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Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines 2016 - Day 1

Last Updated: 4th Jul 2016

By Tom Costes


2015 was our first visit to Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines (further mostly referred to as SMAM) and we were impressed. So much so that we wanted to see the fair from the beginning... the very beginning. We wanted to come on Wednesday and we didn't know that we could buy tickets for that day. So we enquired with quite a few dealers if they were willing to take us, but I didn't expect Jolyon to offer me to go in his place while he would go to the fair in Hong Kong. In return we had to make pictures and write a small article for on So... here it is: our Wednesday on Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines.
For the people that don't know about the SMAM fair, most of the fair is outside in white tents. This is a great solution for when you have bright weather, but quite awful when it rains. So we let ourselves be guided by the weather forecast. Wednesday and Thursday would be sunny and dry and on friday there would be a chance for rain. that is why we decided to visit as much of the outside area's the first 2 days and to leave the inside area's for the last day.
The fair itself takes place in the city centre. Many big roads are closed off so the dealers can spread their wares in the white tents. You can imagine that several roads, squares and parks together filled with mineral and fossil dealers make a rather large fair, so we had to split things up. This first day we decided to visit the green, orange, blue and red zone (we didn't actually plan the red zone, we just visited it and had seen everything before we knew it. curiosity killed the cat and all those sort of things...)

The map of the general mineral and fossil area

Meet our photographer that couldn't find a better way than to introduce himself in the reflection of an Obsidian sphere.

The village of Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines seems quite peaceful just outside of the fair.

You can buy Kyanite by the kilo (yes, European measurements) with Arte Crystals LLC

Zambian Malachite comes even in the shape of their African origin with Earth Treasure Zambia LTD

Artificial but very beautiful pure Magnesium from Guilin Rock Shop

The three musketeers laid down their heads in a suspiciously similar way. One for all, all for one!!

A beautiful rotating Autunite from Portugal from It really showed the entire beauty of the rather large crystals.

It is rather quiet for the time being. They still have time to unpack their boxes for tomorrow!

An obligate visit to Wendel that blows you away with the beauty and lustre of some of his pieces.

A Spodumene that looks a lot like a Harrier Jet Fighter... I wonder if this too could break the sound barrier...

As Belgians we are naturally attracted to this beautiful part of the Wendel stand filled with Belgian calcites and a galena

Some very different Chinese fluorites next to each other.

We have had a wonderful talk with Cyrile Caveriviere from CCMinerals

We're keeping the crowded theatre for friday!

We're finding a LOT more Plumbogummites than we thought we would.

A Hoverfly.... the same one as last year????

Your reporter having his own Jurassic Park moment.

The crowd thickens, the temperature rises, the reporters are melting and leaving to come back tomorrow!

Bert Verschuren (photographer) & Tom Costes (reporter)

Article has been viewed at least 7951 times.


Very nice! Will try to be there next year x louis

Louis Verschuren
29th Jun 2016 9:10pm
Very nice article Tom, makes me wish I was there! Specimens all look tasty.

Paul Stephen Cyr
30th Jun 2016 4:00am
then wait for the next 2 days... the pieces keep getting better.

Tom Costes
30th Jun 2016 8:37am
Mooie reportage.Ik ben nooit in St marie aux Mines geweest maar het moet wel indruk wekkend zijn.

André Heyninck
30th Jun 2016 2:13pm
Did you walk past Cal and Kerith without saying hello? ;-)
p.s. I heard of Jacques selling his collection, apparently Wendel got it. Steep pricing though.

Harjo Neutkens
1st Jul 2016 12:01am
on the seventh page you show this:"Artificial but very beautiful pure Manganese from Guilin Rock Shop"

It is not manganese : it is Magnesium.

it has also been described as Aluminum (aluminium). it is Mg.

John Attard
2nd Jul 2016 6:28am

There you go. thanks for the correction.

Tom Costes
2nd Jul 2016 11:12am
A perfect first picture with the "man in action" !
But just to give some percision, picture before Cyrile's one, the firt fluorite item at right came from Frazer's Hush mine. ;))
Thanks for your reportage Tom !

Thierry Brunsperger
6th Jul 2016 8:53pm

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