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Mineralogical Almanac  

News on December 15, 2003 - January 15, 2004


News from deposits


Pezzottaite from Madagascar

On half November 2002 a large pocket containing smoky-citrin quartz and polychrome tourmaline crystals was discovered in the Sakavalana pegmatite, at Ambatovita, a few tens kilometres south of the village of Mandrosonoro, 140 km of dirty-road west of Ambatofinandrahana (central Madagascar). This pegmatite, located in the northern part of the famous Ampandramaika-Malakialina pegmatite district was object of minor mining activity by French colons in the first decades of the last century, for tourmaline gemstones. The pocket, found at a depth of about 8 meters from the surface, was discovered by a small group of local people mining the pegmatite, with primitive equipments, with the aim of finding carving-quality tourmaline.

Rumours of such discovery rapidly arrived in Antananarivo together with the first “stones” from the pocket, including large polychrome tourmaline prisms, and greenish-bluish-purple gemmy spodumene crystals. It was at the beginning of December 2002 that, for the first time, a French mineral dealer observed in one bunch of stones from the mine very unusual reddish crystals with refractive index and colour similar to “rubellite” but morphology distinctly hexagonal.
This was the beginning of one of the most important mineralogical and gemmological

discoveries in the last decades.

The mineralogical studies indicated this mineral was similar to beryl but, in
addition to its colour, this material was particularly interesting because it
 showed anomalous properties (e.g., higher refractive indices than previously
known for beryl), which were attributed to very high concentrations of caesium (Cs).

In September 2003, the International Mineralogical Association approved
a proposal submitted by two independent groups of scientists (from North America
and Switzerland) to designate the pink-red Cs-beryl from Ambatovita, Madagascar, as a new mineral of the beryl group. It has been named pezzottaite after
Dr. Federico Pezzotta (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Milan, Italy),
in recognition of his contributions to the mineralogy of Madagascar

Pezzottaite, crystals to 6 mm on amazonite     
Mandrosonoro, Madagascar
F. Pezzotta collection
© Roberto Appiani


Meetings, conference, exhibitions


January 9, 2004 a join meeting of Friends of Mineralogy Club and Mineralogical Circle in the Fersman Mineralogical Museum was devoted to Victor I. Stepanov's 80th anniversary. About 60 person (three times more than usual number of participants) of different age (from 12 to 96 years) and occupaitions – amateurs of stone, collectors, employees of museums and known mineralogists – were present. Dmitry I. Belakovsky, Anatoly M. Bondar, Ravil V. Galiulin, Vitaly J. Gerasimenko, Moisei D. Dorfman, Tatyana B. Zdorik, Boris Z. Kantor, Oleg V. Kononov, Anatoly N. Korobkov, Vladimir I. Kuzmin, Michael A. Kuzmin, Vladimir A. Maltsev, Tamara I. Matrosova, Igor V. Pekov, Alexander M. Portnov, Nina V. Skorobogatova, Alexander P. Homyakov, Eugeny I. Cherenkov, Boris B. Shkursky recounted their reminds about Stepanov and his collection. Not having scientific degrees, having published about twenty articles, Stepanov was considered “not crowned king of Russian mineralogists” (À.Ì. Bondar), original "guru" for amateurs of stone. He has rendered strong effect on destiny of such different people as the Head of the Moscow Society of Amateurs of Stone Anatoly Korobkov, great mineralogist Alexander P.Homyakov, and well-known collector Vladimir A. Pelepenko.
Amateur films of Stepanov collecting samples in Khibiny (1983), working in Mineralogical Museum of MGRI, during preparation of an album from the series «Stones of the Urals» (1984) and moving of his collection to the Mineralogical Museum (1986) were watched in. Alexander B. Nikiforov has shown the new exposition of samples to participants of meetings (see above).

January 11. In Moscow, the exposition «Surprising in Stone» was closed (worked since December 16). It demonstrated articles of stone and minerals from private collections. Visitors have noted a much larger variety of mineral species presented as compared with previous exhibitions. This is probably connected with appearance of new participants – School Faculty of MGGRU and especially of the Mineralogical Museum of the Russian Academy of Science, which have exposed 33 samples from the collection of Victor I. Stepanov.

December 25-28, 2003. Eighth Annual Jewelry-Mineralogical International Exhibition-Fair “PETERSBURG JEWELER-2003” passed in Saint Petersburg, in the Central show-room “Manezh”, organized by Exhibition Association “World of Stone”. Over 300 firms and businessmen presented their production on the area more than 5,000 sq. m. The next album “Jeweler Olympus” was published for the exhibition, which included the best works exhibited at “Petersburg Jeweler-003” (based on site http: // www.rosbalt.ru/2003/12/25/136534.html).


New expositions in the Fersman Mineralogical Museum

January 9, 2004.
The exposition of specimens  Victor I.Stepanov’s collection was opened devoted to his 80th anniversary (see below). Two show-cases showed about one hundred of samples (from the total of about 10 000) of this outstanding collection, which acquainted visitors with the main features of the collection – variety of species, forms of minerals, sociological value.

January 21, 2004
The exposition Inclusions in Quartz from the collection of Moscow geologist Vladimir A.Krikov will be open. Remarkable crystals with large (sometimes more than 1-2 cm!) visible by naked eye inclusions of various minerals (more than 80 species!) have been collected for the last 20 years at work on deposits of Kazakhstan and Russia. It is the first so representative exposition in Russia. Under the plan of the Director of Museum Margarita I. Novgorodova, this exposition begins a new series of expositions «Private collections».

Inclusions in quartz , Cara-Oba, Kazakhstan, Vladimir Krikov collection. Photo Michael B. Leibov




                        Inclusions in quartz crystal, 13.5 cm;                  Inclusions in quartz crystal, 6.7 cm;               Inclusions in quartz crystal, 7.2 cm
                        a) Quartz crystal, 13.5 cm)                                    Cosalite crystal, broken                                       Pseudomorph of sphalerite
                       b) Cosalite crystals (up to 4.5 cm)                         on prism face and further on pyramid face         and pyrite after galenobismuthite
                       c) Rhodochrosite crystals
                       (upper ones are covered with siderite  -
                       up to 1.8 cm  and lower ones are more than 1 cm)


Memorable dates

December 22, 1853. Birthday of petrographer, mineralogist and geologist Evgraf Stepanovich Fedorov, great crystallographer. Mineral fedorovite was named in his honor

December 24, 1913. Birthday of Academician Ivan Kostov, Bulgarian mineralogist and crystallographer. Mineral kostovite was named in his honor.

December 26, 2000. In Ekaterinburg, Vladimir A. Pelepenko has opened the Urals Mineralogical Museum acquainting with a part of his largest collection of minerals and stone articles. The new museum was supported by the Governor Edward Rossel and other senior officials of oblast Administration, having granted him 2000 sq. m in the city centre (halls of former restaurant «Big Urals»). Additional information and photos of fine samples see on the Museum’s site : http://www.bestminerals.ru

December 28, 1933. Birthday of Lawrence Conklin, great American dealer and collector of minerals, author of a series of interesting notes in the journal “Mineralogical Record”. In the autobiography (see site http:// www.lhconklin.com) he writes: «In 1983 the newsletter publication Bottom Line/Personal called me “The world's foremost dealer in mineral specimens for the collector”, and why would I dispute that?”

January 1, 1940. Birthday of Ravil V. Galiulin, crystallographer, geologist and poet. Many years worked on deposits of optical raw material in Siberia, therefore the recent performance in the Moscow Friends of Mineralogy Club he has named “Iceland spar – the crystal of my heart”.

January 5. Birthday of Alexander Agafonov, stone-cutter, founder of cooperative society «Stone Flower», one of the first in the USSR engaged in collection and sale of collection minerals (dioptase, rutile, etc.) and craft stone.

January 6, 1945. Has gone Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (born 1863), great mineralogist, geochemist and great thinker.

January 7, 1726. The Imperial Academy of Science in Saint Petersburg was inaugurated at the presence of Katherine the Great.

January 7, 1847. Alexander Petrovich Karpinsky (dead. 1936) was born in settlement of Frolovsky ore mine of Bogoslovsky factory (nowadays Krasnoturyinsk) on the Urals, the largest geologist four times elected as the President of the Academy of Science of Russia and the USSR (see World of Stones, 1996, #11, p. 36-39).

January 7, 1924. Birthday of Victor Ivanovich Stepanov (dead 1988), mineralogist of encyclopedic knowledge, expert in stone, who has collected largest in the history of Russia mineralogical collection. Mineral vistepite was named in his honor. About him see Mineral Collections of Russia. Part 1. Fourteen Personal Collections. Moscow. Mineralogical Almanac, vol.2, pp.54-70.

January 10, 1894. Birthday of Ekaterina Evtikhievna Kostyleva-Labuntsova (dead 1974), mineralogist, researcher of Khibiny. Minerals labuntsovite and kostylevite were named in her honor.

January 12, 1930. Birthday of Nikolay Pavlovich Laverov, Academician, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Science, expert in the field of geology of uranium deposits.

January 13, 1893. Birthday of Dmitry Ivanovich Shcherbakov (dead 1966), geochemist and mineralogist, researcher of Central Asia deposits. Mineral shcherbakovite is named in his honor.

January 13, 1949. Birthday of Michael Aleksandrovich Nazarov, mineralogist and geochemist, Director of the Museum of Extra-terrestrial Substance at the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Science (about the Museum see on the site of Institute www.geokhi.ru/exhibition/museum1/)


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