The Oxford Mineral & Fossil Show, March 12th 2006
After the enormous scale of the Tucson show earlier this year, it was somewhat reassuring to get back to the reduced scale of the UK shows - and the first major UK show of the season is the Oxford Show - organised by Paul Lowe.
Nick Carruth's stand (he isn't in the photo because he was busy finishing his lunch while I was snapping) was my first stop. Nick usually has interesting Cornish minerals for offer - and today was no exception.
This classic Herodsfoot Bournonite was a nice example of this classic British mineral (and better than any I have in my collection).
The label affixed to the back shows the old 'Endellionite' name - the original name given to the Cornish material in the 19th Century. British mineral experts will recognise the Sarjeant collection label on the bottom.
Another interesting piece was this large cabinet sample showing strings of Botallackite crystals on a quartz veinstone sample, from the old Levant workings in St Just, Cornwall.
This sample is a classic example of the quartz pseudomorphs after Scheelite found at the Ramsley Mine in Devon.
Don't look so worried Mark, I'm only trying to take some photos to promote your rocks! Thames Valley Minerals are now a regular exhibitor at the UK shows, and usually have things that interest me.
This time, it was this superb large cabinet sample of Galena, Quartz and Calcite from Dalnegorsk that impressed me.
Across the corridor from Mark at Thames Valley was Stephen Moreton, who has been using HF to etch out some of the new Gold specimens he's dug out from Ireland
These treated specimens show the gold very nicely - several are quite rich, certainly good for the location.
Mindat regular Ian Jones was here as well, with a good selection of UK and worldwide minerals....
including this large Spodumene crystal.
Liz and David Hacker had their usual stand offering some of the nicest northern English minerals currently available.
This fluorite came with it's own portrait!
Another nice piece was this calcite:
- This is the classic calcite associated with the iron mining area in the west of Cumbria (the opposite side to Alston Moor and the famous Fluorite sites).
For those interested in the minerals, of this area, Brian Beveridge had some nice classic english Hematite pieces from the area...
.. starting at £3 - just going to show that not everything has crazy astronomical prices these days - there are still nice things to be had for 'pocket money' prices if you're a new collector.
Next stop was with Mike Brooke at Broadstone Minerals.
Mike had a good mixed collection of British and foreign minerals.
This display includes some classic Fluroites, Baryte and a fabulous Gypsum from the Levant mine in Cornwall (probably post-mining, but still very attractive).
This piece was interesting - a pseudomorph of Hematite after Calcite from the Stank Mine.
Around the corner was Simon Hildred - or at least his stand. I didn't actually see anyone there when I visited, so I just looked at the minerals. This tiny one stood out - a South African diamond IN diamond!
Yes, it's a 1/2 carat octahedral diamond embedded in a larger 3.5 carat rough diamond.
Another required stop for any collector of Cornish minerals is Mike Merry.
As well as minerals, this year Mike Merry was selling a CD-ROM of material he'd scanned (hey, that's a good idea!) from microfiche - these are 19th Century maps of Cornwall annotated by famous mine historian A.K.Hamilton Jenkin.
This is a small sub-section of one of these maps showing his typical notations.
Now, can you identify the Mindat regular examining the stock that Neil Hubbard (Midland Minerals) has to offer?
And, soon we were surrounded by more Mindat Regulars - Steve and Christine Rust
... closely followed by Colleen Thomson
wearing a T-Shirt covered with mineral pictures. But it's NOT a mindat T-Shirt - those are still being designed in a secret secure facility and will be unveiled shortly!
Overall, the Oxford Show is a good fun place to meet people. I managed to avoid buying any minerals at all at this show - which is probably a first for me - atlhough I did walk away with some second-hand magazines and a copy of the A K Hamilton Jenkin CD-ROM which I have installed on my laptop to enjoy whenever I get a free moment!
The next Oxford mineral show is on Sunday 9th July - we'll be reporting from there!