Desert Sand Roses

Desert Sand Roses
By Barry Taylor

There is a mysterious and fantastic crystal formation that grows inside shifting sands as if by magic and as you may expect it is usually found in arid regions. When discovered no two crystal growths are exactly alike; each group consists of interlocking flattish blades as separate creations. These crystals do often have a flower like appearance and when discovered were thought to be petrified blooms.

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Quartz and Chalcedony Part 3

Quartz and Chalcedony Part 3

By Barry Taylor

In this final section on the truly amazing mineral that is known as Quartz, I will be looking at the huge diversity of crystal forms that exist, detailing the most common crystal forms found.

Spirit Quartz

The shape of any individual quartz crystal and the form of crystal groups varies enormously;

Read more: Quartz and Chalcedony Part 3

snippets - black tourmaline in industry

When you think of black tourmaline you might consider high quality terminated single and multiple crystal formations to polished tumblestones, but have you considered more commercial applications?

Powdered tourmaline as an ingredient to ceramic water/air purifyers, showers, swimming pools and fridges.
Tourmaline comprises of several different elements including aluminium, boron, iron, lithium, magnesium and manganese. It has...

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Agate History & Folk-lore

Agate History & Folk-lore

by steve breeson

Modern reference materials document that agate was found and the name derived from the river Achates in Sicily and that Theophrastus (Greek philosopher) commented on it in 300BC however early research material states that the Sumerians (2900 BC and earlier) an ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia (region incorporating modern day Iraq) had utilised the stone as a precious material and were well versed in stone cutting and the making of jewellery.

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negotiations in munich 12 member of SMLS on tour



12 members of the Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society spent a week during April 2013 collecting minerals in Morocco
One of the most amazing collecting locations we visited was the Tizi n Inouzane pass high up in the High Atlas mountains (Fig. 1). The minerals we collected included intense yellow hexagonal prismatic crystals of apatite from the pegmatite veins just below the snow line. I collected around a dozen nice 1 cm crystals, but I did not manage to collect any apatite on matrix.

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cover of issue 67

Our cover picture courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory Landsat 8 satellite, shows a portion of the Tien Shan mountain range in the north western Xinjiang province China.
Formed some 300 million years ago when part of Australia collided with Eurasia, along with a chain of volcanic activity approximately 50 million years later.

The image shows a classic thrust fault caused when pressure forces horizontal sedimentary rock into up and down folds.

Read more: cover of issue 67

harrogate show blmda

harrogate mineral show

b.l.m.d.a the british lapidary mineral dealers association

Lapidary is suffering. Being a skilled art unfortunately there’s less and less full time professionals within the UK, however there’s still a call for repair and high end bespoke work but the majority of interest seems to be from the past-time market, will enough momentum build to enable this art to flourish again?

The B.L.M.D.A (The British Lapidary & Mineral Dealers Association) “a Trade body which represents its members and promotes the public awareness of minerals, gemstones and lapidary” is no longer. Is it due to the demise of skilled professionals within the field, lack of demand or a wealth of imported material being available?

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earths crustal evolution food for thought

An article in a recent issue of the New Scientist Magazine caught my eye it has referred to a paper written by Tilman Spohn of the Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin and was published on 23rd November 2013.
The Article is about the crustal evolution of our planet Earth, whilst this article is recorded as just a thought process, much about this theory when carefully considered rings true.

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tips for choosing stones


There are many reasons for you to make that ‘stone’ purchase, whether for collecting, being captivated, business, magical or spur of a moment, but if you’re hunting for a specific stone is it the one shinning brighter standing out from the rest?
Or will you be applying some trusted techniques to evaluate your purchases. Whilst gem professionals have studied to evaluate stones and are confident when purchasing, everyday folk can only go by their own experience and that of more learned friends, often prospective purchasers can be seen referring potential purchases to their friends for approval. But perhaps you’ve ventured out alone or want to be confident in your own decision making.

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amber in edinburgh

amber in edinburgh

We mentioned the amber exhibition at the Edinburgh museum this year in the last issue, as we’d be passing through the city we thought we’d take a peek, hearing that they also have an impressive mineral collection as well it seemed like an opportunity not to be missed.

After a rather splendid lunch at the museums ‘Castle Restaurant’, (which was really a case of miss direction we really were just looking for a café) we ventured off to find the exhibition.

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down at the auction

It’s always a treat to visit a large auction, and the catalogue at Bonhams has to be seen to be believed. Oddly some of the items we chose remained unsold but now you can bid online you don’t have to trek far afield, if you’ve never considered ‘attending’ a mineral & gem auction maybe its time!
The images here are from the Bonhams New York lapidary works of art, gemstones and minerals auction from October 2015.

Mentioned in our news article this stunning life-size model of a male skull and the world’s largest known meteorite carving, artist Lee Downey acid-etched the carving to uncover the Gibeon meteorite’s singular, lattice-like “Widmanstätten” pattern.

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Quartz and Chalcedony Part 1

by Barry Talyor

What amazing mineral Quartz is, with its beautiful often perfectly formed crystals, it certainly has an aura of mystique about it.  In fact magical would not be far from the truth as Quartz has always been believed to have special powers.  In ancient European history people believed that quartz was actually ice from the mountains, frozen solid over millennia and as such it could never thaw. 

Read more: Quartz and Chalcedony Part 1

Quartz and Chalcedony Part 2

Quartz and Chalcedony Part 2

By Barry Taylor

There are so many classifications and varieties of Quartz that understanding this mineral can be a confusing and bewildering task. There is such a huge range of both colour and form that can be encountered, in part 1 the colours of Amethyst and Smokey Quartz were looked at. There are many other forms of coloured Quartz to be encountered, all of which have a slightly different reason for their shape and hue. To help with the identification the following is a synopsis of the most common varieties to be found.

Read more: Quartz and Chalcedony Part 2

cover of issue 68

South Australia Museum opal exhibition, including the exhibition’s centerpiece, the Virgin Rainbow, is itself worth in excess of a million dollars and its refracting colours defy description.
We had to put the picture of the renown ‘Virgin Rainbow’ opal on this issue’s cover because it’s simply stunning.
It’s some distance for a lot of our readers but if you happen to have the opportunity to visit the South Australian Museum in Adelaide you’ll sure to be impressed with the superb collection of opals on view.(exibition closes spring 2016)

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ammolite by ammonuk

Buy this Rock n Gem Magazine issue with the ammolite article complete with stunning pictures,

One of the newest gemstones to appear recently on to the global market is Ammolite. Here in the United Kingdom, very few people have heard let alone seen this beautiful gemstone. Often Ammolite and Ammonites are confused but in fact are interrelated.
In our attempt to understand the gemstone Ammolite and its origins, we know that Ammonites are found all over the world, also here in the UK where the area of Lyme Regis and Charmouth are identified as areas where one can find specimens especially after a storm and where the cliffs have  eroded. These are typically preserved shells of an ancient species of invertebrate animal that once dominated the earth's seas.

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The Shakespeare Pocket by John Pearce

In April 2013 12 members of the Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society went on a week's collecting trip to Morocco. This provided an opportunity to refresh our memories about some of the classic Moroccan mineral locations and minerals: Touissit, Bou Azzer, Mibladen, Imiter, El Hammen, Sidi Rahal and Taouz and the superb minerals which have been extracted from these mines, such as azurite and malachite, anglesite, apatite, fluorite, wulfenite, vanadinite, silver, proustite, erythrite, roselite, cobaltocalcite, skutterudite…Of these I think the silver, vanadium and cobalt minerals are the most appealing.

Read more: The Shakespeare Pocket by John Pearce

To see a list of mineral, crystal, gemstone, fossil shows/events both UK and worldwide visit our show page, if you organise or know of a show please get in touch to list it here.

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