Tourmaline etc. killer specimens i noted a very aesthetic mesolite from India which caught my eye instantaneously. Marcus Budil had stunning Tanzanites and an exceptional Bunker Hill pyromorphite (of course POR - i asked and my guess was not that bad ;) ) and marvelous Elbaite specimens. Also an excellent serandite! These are the moments when your own collection starts to turn really humble ;) .

Jordi at work
Beautiful mesolite

La Gardette exhibition
La Gardette exhibition
Bunker Hill pyromorphite

The La Gardette special exhibition display was very nice, the front display with the quartzes being my favourite. Under this impression we made a stop at Crystal Classics. Ian Bruce was there and showed us a very nice californian gold specimen that was not on display. As usual they had a lot of classics, including two good german manganites from Ilfeld, Harz Mts. which i really liked, also a colourful Los Lamentos wulfenite. The Bretagne (Brittany) special exhibition was ok, but not in my focus. Maybe i did not see them but i missed the classic and showy Huelgoat specimens like plumbine, anglesite etc.

Excellent Serandite
At the booth of Crystal Classics
Californian Gold!

Out of the theatre again we made our way to Steffen Michalski and this time we were lucky, he was there and showed to me some rarities including the rather new minerals Metarauchite and Flörkeite. He and his mates had a nice Erzgebirge selection as always but not really much new stuff since last year to tempt me. Time for a smoke with Steffen, Nora, Uwe, Andre and Jens and then back on track again. Next stop was at Wendel Minerals meeting Wolfgang Wendel. Wolfgang had - as always - a great selection of german and international classics of high quality and it is hard to pick out the most interesting in this report. The Erzgebirge fluorites were amongst my favourites of course as i am kind of a fluo addict. A baryte / fluorite combo from Frohnau caught my special attention, it was the best of those i saw at the show.

Steffen as we all know him...
Wolfgang Wendel with a classic Freiberg Fluorite
Halsbrücke Fluorite!

Frohnau Baryte with Fluorite
Horst Burkards booth

Meanwhile late it was time to get back to the base but not without visiting Horst Burkard with his excellent moroccan minerals. His colourful display contained some really showy and superb erythrites and vanadinites and a lot more of course. A short talk later we finally headed for Philipps booth, packed our boxes and i went to the car to pick up Uta with all the stuff at the entrance of the show area. My car was parked some 1.5 km away and then the usual traffic chaos and hell broke loose: i needed almost half an hour for the last 500 m. Finally we made it back to our accomodation where we met fellow collector Rolf Heeren to have dinner together. Later we sat and talked and i must admit that it finally was very late when we hit the pillow and there were some empty bottles on the table afterwards.

Favourite specimen this year: Gold from the Alps

To be continued with the last part as soon as possible,


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