By Martin Gruell & Robert Kunze
Year by year the highlight for all European collectors and dealers worldwide: at the end of october (26th to 28th) European´s most important and largest mineral show at Munich exceptional minerals draw mineral-nerds like moths to the flame to the heart of Europe.
First of all: German thoroughness is not only a byword. The team of Mr. Keilmann did a fantastic job. The organization of the entire show worked perfect, as many exhibitors will agree. I made quite diverging experiences when I visited the show this year – some good and some bad ones.
Yes – there were some really amazing minerals: there was a great new discovery at Dal´negorsk, Russia. Since decades they mined stepped modified Fluorite-crystals, but not such sharp terminated, lustrous, waterclear and really large cubes like this time. As Fluorite-collector I can't rank this new find high enough – quality and also quantity never seen since many years. I saw about 150 to 200 specimens in various dimensions, many featured really a nice assemble. Only one drawback – nearly all showed damages or bad contacts.
A second new discovery came from Morocco, where beautiful blue and glossy Barite were found at Mt. Ouichane, Nador. Only little quantity was available and not all in good condition damagewise, but colour and luster were really remarkable.
That's a very nice sample of the new discovered Barites from Morocco. Size: approx. 6 cm
Since the strict embargo for field-collectors in Greece minerals from Serifos became very rare and good material is hard to obtain. Only a few exhibitors showed a hand full of very fine Prase (Quartz with Hedenbergite-inclusions) from an old find by an Austrian Strahler. Further there were several fine minerals from Huangang, Inner Mongolia, China. If I compare with other finds from China there is one significant point: there is not so large quantity. Not too much of the same minerals in the same style, but a great diversity of different species or a numerous different colours and habits of one mineral.
Also bad news came from Okorusu-Mine, Namibia. The mine is still productive, but no more longer specimen-mining is possible as the specimen-miner from Okoruso told me. So after decades of fantastic Fluorite from this locality it seems to be over – maybe the circumstances change in the future, but for the moment we all should keep our Okorusu-Fluorites safe in our cabinets.
No – not all things on a large show are expensive. There were a lot of good opportunities to get fine pieces for reasonable or really low prices. Especially private collectors who showed their minerals only at Munich offered some good pieces from their private collections. But there were also some dealers – I recognize a few from Italy – had some bargain-offers.
One of the great disappointments were the alpine exhibitors. If there was a good discovery – like Sphene from Habach valley / Austria – you couldn´t see any good piece. Exhibitors prefered to show only the third row to get rid of their low-quality pieces. In opposite to low quality the prices are climbing higher and higher each year, even for repaired material. In my evaluation the scene of alpine collectors will shrink in the near future if exhibitors will continue this way. Many specimens were just good for the locality but were not compareable to the same minerals from other localities, which are much cheaper and available at higher quantity and quality.
Also I saw many dealers who offered the same material as last year. I looked in several show-cases and saw the same pieces like in 2011. They just showed what was left from the last Munich-show and that is boring for collectors! So far about my bad experience.
Of course I also had to visit the pavillon and see some high-end stuff. Nearly every well known dealer exhibited in Munich, so it is always a pleasure to see specimens at the highest level. Arkenstone showed high quality at high prices – like a really spectacular pink Fluorite from France, Rhodochrosite from Colorado, Tourms and many more. The well known German dealer Andreas Weerth is a pensioner now and the Austrian dealers Watzl-minerals resumed their place at the main-show. They showed the probably best Tourmaline from Asia on the show – but only for a few hours before a private collector bought it. There were also several attractive Gold-specimens from California, unfortunately the owners didn´t allow me to photograph for this report. But as I mentioned above – it was the same stuff like last year and Gold from Eagles Nest was available nearly on every show-case in every size and price-range.
At Kosnar´s display I saw the probably most uncommon Gold-specimen on the show. In opposite here I was invited to photograph in a very friendly way – but I failed and my photos were horrible and didn´t do justice to this exceptional matrix-piece from Nugget Pond Mine, New Foundland, Canada. It was this rare locality, the dimension and the high aesthetic which made this specimen so special. For me one of the most remarkable specimens I saw this year.
The german dealer Marcus Budil showed fantastic Tourmaline, Azurite from Mexico, Rutile from Brazil and many more – among all this outstanding minerals his stuff was one league higher than most of other dealers. His selection and presentation was on highest level. Another German seller – Juergen Margraf – showed a great diversity. There were not only high-end pieces, also good quality at reasonable prices for all collectors and Juergen and his team appreciate and counsel each collector in the same friendly way. Overall it was too much for one report and too much for my poor eyes during a few hours.
Here're some impressions:
XL Amazonite, the specimen was about 30cm, in best condition and intense green color
Lustrous Fluorite, dark violet color – dimension about 25 cm across
Incredible Scheelite from Mount Xueboading / China, shown by Marcus Budil. I remember right about 10 cm on edges.
My personal highlight in the pavillon – freestanding Gold from a very rare locality in Canada, the well crystallized Gold was about 6cm high. Shown by Kosnar, unfortunately my photo doesn´t make justice to this piece.
Waterclear, enormous alpine Smoky Quartz from Switzerland – about 1 m high, by Watzl-Minerals
Two of the probably most photographed specimens at the show – Tourmaline from Afghanistan and heavy Gold, both about 15 to 20cm high.
Citrine as japanese-twin from Zambia – look at me in the mirror to get an idea of it´s dimension.
Large orange to red Wulfenite – about 15cm across – with glossy crystals from China.
Group of glossy dark Smokys – width about 1 m – from Switzerland
Very intense coloured Aquamarine crystal from Brazil – by Margrafminerals – about 80cm high. They built an own cabinet for this specimen.
Great pleasure to meet Juergen Margraf and his son infront of their showcases.
My best experience at the show – after I bought a Fluorite from Frazers Hush Mine / UK for my personal collection from Jesse Fisher´s private collection I met him and got the whole story and the history of it´s discovery.
Also here I had some bad experience. One collector/seller from France did the experiment to redevelop the budget of France with highly overpriced stuff on average and some uncommon advises. Last year a friend of mine bought a very fine Fluorite from Malmberget / Sweden from a well-known US-dealer for 1.500 Euro. At the showcase of this french dealer I saw a comparable piece and asked for the price. What I got was the shadiest disclosure I ever heard. If I am from Europe the specimen is on 12.000 Euro, if I am from USA he would ask 12.000 dollar. No matter about the currency he asked one digit too high for what it was. Overall many collectors and dealers agreed with me that his stuff is untouchable.
Finally I repeat one lesson: not all expensive is worth it´s price, some cheap stuff is underappreciated and most material is worth what the dealer ask for it – no matter if it was high-end or just 5 Euro.
My resume: like all years before it is definitely worth to travel to Munich! There is no better place in Europe to meet collectors and dealers, no other chance to see such a large selection of high-end minerals and no better opportunity to buy in very price-range. Most of exhibitors tried to do their best to show a wide field of species and had good offers.
Read more about the special exhibition “African Secrets” in Robert's article below.
First of all: the special exhibition was amazing! Africa is well known for most collectors for Tsumeb or Morocco. But the minerals shown were much more and gave a great view over the continent’s best minerals.
As usual, the presentation was very good. In more than 60 showcases you could see about 650 specimens. This large number caused that I wasn’t able to look at all of them in detail – even no they’re worth it! So I will describe my impressions sorted by localities or counties.
Let’s start in Tsumeb, probably Africa’s top location. This inactive mine is well known for some of the best minerals in the world as well as over 260 different species. Some of the best items were shown in Munich. Here're some examples - of course I can only show a small selection.
For me this kind of Cerrusite is the most attractive form in the world. That specimen is more than 10 cm wide, an enormous size for this mineral. Collection: TU Bergakademie Freiberg
Johannes Keilmann showed this very impressive specimen with dozends of finest Dioptase seperatly grown.
Another fine Dioptase, same quality but a different kind.
Another remarkable specimen from the Dr. Erika Pohl-Stroehler collection is this Cerrusite with Mottramite. The size ist approx. 10 cm.
I've never seen somthing like this before: Rosasite psm. after Azurite. It belongs to the Pohl-Stroehler collection, the main-crystal is 8 cm high.
Dr. Pohl-Stroehler also showed this perfect Anglesite from her collection.
Thinking of Tsumeb Azurite is one of the main minerals that were found there in best quality. This item shows a perfect, dark blue crystal with approx. 5 cm height.
Chalcotrichite? By now this mineral was just a "foot-note" for me. This fine specimen showed me that even very rare specimens can form attractive pieces.
How much do I need to say about this enormous Wulfenite?
That was Tsumeb how I saw it - Let's make a quick jump to the other remarkable loalities in Namibia, enjoy!
I believe everyone who visited Munich this year, looking at "African Secrets", will remember this perfect Alien-eye-Fluorite found at Erongo and shown by Dr. Erika Pohl-Stroehler.
Erongo was also represented by a very impressive Fieldspar on Quartz.
Very showy but hard to photograph is this appox. 4 cm large Topaz on Quartz from Spitzkopje, Namibia.
This spectacular Fluorite from Okorusu from the Pauweis collection was found in 2011 in the B-Pit (Lapis 09/2011).
The next focus is South Africa which is not only well known for it's Manganese-minerals as you will see...
A very colorful item of Ajoite in Quartz from the Pohl-Stroehler collection found in the Messina Mine.
A crazy colored eye-catcher is this Quartz (var. cactus) from Mapumalanga, collection Dr. Erika Pohl-Stroehler.
Marco Paulweis showed one of my personal favourites: This impressive Siderited psm. after Calcite with hollow crystals. It was found in Aggeneys. My personal opinion is that this kind will be an upcoming classic.
This beautiful Celestine showed, that the N'Chwaning mines are good for more than "just" Rhodochrosite.
But here we are, the mineral which is associated to South Africa like no other: Rodochrosite. Look at this beautiful display!
The TU Bergakademie Freiberg showed this big crystals in best quality.
The "snail" everyone was talking about: a perfect grown Rhodochrosite from Bill Larson.
My next station is Madagaskar, the "Mineral island" in the east of souhern Africa.
This photo shows one of the best Topazolite I've ever seen. It's from the Pohl-Stroehler collection and measures around 10 cm.
Here's a fantastic Londonite on matrix that was found in Antsongobato.
Celestine from Madagaskar represents the minerals top-quality in the world. This specimen is approx. 9 cm wide and from the Pohl-Stroehler collection.
Moving to the heart of Africa - the Democratic Republic of Congo. This country is very rich in ore- and mineral deposits. But the best known mineral is...
...Malachite. This spectacular specimen is more than 40 cm wide and shows several stalactites up to 12 cm lenght and was found in the Star of Congo-mine!
Not less attractive: a single stalactite from the same location. It's currently in the Marcus Budil collection.
Normally Carrolite is offered as crystals of a few cm lenght. This photo shows some of the best species of this mineral. They were found in the Kamoya South 2 mine. The crystal in the background measures 9 cm!
Mario Pauweis is the proud owner of this beauty: it's a stalactite of Chrysokoll from Lumbumbashi and it's 16 cm high.
Morocco, the mineral-paradise in nothern Africa is the next station I will pay attention to, enjoy!
At the beginning of my report I showed Azurites from Tsumeb. As you can see this specimen from Touissit reaches the same quality.
Everytime I'm looking at this specimen I can't find more words - it's awesome! The TU Bergakademie Freiberg showed this world-class specimen that measures approx. 10 cm.
Morocco in general and Imiter in special produced some of the finest silver minerals in the word. Even if this photo is not 100% sharp you can see the quality.
This rich and showy silver specimen is ~ 7 cm wide.
One more fantastic piece!
Oliver Konczer showed, among other fine specimens, this perfect fluorite from Sidi Ayat.
Last but not least I want to show you some photos of the exhibtion's highlights: Gold, Diamonds and Tansanite.
Rhodesia - since 1964 the state Simbabwe - is the location this very richt gold specimen was found in 1942. It is approx. 15 cm wide and owned by the Natural Histroy Museum in London.
Be sure you're sitting...crystallized Gold on a 11 cm wide matrix-specimen that comes from the same find like the specimen above.
Probably the largest Tansanite that has ever been found! This giant crystal is 22 cm high, named "Kilimanjaro" and was showed by Marcus Budil.
The next spectacular 14 cm Tansanite on Calcite from the Budil-collection.
De Beers showed some of their best uncutted Diamonds in Munich. The yellow one on the left hand side weights 60 gram and is the largest yellow one that was found in South Africa.
I hope I could give you a good overview of what was shown in Munich. The special show "African Secrets" itself was worth travelling to Munich. Of course, there were hundreds of fascinating specimens in the showcases and every single piece is worth wordering about. We're reall looking forward to see the next show - by the way: it will be the show's 50th aniversary.