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Mindat - SMLS - NHM Events November 2014

Last Updated: 22nd Nov 2014

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

Mindat/SMLS/NHM Events November 2014

In November 2014, in cooperation with the Natural History Museum, organized two days of events to coincide with the Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society's annual Haywards Heath mineral show. This was a great success and we will hold a similar event next year.

Friday November 14th - Visit to the Natural History Museum, London

On Friday we had arranged a behind-the-scenes tour for a small group of 18 people at the Natural History Museum in London.

The main mineral galleries

A famous 'box epimorph' of siderite after fluorite from Virtuous Lady Mine, Devon

A water-worn Scottish topaz crystal from the Cairngorms.

Roman visits his first mineral museum.

Behind the scenes Mike Rumsey from the NHM had prepared a range of things to see that are normally kept out of sight.

Elongated fluorite from the Russell Collection (Boltsburn Mine)

Another box epimorph.

Beautiful green fluorite from St. Peter's Mine, Northumbria

Some people took a further visit to see the display of antique analytical equipment.

This polariscope is from 1892

Group photo of the team.

Saturday November 15th - The Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society show, Haywards Heath

The annual mineral show run by the Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society was our next destination, held on Saturday in Clair Hall, Haywards Heath.

View of the main hall

Crystal Classics are selling a number of specimens that used to be in the Nick Carruth collection, including these three classics. They were not on sale at the show - this was just a preview of specimens that they will sell later.

Almandine from Chycornish Carn, Cornwall

"Wood Tin" from Devon

"Horsetooth" siderite from Wheal Maudlin, Cornwall

There were other great specimens actually available for sale this day, such as this one:

Matlockite from Derbyshire

John and Robert Lawson have collected some new fluorite from the Beldon Mine in Northumberland:

Beldon fluorite

Roy Starkey was selling his new book on the Minerals of the Cairngorms. I bought a copy, it is a fantastic book. Find out more about the book here: Crystal Mountains book

Roy showing the book.

As usual the SMLS show put on a competition each year. There was no theme this year, it was an open competition with displays by

Chris Finch (Minerals)
Phil James (Fossils)
Terry Denney (Lapidary)
Peter Martin (Lapidary)
Mike Webster (Fossils)
Peter Moore (Minerals)

Chris Finch's mineral display

Close-up of part of his display

Phil James' fossils from the Isle of Wight (this was the winning display)

Peter Moore's Minerals of France

A close-up of one of his pieces

This year we were delighted to welcome Lady Mayor Of Haywards Heath Councillor Sandy Ellis and consort Paul Ellis to the show. I spent some time talking with them about the three-day event and they were delighted we had chosen to extend the event in Haywards Heath rather than go elsewhere (eg London).

With the Lady Mayor and her husband

Sunday November 16th - Mindat UK Symposium, Haywards Heath

On Sunday around 50 people turned up for our symposium. With a great line-up of speakers we had the following presentations:

Jolyon Ralph - What's new with (including a sneak preview of the new design coming soon)
Roy Starkey - Minerals and Gems of the Cairngorms
Jesse Fisher - Weardale and the Northern Pennines
Valere Berlage - The Tantara Copper deposit in DR Congo
John Pearce - Geotourism with the Sussex Mineral & Lapidary Society
Ivor Thurgood - Mineral Collections in Museums (part 1)
Alf Olav Larsen - The Langesundsfjord district, Norway
Chris Mavris - Wurtzite from Kirki, Northeastern Greece


Alf Olav Larsen

Ludmila Cheshko and Alexey Okulov from Mineralogical Almanac at the symposium.

Everyone agreed the event was worth continuing, so we hope to be able to soon announce our plans for a similar event in 2015! See you there.

Article has been viewed at least 15343 times.


Thanks to Jolyon, and all the helpers from SMLS for an excellent day. There is plenty of scope to develop this event into a true mini-conference, with supporting displays, discussions and exchange sessions. What we really need is YOUR participation and support. It was very clear that everyone who attended the Symposium enjoyed themselves and it was great to met some new faces.

One suggestion for next year would be to provide simple self-adhesive labels for name badges, and I'd also suggest that a "grab table" for giveaways (minerals, books, magazines or whatever, related to the mineral hobby)might be an easy to arrange and popular "sideshow" - we've done this for the British Micromount Symposium for the past thirty odd years and it is a highlight of that weekend.

I look forward to seeing everyone again next year and hope we can double the numbers!

Best wishes to all

Roy Starkey

Roy Starkey
22nd Nov 2014 8:32pm
I think that it was a very good start and your suggestions are excellent.

Jolyon & Katya Ralph
22nd Nov 2014 8:34pm
Thanks for the recap...looks like a great time. That wood tin cassiterite is awesome!

Dana Slaughter
23rd Nov 2014 5:26pm
Right you are, Dana. That wood tin is really amazing!!

Woody Thompson
24th Nov 2014 2:28am
My favourite mineral from this lot too.

Alfredo Petrov
24th Nov 2014 8:42am
It was very nice meeting everyone who attended the behind the scenes tour at the NHM, I saw some amazing mineral specimens and some were very strange (such as the elongated fluorite) I was surprised that I enjoyed seeing some of the historical items such as the old wooden crystal carvings. I regret that I was unable to make it to Haywards Heath but if a similar event is held next year I will make every effort to get there! Thank you for organising this very enjoyable day.

Jason Evans
27th Nov 2014 8:52pm

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