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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Gem & Mineral Show 2014

Poster and specimen advertising the 2014 Sainte-Marie show. Cuprite on atacamite from Bisbee, Arizona, USA (Graeme family collection).

This year, I was again invited by the organizers to participate in the world-wide renowned Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Gem & Mineral Show, open to the public June 26-29, 2014. Sainte-Marie is located in the department of the Haut-Rhin, in the picturesque Vosges Mountains, north-east region of France. The Sainte-Marie show is the mineral show with the best atmosphere (in my opinion): the people, the place, the food and the drinks make it extremely convivial and welcoming, even for non-French speakers. The entire town is turned inside out to welcome its visitors. The local librarian will even be pouring you wine at the town party!


This year, I have to admit that I didn't have much time to tour around to look at rocks. Busy schedule: four lectures to give and some filming for "What's Hot in Sainte-Marie". I mostly focused on the special "Prestige" exhibit on Copper, on my first day at the show, before it was open to the public.

About to enter a silver mine in Tellure, for "What's Hot in Sainte-Marie". Photo credit: Bryan Swoboda.

I am here giving a lecture on "Diamond and its extraordinary genesis", during the Sainte-Marie show. Photo credit: Alan Hart.


"Expo Prestige": Copper Exhibit


In a dedicated room, the Copper Exhibit presented hundreds of copper-bearing minerals, on loan from museums and private collectors. Most museums displaying are European (MNHN in Paris, Natur Musée in Luxembourg, Musée des Confluences in Lyon, Mines ParisTech, to cite a few); but for the first time this year, the Mineralogical and Geological Museum of Harvard University was also represented. Let's not forget to mention some private collectors, such as the Graeme family, who had their cuprite being the star of the show (see the first picture of the blog) and also Alain Martaud (who was in charge of selecting the minerals for the exhibit),  Gilles Emringer and Valère Berlage.


The "Prestige" copper exhibit: photo taken during the installation.

Copper exhibit: photo taken on the opening day.


Below is only a small selection of the minerals displayed. They are more on this Facebook page (click here), even if again, it's only showing my personal favorites! I was extremely impressed by all these French copper minerals reunited, especially the ones coming from Chessy-les-Mines (Rhône). They are not specimens that American collectors see very often, or that I've seen in such quantity and quality... and most likely, it's the first time that such an exquisite selection has been put together. So... Enjoy!


Copper-bearing minerals from Chessy-les-Mines (Rhône, France)


Lovely suite of azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. G. Emringer collection.

Malachite after cuprite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. G. Emringer collection.

Another suite of malachite after cuprite showing different morphologies, from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Musée des Confluences collection.

Zoom on a malachite after cuprite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. G. Emringer collection.

Malachite after cuprite in an ancient box, from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Mines ParisTech collection.

Malachite after cuprite on azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. G. Emringer collection.

Malachite after cuprite on azurite. A. Martaud collection.

Malachite on azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Musée des Confluences collection.

Azurite and malachite half nodules, from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. MNHN collection.

Azurite and malachite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Musée des Confluences collection.

Great association of large azurite crystals with malachite and baryte, from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Musée des Confluences collection.

Loving the old label! Azurite and malachite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. J.-F. Lanoe collection.

Azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. MNHN collection.

Azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Musée des Confluences collection.

Azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France, featured in Lacroix's book. MNHN collection.

One of my favorites! Azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Mines ParisTech collection.

Azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Mines ParisTech collection.

Stalactite of malachite coated with azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. MNHN collection.

Stalactite of azurite on azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Musée des Confluences collection.

Azurite from Chessy-les-Mines, Rhône, France. Musée des Confluences collection.


Copper-bearing minerals from other localities in France


If Chessy-les-mines is the main French locality for amazing copper minerals, let's not forget some others.

First, let's not forget the copper minerals from Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines! This is a chalcopyrite from Sainte-Marie, Haut-Rhin, France. MNHN collection.

Another chalcopyrite from Sainte-Marie, Haut-Rhin, France. G. Emringer collection.

This malachite on quartz comes from Bouch-Peyrol, in Aveyron, France. A. Martaud collection.

Chalcopyrite from Cuzac, Lot, France. A. Martaud collection.

Azurite and malachite on sandstone from Gaillot, Lot, France. A. Martaud collection.

Quartz, malachite and chalcopyrite from La Gardette, Isère, France. G. Emringer collection.

Tetraedrite from La Mure, Isère, France. A. Martaud collection.

Tetraedrite from Oisans, Isère, France. MNHN collection.

Chalcopyrite from Laguepie, Tarn-et-Garonne, France. A. Martaud collection.


Copper-bearing minerals: worldwide


Let's not be too chauvinistic and let's take a tour around the world to discover some fabulous copper minerals! My dioptase pictures were pretty bad, so I will be only sharing one.

Azurite and malachite from Kerouchen, Morocco. P. Morelon collection.

Azurite and malachite from Bouskour, Morocco. MNHN collection.

Malachite and azurite from Touissit, Morocco. P. Morelon collection.

Azurite crystals from Kerouchen, Morocco. P. Morelon collection.

Tetraedrite from Mouzaia, Algeria. MNHN collection.

Large crystal of azurite with malachite pseudomorph from Tsumeb, Namibia. MNHN collection.

Another large crystal of malachite completely pseudomorphed into malachite, from Tsumeb, Namibia. MNHN collection.

Native copper from Tsumeb, Namibia. Mines ParisTech collection.

Cuprite pseudomorphed into malachite from Onganja, Namibia, with its crystallographic wood model. Natur Musée collection. 

Azurite with chalcoalumite from Lyon County, Nevada, USA. Mines ParisTech collection.

Native copper from Houghton County, Michigan, USA. Harvard collection.

Azurite and malachite from Bisbee, Arizona, USA. Harvard collection.

That slice is super fun, geologically speaking. It's a breccia made of azurite cement! It comes from Morenci, Arizona, USA. Museum national d'Histoire naturelle (MNHN) collection.

Chalcopyrite from Matamoros, Durango, Mexico. Mines ParisTech collection.

Clinoclase from Cornwall, England, still mounted on its early 19th century base and hand written by Henry Just Haüy. MNHN collection.

Quartz on chalcopyrite from Redruth, Cornwall, England. Mines ParisTech collection.

Tetraedrite from Herodsfoot, Cornwall, England. MNHN collection.

Cuprite from Rheinbreitbach, Westerwald, Germany. Natur Musée collection.

Pseudomalachite and libethenite from Nijne Tagilsk, Ural Mountains, Russia.

Native copper from Kolwezi, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. Natur Musée collection.

Large specimen of malachite from Mashamba West, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. Natur Musée collection.

Native gold on malachite and digenite from Musonoi, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. Natur Musée collection.

Malachite and chrysocolla from the Etoile mine, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. Natur Musée collection.

Quartz on shattuckite from Tantara mine, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. V. Berlage collection.

Dioptase from Tantara mine, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. This photo doesn't give it justice, sorry! Natur Musée collection.

Cornetite from Etoile mine, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. Natur Musée collection. 

Malachite on bright pink cobaltocalcite from Musonoi, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. Natur Musée collection.

Cuprite from Mashamba West, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. Natur Musée collection.

Shattuckite from Tantara Mine, Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo. V. Berlage collection.

And to close the exhibit: Bryan Swoboda (left), Raquel Alonso-Perez and Alain Martaud.

Around the show

Let's walk around the show, see the setting, the people, and the great party thrown by the show organizers for all the dealers and special guests. Another great time in Sainte-Marie, even with rain on Saturday morning and Sunday. 

Upon my arrival, on the evening of Tuesday 24, June, I met up with some friends and colleagues, reunited around a drink to watch the Italian playing football against Uruguay (I mean, proper football, not American football). Even some Americans joined! The Sainte-Marie show was happening at the same time as the second week of the world cup, the teams were playing their qualifying game for the round of 16.

Our American friends drinking beer and eating foie gras (yes... really?!).

Italians and Frenchies watching the game. Let's not remind our Italian friends what the score was. Notice the empty plates... of foie gras.

First night at the show in good company! Wanted again to thank our friends from the MNHN to have gathered a few of us together for this great night.


I got the chance to take a few pictures before the show opened to the public, on Wednesday 25, June. The weather was gorgeous, which was a good thing when carrying rocks around.
Set up time at the Mineral Show.

Almost ready. In the background, the theater at the Mineral Show.

Mineral Show, ongoing.
On the opening day, Friday June 26th, the crowd was present and queuing for tickets and to enter the show. Another successful year for the Sainte-Marie show!

As I was mentioning earlier, I didn't get many pictures of minerals during the show. From what I saw, the mineral that got people talking was the new find of plumbogummite, sometimes associated with pyromorphite, from China (Yangshuo Mine, Yangshuo County, Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang). Some specimens were really aesthetic. Renée Daulon and Jordi Fabre had some, but the most spectacular one was Christophe Gobin's, combining the blue-green color of plumbogummite with the intense yellow of the pyromorphite. Sorry, I didn't get any pictures!

I got a few pics of some other fun minerals, mostly from dealers set up in the theater:

Overview of the theater.

Jean-Michel Laverrière had some fun beryl crystals from Dassu Valley, Baltistan, Pakistan with magnificent inclusions, such as manganotantalite above and schorl below.

Crystal Classics, as usual, had some sexy specimens, such as this reticulated cerussite from Nakhlak Mine, Madan-e Nakhlak, Anarak District, Nain County, Esfahan Province, Iran.

or this triple crystal of tanzanite from Tanzania.

Also from Crystal Classics, this aesthetic aegirine from Mount Malosa, Zomba District in Malawi.

This big crystal of sturmanite from N'Chwaning Mines, Kuruman, Kalahari Mountain Fields, N. Cape Province, South Africa, was also seen at Crystal Classics'.

Something I have rarely seen before was spessartite from Tanzania (Sangulungulu, Loliondo) on matrix. Seen at Cristalli's booth.

We also saw several dealers carrying some gorgeous specimens of tourmaline from Russia (Malkhan, Krasnyi Chikoy, Siberia, Russia), displaying a perfect termination. Pregi Gemme's specimen

CC minerals (France) had some really good pyromorphite from Asprières, Aveyron, in France.


Going from the Mineral Show to the Gem show does not even take 10 min (walking). And, it's not a bad walk, look at that!
Unfortunately, couldn't bring back any "saucisson" nor foie gras...


The Gem show is still developing, with more and more good quality gems,  but also some great jewelry. Above there is a man working copper, making bracelets and other jewelry pieces.

Here, another person was showing the work of a gem cutter.

While most of the show happens underneath tents, they are few buildings hosting dealers, such as the Salle Prestige at the Gem Show.

 A few fun gems here: some unheated colorful tanzanite crystals (above and below)! They come in all colors, the pink and purple ones being the rarest. Seen at Valerio Zancanella's booth.

Adolfo De Basilio and Victor Tuzlukov showing off some incredible gems. Victor is a master cutter; he showed us some spectacular cut gems, with hundreds of facets. Including...
... this gorgeous faceted pearl.

As you know by now, there is no such thing as a show report without an opal! This one comes from Welo, Ethiopia, and contains some inclusions (manganese oxides?) arranged in a stunning pattern (picture above and below).

Talking about opals, we got a donation of rare French opals by Hadrien Begon. Thanks again Hadrien!


A spectacular party was thrown this year again by the organizers: all the dealers and guests were invited to a giant barbecue party, by a lovely summer night, in Sainte-Marie. I don't know how many people attended, but it looked like it was a thousand at least. Again, we had great people serving the food and the drinks, awesome atmosphere, and an entertaining band that made everybody dance throughout the night. What a memorable night!

A perfect evening for a giant barbecue!

Time for a drink. But where are the glasses?

Our table, serious talks going on.

Everything is better with food.

Gian Carlo, Alan and Jean-Marc. Happy curators!

A great selfie! Photo credit: Bryan Swoboda.
Gian Carlo, Ian and Cathie enjoying a well deserved drink!

Mr. le Maire, Claude Abel, welcoming everybody.

Did I mention the drinks yet?

A curator showing some talents. Bryan S., did you notice that he was playing with your camera?

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend". 

 Fun times!
And Bryan recording it!

Great days, fun nights. That's the spirit of Sainte-Marie! Just another picture below with a few friends, at the Auberge des Bagenelles (photo credit: Bryan Swoboda).

I will finish this post with pictures of those lovely evenings in Sainte-Marie. Again, thanks to the organizers for the invite. And... don't miss the first ever "What's Hot in Sainte-Marie" coming up by the end of the year!

Bryan Swoboda welcoming Claude Abel to the "What's Hot" family!

Bergi: mascot of the Sainte-Marie school of Aalberg. 


All photos by E. Gaillou for NHM, unless acknowledged otherwise.


3 comments:

  1. Great report! I will make my best to attend next year. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your photos of the mineral specimens in the cabinets are absolutely fantastic! May I ask what camera equipment/settings you use to get these great results?

    Best wishes

    David

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks José and David! David... it's only a point-and-shoot camera...Sony DSC-HX20V. Jordi Fabre has some much better pics on his website: http://goo.gl/83p1fk Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete