Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004

Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004
Ste Marie, the town where even the ore bins are full of flowers.


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To start with, here is an overview of the 2004 show.

Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004
A pleasant corner of the French Alsace region...

Above all else, the impression one gets from the show is that it keeps growing and growing without end. Given that Ste Marie-aux-Mines is not that large a town one cannot see how more dealers and visitors can fit in. But somehow the organizers of the show manage to get them in by find new areas for dealers. This year the new one is called Euro-Mineral 2, it is across the street from the Post Office and next to the Tisserands square. 130 new dealers found a home in this new area. At the start of the show they complained about the lack of visitors but by Saturday they had far more work! The number of visitors also seems to grow every year, and I suspect that once again this year will show a significant increase on previous years. This increase in visitors certainly adds to the great 'feel' of the show.

In terms of minerals, the great talking point during the show was the new Hematite with Rutile from Novo Horizonte. While this was not a real novelty, it was the first time that they had been seen at a European show and they were a great success. The fact that some of them were on matrix, the rutile crystals were thicker and stronger than in previous finds, and they really are spectacular make this find one that will be talked about for years to come.

From Myanmar there were new, very interesting Elbaites (Rubellites) that are different from those in previous finds. The Elbaites are in the form of spheres on white calcite matrix, so the contrast between the white and red makes them very attractive.

Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004
The stand ready. Looking good.
Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004
As the stand is now set up we can relax. Jordi and Parés kidding about.
Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004
Julia and Parés say hi to the camera.


China is without doubt the leading country in the production of new material. So at Ste Marie there were lots of Chinese dealers and collectors found lots to buy, either directly from the Chinese or from other dealers who have good Chinese connections. Among the newest finds from China the Molibdenite from Ghiuzhu was very notable, as were the octahedral Fluorites with Spessartine from Yunling (Fujian), and the good examples of Kesterite with Fluorapatite from Pingwu (Sichuan). While the latter were not a true novelty, given their quality we can consider them to be emblematic of this show. The huge range of Chinese minerals, of all sorts of qualities, with all sorts of treatments (some less acceptable than others) really showed what China is producing now a days.

In terms of other classic localities, places such as Morocco and Panasqueira were not at their best, although through careful and patient searching it was always possible to find something of interest.

In terms of other countries a wide variety of classic material was available. In some cases these were as interesting, or even better, than the novelties of the show. Pakistan stands out, with its excellent range of Pegmatite minerals and its large number of rare-earth minerals from the Zagi Mountains.

As far as Spain in concerned, you will need to have to allow me a brief mention of the new Fluorites from La Collada that we offered. The best ones were snapped up quickly, especially given their sea-blue color and the interesting form of the crystals, which is different from that in previous finds.

Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004
The very well known steps to the Theatre, inside which we have our stand.
Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004
The show is everywhere, so it's almost impossible to move about.
Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004
At the end of the show we have to work out how to pack the stuff back into the car. Tiredness does not help...
Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 2004
It's 11 at night and we have finished.
A well deserved beer!

So Ste Marie 2004 has ended and, as usual, has left both collectors and dealers who attended the show with a positive impression. So there is little doubt that most will come back next year to what is without doubt the most pleasant of the major mineral shows: Ste Marie-aux-Mines.

 

Jordi Fabre


 
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