August 11-14, 2005

View the specimens from this show

The East Coast show is the third largest show in the United States after Denver and Tucson with over 200 dealers from around the world set up to offer specimens.  Actually, it is probably larger now than the Denver Show - it at least feels that way.  And the attendance easily surpasses the Denver Show as far as mineral collectors are concerned.  The show is held in the Eastern States Exposition Hall located in West Springfield, Massachusetts which is just a few miles north of the Connecticut state line. I have come to appreciate this show quite a lot.  It is a punctuated event with lots of great minerals and provides easy access to the dealers who set up here.  The venue is spacious and you don't feel cramped in like you do in hotel shows.  There are several food and drink vendors at the show which helps when you are running low on energy or need a break.

I got to tell you the weather here this past week was nothing short of oppressive - high heat and very high humidity! It felt like trying to walk though neck deep melted butter and you never really felt dry as your skin took on a clammy feeling most of the time.  More power to the people who live here.  I will take the high and dry heat of northern California any time!

This report will cover what is new in minerals - at least to me  - and also offer some pictures of minerals and the people behind them.

A couple of shots taken thursday afternoon during set up day.

This is a shot of the wholesale section of the show during set up day.

 Some notable characters are seen in the two shots above... All saying: "please, please" place the next specimen in front me.
Oh Please, please PLEASE!

Without question the booth that gets the most juices flowing is Phil Scalisi's Studio "C".  I made a note early on Thursday to track Dave Bunk with the intent of dropping whatever I was doing when I saw Dave headed towards Phil's booth.  Dave has a remarkable instinct when it comes to knowing when the good stuff is available.  Phil was offering specimens from the collection of the late Ken Hollomann.  The collection was rich in European classics and other global localities.  I was quite pleased to get over a flats worth of fine specimens two of which are pictured below but ol' Bunky was the champ with a stack of material picked out.

The specimen on the left is a large cabinet specimen of iridescent galena crystals to 2 cm from Zellerfeld, Harz Mts., Germany.
The other is of bladed valentinite crystals to 1 cm from Zinnwald, Braunsdorf, Germany. The crystals also have inclusions of
kermesite.  This is the type locality for kermesite by the way.

I am always on the lookout for a shot that captures what is really on someone's mind...
This was just one of those photos of Reno, Nevada dealer Scott Werschky.
Sorry Scott, this picture was too easy to doctor up...

Here are Jeff Scovil (facing camera) and St. Louis dealer, Dan Weinrich.  I always spend a few minutes
 talking baseball with Dan.  He is an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and I of the Oakland A's.

Set up day is the opportune time to search out what is new at the show.  As it turns out there was a lot here that was new and also a very large amount of really good specimens from old collections which seem to be coming out of the woodwork lately. Terry "Skip" Szenics, as is usual for this show, had some of the most mineralogically interesting material available at the show.  He had two several new finds of rare Chilean minerals including two finds of molybdofornacite from the San Pablo mine in  Inca de Oro and the Dulcinea Mine near Carrera, Pinto.  Skip also had a fabulous new find of iranite with crystals an order of magnitude larger than those from the original find in Iran.  These come from the Chapacase mine near Tocopilla.  You may recall that this is the same mine where he found the bright reddish orange wulfenite a couple years ago.  Several of these specimens were found with both iranite and red wuflenite.  I picked up several fine examples of these new finds and also other specimens which Skip has brought to the market the past several years including szenicsite and lemanskiite.  Fortuitously, Chet Lemanski was at Skip's booth and I was able to get him to sign the labels of the two specimens of lemanskiite I bought.  Adds a nice little touch I think.  Skip also signed a couple labels with the szenicsite I bought. There has been no new finds of szenicsite according to Skip and he was down to his last few specimens.

This specimen has a cluster of bladed cinnamon colored crystals to 0.7 cm in length.

This specimen has several reddish orange colored crystals of chrome rich wulfenite
as well as bladed cinnamon colored crystals of iranite to 0.9 cm in length.

This is a specimen which has numerous sprays of bright lime green 0.5 mm crystals of molybdofornacite.

One of two specimens of lemanskiite that Skip had.  That is Chet Lemanski in the photo on the right.

I visited Bolivian dealer Alfredo Petrov who has always got some interesting things to see. This time it was several specimens of recently mined phosphophyllite from the Unificada mine in Potosi, Bolivia. (The word "mined" is probably the not the right word to use as the mine is closed.  Locals do descend into the mine however to dig for phosphophyllite and occasionally find some specimens of note.) One of the pieces Alfredo had which I now have has crystals in excess of 2 cm! It needs some prep work but it was quite exciting to see new specimens of this desirable mineral making their way to the market!

This is two pictures of one of three specimens of phosphophyllite that were available from Alfredo.  This one has a fully terminated,
1.3 cm crystal with minor pyrite inclusions. There are several other smaller crystals on the side and behind the prominent crystal.

On my last day of the show I was fortunate to bump into Terry Huizings.  He passed along a tip on a new find of calcite that K.C. Pandy of Superb Minerals brought to the show. These are pale olive green colored crystals and thought to be vanadium rich.  They were found about 3 weeks ago while digging a well at Bambori, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India. It was alleged that the crystals fluoresced brightly under UV light.  There was no response under my Superbright SW UV light so the response must have been under LW UV light.

These are two of the specimen I purchased from Superb Minerals. The crystal on the left is 3.5 cm in length.
The specimen on the right is a grouping with the center flat lying crystal at 3.6 cm in length.

Here are K.C. (right) and his assistant packaging up the specimens of calcite that I bought.

Dudley Blauwet of Colorado recently returned from Pakistan with some finds of sapphire from afghanistan and also gemmy chondrodite also from Ladjur Madea, Kokcha Valley, Badakhshan, Afghanistan.  I made a selection of nine specimens from Dudley of the chondrodite.  Dudley had many interesting stories about the goings on over there in Pakistan and how the mineral market is being affected by global politics and an insane belief by the people over there about what the value of their minerals are.  You can read about that and A LOT more in a coming article to be published online at the Mineralogical Record website in their What's New section in a short while.

These are two of the nine specimens I obtained.  The one on the left has crystals to 1.3 cm and the one on the right is 1.7 cm in length.

I visited with Luiz Menezes a short while. He did not have anything exceptionally new at the show other than some quartz crystals with chlorite phantoms and recently found pink topaz crystals from Ouro Preto but he did have news of a new mineral that will be available soon that bears his name.  It is in the final stages of being described and will be called menezesite.  It is an hydrous oxide species that he recently discovered as I recall from looking at the formula.

Rocko Rosenblat had a few specimens of brucite from the N'Chwaning mine.  These are the good ones with the pearly luster and bluish color.  He had 5 or 6 and that was it.  I was pleased to get two of them.  Brucite has been found in better crystals in a number of locales around the world.  However, very few localities (Palabora being one) have blue colored brucite like this.

This specimen is  2.6 x 2.5 cm and has a small ettringite crystal at the base of it.

Russian dealer Iouri Poustov had many fine specimens of fluorite from Dal'Negorsk in Russia and also some very fine crystals of tourmaline from Malchan including a hard to get matrix specimen.  These are not new to the mineral world but Iouri's specimens were quite appealing.

This specimen is a fully terminated crystal that is 5.8 x 2.5 x 2.3 cm.

New Era Gems from Grass Valley, California had a fine array of alexandrite crystals from Lake Manyara in Tanzania.  I picked out a small hoard and also several gemmy chrome tourmaline specimens he had also from Dulani, Tanzania.

This is a V-Twin specimen rarely seen from this locality.  It has great color change between indoor and outdoor light sources.
The photo on the left was shot in daylight, the center one under incandescent light and the one on the right under fluorescent light.

This specimen is a fully terminated 1.6 cm crystal of chrome tourmaline.

At the Sainte Marie show some new specimens of acanthite from the Imiter Mine, Dades, Anti Atlas Mountains appeared.  Several of these actually showed up at the Tucson Show earlier but were quite scarce.  Rob Lavinsky, better known as the Arkenstone, and Chris Wright - Wright's Rock Shop - both had specimens of this new material. None were seen on matrix.  Rob also had some stunning bright emerald green crystals of fluorite set on feldspar from the Erongo Mountains in Namibia.

Speaking of Sainte Marie, show organizer Michel Schwab has apparently secured a facility in the Val d'Argent for the show.  This is good news as a show in Colmar down in the Rhine Valley sounded A LOT less appealing than the show up in the mountains.

I ran into Harald Munsch and Charles Cecil - both were staying in the same hotel I was in Springfield.  Charles had some lots of demantoid from Namibia - a locality which, according to both Charles and Harald is no longer producing.  I asked to see the best specimens along with the jeremejevite crystals that they had and made some selections.

This specimen has a gemmy 0.8 cm crystal set on calcite matrix.

Wayne and Dona Leicht were at the show as they always are.  Wayne told me that they had a hoard of Peruvian specimens that they wanted to part with and after seeing them I agreed. The word, according to Scott Werschky and Skip Szenics, is that the hey day of Peru is over - at least from the historically productive areas such as Quiravilca and Huanzala.  Huanzala's mine had a riot after the mining company decided to clean up the non-mine pyrite collectors who sold pyrite in a square. The riot left two mining company policemen dead and the prospect for new specimens all but a memory... They also had a case dedicated to specimens from the Martin Zinn collection that was obtained in partnership with Collector's Edge and English dealer Ian Bruce.

Here are Dona and Wayne manning their booth.

You never know what you will find or see at a mineral show. This guy was seen walking
around the show with a hefty plastic bag over his head. Hmm... The Elephant man?  A
guy with a bad case of halitosis? A freak of some sort? No! Just a guy looking to see what
rocks did under his SW UV light. Rocko Rosenblat (center) and guest seem totally unfazed by this spectacle.

Each year show organizer Marty Zinn (Marty Zinn Expositions) arranges to have someone or an entity place some of their collection on display. This year was special indeed with specimens from the famed Harvard Mineral Collection brought to the show by Dr. Carl Francis.  The cahnite specimen on display was nothing short of heart stopping.... and that is just the tip of the tip of the ice berg. Go here to see some of the collection specimens that were on display.

This was a GREAT show this year.  I would like to thank Marty Zinn and staff for their hard work at making this a successful show.  I left for home mid day Saturday and pulled into Weaverville late the night of the 14th.  I found many good pieces that will appear in Auctions and future updates.  I will be posting many new specimens early next week.

Cheers from the East Coast Show!

John Veevaert

The Harvard Mineral Collection

Trinity Mineral Co
Rare Minerals
Benitoite Mine

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