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Mineralogical Almanac  

News on May 1 - June 15, 2003


Meetings, conference, exhibitions

V.A. Pelepenko’s Urals Mineralogical museum:
An exhibition in Moscow

During the course of the Sverdlovsk Oblast Culture Days in Moscow (May 21–23) the first exhibition of mineral samples and pieces of art from the well-known private Russian museum (Vladimir A. Pelepenko’s Urals Mineralogical Museum, Ekaterinburg) occurred. It was the top event of the this month. Collection of Vladimir A. Pelepenko comprises about 17,000 samples of more than 900 mineral species, which represent mainly Russia and CIS mineral deposits; some remarkable samples are of foreign origin (see also Mineralogical Almanac, vol.2, 2000). Besides, it incorporates large systematic collections of Sergey V. Tsaregorodtsev and Mikhail F. Korobitsyn known for a wide variety of mineral species. About one hundred of mineral samples and scores of pieces of art have been presented at the exhibition. Among the minerals common species prevailed, but these were noteworthy for their shape, dimensions, etc. Thus, one calcite sample was a mushroom-like stalagmite from Khaidarkan, Kyrgyzstan, about 30 cm high, a favorite sample of V.A. Pelepenko, along with bright dark-red calcite pigmented with lepidocrocite inclusions found in Sarbay deposit. Among other unique samples there was a crystal of quartz found in the South Urals, 7–8 cm long, which pierced a top of another quartz crystal. Rock crystals from Perekatnoe deposit, Yakutia, were quite expressive. An axinite crystal from Puiva, Sub-Polar Urals, amazed with its dimensions (17–20 x 8–9 cm) and perfect shape; brucite from Bazhenovskoe deposit (Middle Urals), transparent and of pure lettuce-green color; a perfect hyalophane crystal (10×10×12 cm) from Slyudyanka (the Lake Baikal area); crimson-colored elbaite from Malkhan (Transbaikalia) 15 cm in diameter and of flattened shape. Cinnabar as groups of twins on a druse of bluish-green fluorite from Chauvai, Kyrgyzstan, a getchellite crystal (!) of unusual dimensions (5–6 cm in cross-section) in hosting rock from Khaidarkan, Kyrgyzstan, and a stibnite druse from Kadamzhay, Kyrgyzstan, were magnificent. Samples of large pyrrhotite, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite crystals, along with a large tabular calcite crystal (greater than 20 x 15 cm) with one side covered by ilvaite “measles” represented a famous Dal’negorsk deposit. This sample, which V.A. Pelepenko called Sail, was an object of his “hunting” among the local collectors for several years. The exhibition demonstrated the Uralian “classics”: uvarovite from Saranovskoe deposit, pyrite from Berezovskoe, diopside from the Akhmatovskaya mine, along with emeralds and gold. Friends and fans of mineralogy and gemstones could see a videofilm on modern lapidists from the Urals, including the authors of the pieces of art demonstrated at the exhibition.

300th anniversary of St. Petersburg devoted

Late in this May during the300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, a vast Alexander Column was opened to the public in the Dvortsovaya Square after reconstruction. This world’s largest granite monolith was constructed in 1830–1834.

Finally, a famous Amber Room was created anew and opened to the public in the Ekaterininsky palace-museum (a town of Pushkin near St. Petersburg).

April 29 – May 6, 2003

Gems in the Moscow Kremlin exhibitions.

Faberge. Easter Presents – this sensational exhibition has been opened in the Assumption Cathedral bell tower up to July 1. Ten Easter eggs from the Kremlin Armory Chamber made the base of this exhibition, as well as the very special Throne Heir’s Constellation, the Faberge masterpiece recently found in A.E. Fersman Mineralogical museum storage and overhauled in the Kremlin art workshop before its first demonstration in public.


The Amber Gold of Russia – this highly interesting exhibition has been opened in the Kremlin Armory Chamber Bu June 4, 2003. It demonstrated 60 and more pieces from five museums of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kaliningrad, including a unique teapot, boxes, and statuettes, as well as rare large fragments of amber.



The famous Faberge chefs d’oeuvre stored in the Armory Chamber are portrayed in the World of Faberge (Red Square Publishers, Moscow, 2000, 224 pp., ill, ISBN 5-900743-50-0.

T.N. Muntian is the author of the introductory article and catalogue compiler.

This book comprises a substantial introduction, a voluminous catalogue of two hundred and more items, top-quality color plates, a list of Russian jewelers, and other interesting information. (www.kremlin.ru)

A new mineralogical handbook.

Semyonov, E.I. (2002) Mineralogical handbook, Moscow, GEOS Publishers, 214 pp. (A.E. Fersman Mineralogical museum, IMGRE, Geokart).

Evgeny I. Semyonov, one of the most prominent Russian mineralogists, published a new handbook that comprises the maximum number of mineral species among the Russian publications of the type (3780). The minerals are listed in alphabetic order ; chemical formulas, diagnostic properties (optics, density, and hardness), as well as genetic information, are given for every mineral. The mineral species known to occur in Russia (a total of 1643), including 495 new minerals discovered in the country, are specially marked. Major minerals (389 of them) are described to a greater detail, including diagnostic features, paragenetic assemblages, economic significance, and typical deposits. Tables of minerals by constituting chemical elements are given, along with the schemes of isomorphism.

New finds

Viktor Ponomarenko visited Dal’negorsk deposit where colorless transparent fluorite crystals (up to 16 cm) were reported to occur (Nikolayevsky mine).

Vladimir I. Yermolenko reports on finding of large (up to 50 cm) calcite druses at Sokolovskoe deposit in Kazakhstan). Transparent colorless and yellow prismatic calcite crystals (max. 30 cm) occur in association with zeolites.

New books

Danilov, A.A. Gemstones of Amurskaya oblast [Samotsvety Amurskoi oblasti]. Post Scriptum, 2000, 160 pp., ill.

The area of the Amurskaya oblast exceeds that of Arizona or Great Britain. However, like in case of many regions of Russia and the world, it is studied unevenly and insufficiently. Various mineral deposits are known to occur here, gemstones included. Gold exploration revealed magnificent agates in alluvium of the Nora and Burunda rivers long ago, and in the 1980’s Burundinskoe color chalcedony deposit, the largest in Rusia, was explored.

In 1981 Tokskoe chrysolite placer was discovered. This deposit , as well as Kugdinskoe, are two economic deposits known in Russia. Chrysolite is considered as a major gemstone of the area. Photos of agates and other gems illustrate the book.

A review of Canada-related minerals

Horváth, Laszlo. (2003) Mineral Species Discovered in Canada and Species Named after Canadians. Special Publications of The Canadian Mineralogist, 6, 382 p.

Canada, one of the world’s largest countries, during the course of the last 10 – 15 years joined the leadership in the new mineral discoveries at its territory, a total of 206. Of these, a significant part derives from the Mont Saint Hilarie Massif (41 species, as I. Pekov estimates), this key mineralogical object of the 1990’s. It is not by chance Laszlo Horvath, who was among the authors of a remarkable mineralogical description of the Saint Hilarie, had issued this all-Canadian summary (cf. Mineralogical Record, 1990, v. 21).

See  www.mineralogicalassociation. ca for details

This annotated and illustrated compendium focuses on the 206 mineral species discovered in Canada or redefined from Canadian localities in the last 222 years. It also highlights 30 minerals named after Canadians but discovered outside Canada, and includes a section on obsolete names of mineral species first described from Canadian localities. The book also gives a brief historical overview of works documenting mineralogy in Canada from its beginnings in 1752 to the present. Appendices covering the chronology of mineral discoveries, individual type-localities, type-mineral specimens and their repositories, chemical classification of type minerals, an author index, and general references complete the book.

Review of web-sites

www.fegi.ru The Russian Far East website – from supergenic minerals to a famous actor.

New publications:

Yakhontova, L.K., and Zvereva, V.P. Principles of supergenic mineralogy.

This important summary systematizes data on 800 minerals (140 sulfate species, 115 arsenate, 115 oxide, etc.) from the oxidation zone of various mineral deposits of the world, with an emphasis on tin deposits of the Russian Far East. Supergenic effects caused by microorganisms are discussed. This site presents on-line Russian version of the book, which hardcopy version issue was quite small.

A useful image index

An image index complementary to Igor V. Pekov’s book, Minerals First Discovered on the Territory of Former Soviet Union (1998), is introduced at www.element51.com (SEM photos, drawings of crystals, and color photos). An alphabetic list of minerals specifies page numbers where images of minerals are placed.


Other features of the site:

  • Papers on the diamond finds in the Russian Far East (Shcheka, S.A. Diamonds in the Far East: Myths and reality; Zalishchak, B.L. How the diamonds were searched for.)
  • Information in brief:
  • Gem and color stone deposits of the region,
  • Collection minerals,
  • Essays on the history of the region.

Ore deposit discoveries and the mining history of the Dal’negorsk (now Tetyukhe) area are related to Yuli I. Brinner (1849–1920), an outstanding mining businessman and a mecenate; maybe, this is the first detailed publication of his biography.

Boris Yu. Brinner, his son, graduated from the Mining institute in St. Petersburg; he published his work, Silver-and-lead mines of the Tetyukhe area, in 1915. His son of the first marriage, Yul Brinner, worked as a photographer and the UN consultant, then was an employee of a TV company. Still later he joined Mikhail Chekhov’s theater school to become a professional actor. His starring in the Magnificent Seven made him widely famous. The top of his career came to him in the theater; his role in King and I brought Oscar in 1984.

The details are best presented in Rock Brinner’s book, Yul, the Man Who Would Be King (1978).

Memorable days

            On May 2, 1785, Anna Alexeevna Orlova was born (d. 1848), the only daughter of the famous Count Alexey Orlov and one of the ten richest ladies in Russia and abroad: in 1831 – 32 her property was estimated as 40 million gold rubles (V.A. Kiprin). In particular, she owned a manor in the Neskuchny Garden with a manege, the largest one in Moscow. At that time aristocrats occasionally transformed their maneges into ballrooms. This was the case in 1814, when she gave a grandiose ball to celebrate the Russian victory over Napoleon and return of the Russian army home. In 1832, the Countess sold her manor to Nicolas I, the then Russian emperor. With time, she abandoned the society for religious activities, donating huge sums of money to monasteries and churches. Since 1934, A.E Fersman Mineralogical museum (RAS) moved from Leningrad to Moscow has been located there.

            On May 6, Marianna Borisovna Chistyakova was born, who stays with A.E. Fersman Mineralogical museum (RAS) since the 1950’s(!). She supervises the gem and color stone collection of the Museum.

On May 15, 1915, John Sinkankas was born (died May 17, 2002), a famous gemologist and an author of a fundamental book on North American gemstones, Emerald and Other Beryls, this original encyclopedia, a magnificent course of mineralogy for amateurs, and many other books. Mineral sinkakasite was named in his honor.
http://www.palagems.com/sinkankas.htm states:  “…Pilot, author, bibliophile, bookbinder, collector, artist, lapidary, historian, scholar – John Sinkankas was the epitome of the Renaissance man.”

On May 17, 1936, Lia Nikolayevna Kogarko, a academician of Russian Academy of Science and a specialist in magmatism, ore deposition, and geochemistry, was born. Mineral kogarkoite discovered in Colorado, USA, was named in her honor.

On May 18 Anatoly Nikolaevich Korobov was born, a pilot, designer, artist, lapidary, collector, screenplay author for animated films, etc. For many years he heads the Moscow friends of Mineralogy Club, being an organizer and participant of the Wonder in Stone annual exhibition for three decades. His scenery stone collection is a unique.

On May 20, 1936, Nikolai Pavlovich Yushkin, a academician of Russian Academy of Science, was born. He is a mineralogist (in particular, he deals with biomineralogical problems) and a Director of the Geological Institute of the Komi Scientific Center, Uralian Branch of RAS (Syktyvkar). During the last two decades he heads studies on fundamental description of the Uralian mineralogy. Mineral yushkinite was named in his honor.

On May 21, 1885, Nikolay Alexeevich Smol’yaninov was born (died 1957), a Profesor of mineralogy in the Moscow Geological Prospecting Institute since 1930 and a head of the Mineralogical museum of the same institute during 1930–1957. He was among the top mineralogists and an author of a Practical Guide on Mineralogy. Mineral smolyaninovite was named in his honor.

On May 29, 1846, Carl Fabergé was born, famous Russian jewelry.

On June 6, 1835, a 480-t nest of malachite was found in the Nadeznaya mine near Nizhniy Taghil, Middle Urals. The nest carried a 40-t monolith, the largest one ever found in Russia.

On June 13, 1955, a field team headed by Yu.I. Khabardin discovered a kimberlite pipe Mir, the second known then in the world and the largest bedrock diamond deposit outside South Africa.



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