Mindat.org Conference 2014 Madagascar 28 May 2014 - 13 June 2014
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 Post subject: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:53 pm
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Any members except me, Tim and Earthling going?

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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:28 pm 
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Me too :)


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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:30 am 
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I am at CV 02


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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:25 pm 
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28 June 2011

The yearly fossil, mineral and gem fair, held in the pittoresque town Sainte Marie aux Mines has just come to an end. Conny, Earthling and yours truly were lucky enough to be there with our loved ones and enjoy the good weather, stones and each other's company.

Spending some time in the Alsace is no punishment:

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The show featured over 900 sellers and although it appeared to have drawn fewer visitors than other years it entertained those who did visit for the four days it ran. The show is only accessible to trade members on the Thursday and Friday allowing them first dibs on the goodies, often at reduced prices before the general public swarms over the stalls decked out with fossils, meteorites, mineral specimens and cut stones of all imaginable qualities and prices.

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The show has two areas, the larger of which is called Euromineral which is reserved for the fossil and mineral section. From an awesome sabertooth skull and huge meteorite slab to the finest museum quality specimens of just about every mineral variety this section would make any natural history museum curator phone home to check what his budget is. The most valuable specimens are concentrated in the town's theater where the elite of the mineral vendors display the crème de la crème of natures finest. It was a true feast for the eye. The combined collection of these sellers rivals that of what can be seen in the larger Museums of London or New York in beauty, diversity and abundance.

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Although the organization tries to keep gems and minerals separate many dealers at the mineral section sold cut gems and a bit of rough.
The gem section, called Eurogem, houses some 200 sellers who offer a wide variety of loose gemstones, a little rough and some bijoux. It wasn't as busy here and quite a few bored faces were to be found on the other side of the tables. This suited the interested gemologist just fine as he had all the time to eyeball each and every stone at his leisure. Long and in depth talks with some of the more experienced and knowledgeable vendors were another bonus made possible by the lack of large amounts of visitors.

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We ran into some familiar names too:

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And look what is top shelve in Europe too:

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Here's a "yeah, right":

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And... the newest no. 1 on my wish list: a proper 40x pocket magnifier... the little scope Olly (Earthling) is holding actually does the trick and does it well! I want it!:

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Through the grapevine

I've reported on irradiated morganite before here on the forum and was pleased to see that the topaz treater I got the info from was present at the fair. I asked him again after seeing a bunch of morganite rough on his table and he came with a different version of the story this time. Where last time I spoke with him it was a yuckie green beryl that irradiated to blue and then heated to pink this time it was something different... Goshenite from certain places, he couldn't tell me which ones (he said he was getting it from 'the Africans' who were telling him it came from Mozambique one week and Brazil the next, but of course it is possible he knows very well where it is coming from and likes to keep that to himself) irradiated to a smokey brown and then heated to pink. He had the irradiated smokey brown beryl for sale next to the morganite and I grabbed a couple of pieces and will send 'm off to different labs so they can have their way with it. Here's the pics to give you an idea of the colors:

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The next curiosity came from a Sri lankan dealer who, after some talking, thought I would be interested in one of his latest discoveries. He fumbled around in his pocket and produced a stone paper containing an opaque extremely dark blue star with super fine legs. "Synthetic star corundum?" I guessed... "No, it's spinel" he said... "Synthetic spinel..." and he put the stone back in his pocket while shaking his head. Last February the GIA reported on a white synthetic star spinel that was used to mimic a moonstone but I'm unaware of dark six legged star spinels having been described anywhere in gemological literature yet. I grabbed the guy's card so if anyone wants to get into contact with him give me a buzz and I'll get you his email addy.

Background: Sainte Marie aux what Mines?

As its name suggests, the town owes its existence to some extent to mining activities. When silver mining started isn't completely clear, some believe it commenced as early as the Gallo-Roman era, others date the discovery of the deposits to Ottonian times. A fact is that the height of the production was in the period 1530-1570 when 2000-3000 miners were involved in extracting the precious lead-silver, copper, arsenic, zinc, nickel and iron ores from mines around the valley.

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Large quantities of silver were mined in the area until the end of the 16th century when yields started to diminish while at the same time enormous amounts of South American silver was imported into Europe by the Spanish. Sainte Marie aux Mines became a ghost town, just a handful of farmers remained to occupy the area, benefiting from the large areas that were cleared of vegetation in order to retrieve enough wood to prop the shafts, tunnels and fuel the fires that were necessary to separate the different metals from their ore. If you want to read more on silver mining and metallurgy I recommend this article I wrote last month.

The Alsace was a remote area, far from Paris and on the 'wrong side of the Rhine' for the Germans so it always enjoyed relative freedom. Perhaps this was why shortly after the Reformation thousands of protestants Swiss farmers inhabited the region. Cheese and whine became important for the local economy and Sainte Marie aux Mines must have grown in size again over the 17th and 18th century, judging from the houses in the town.

In 1962, a guy named François Lehmann organized a “Mine Day” on behalf of the technical Cinema club, it was a simple local exhibition. Two years later, the exhibition, then entitled “Stones,” had progressed from being a local affair to being a regional attraction. It was not until 1966, after the success of the first “International Trade Show” that it was decided to hold the fair every year on the first weekend in July. In 1992, Europe's first mineral and fossil fair was launched on the last weekend in June and has kept the same schedule ever since. Euromineral can count on a yearly visit from me from now on too... It has a laid back, informal atmosphere. It is the first gem show where I can run around in the sun, dressed in shorts while browsing the stalls holding a beer and a smoke... I like it :smt023

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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:09 am 
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:) Thanks for sharing these nice pictures.
I was glad to meet you and Earthling , sorry for Conny.
May be next year?
:smt002


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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:06 am 
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What a beautiful place to visit with gems to boot. Gee you're having a good year Tim.

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Keep em comin!!!

Most of the fire on the wall has been put out :)


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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:01 am 
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Cool report fratello! :D I really hope i could attend next year!!!!!!
ciao
albé

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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:53 am 
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hi Tim
it was nice to meet you..and Conny...and Olivier...so now i know 3 of forum members :)

and thanks for the photo...

weather was disappointing...but this is Saint Marie...last year it was beautifully sunny, this year rain and wind...

ciao

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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:01 am 
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Quote:
weather was disappointing ...last year it was beautifully sunny, this year rain and wind...


Huh? Dubai has spoiled you, mate.. To this Northern European lad the weather was great :)

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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:22 am 
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ahaha...anything below 35 is bad weather :)

i dint miss dubai humidity at least...

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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:58 pm 
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It was last year in Sainte Marie aux Mines :( ,next year:
http://www.euromineral.fr/share/why_f.html


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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:42 am 
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Waooo Tim your photos are wonderful !!! Thank you very much !

Who plans to go to Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines this year ? I give you the website if you want more infos : http://www.sainte-marie-mineral.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Gem & Mineral Fair, Sainte Marie aux Mines 2011
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:44 am 
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Just received this:


Quote:
Cancellation of the 49th edition
EURO MINERAL & EURO GEM 2012 at the COLMAR Exhibition Grounds.

Dear Tim SPAUWEN,

In June 2011, MINERAL Concepts sarl announced the transfer of the 2014 d’EURO MINERAL & EURO GEM to COLMAR in order to bring the event in line with current regulations. In October, pushed to leave by the Town of Ste-Marie-aux-Mines, we found ourselves obliged to accelerate this move to June 2012.

In November 2011, the Town of Ste-Marie-aux-Mines created a competing event, financed with government funds. Since then, MINERAL Concepts has been victim of a large-scale disinformation campaign and iniquitous competition supported, among other things, by a pricing policy with which MINERAL Concepts sarl cannot compete.

By creating tremendous confusion regarding the image of our event as well as all among our clientele using derogatory communications, the mayor’s team succeeded in creating a considerable disturbance among our 1000 exhibitors, most of whom had previously agreed that the rightful future of the event was in Colmar.

Confronted with a difficult choice between the past success of EURO MINERAL & EURO GEM at Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines and the advantages of the move to the COLMAR Exhibition Ground, with its comfort and facilities, many exhibitors are at a loss to decide. Many hoped that some unknown element will help them decide at a later date. Others say that they planned do one last one in Sainte-Marie then move to Colmar in 2013!

_________________________________________________________________

Despite numerous email and telephone campaigns, as well as face-to-face meeting, only 450 exhibitors are registered for EURO MINERAL & EURO GEM COLMAR. Our objective of 700 exhibitors, necessary in order to hold the 2012 event in reasonable conditions, and given the overhead costs, appears to be unattainable.

We are therefore forced, with infinite regret, to cancel
the 49th edition of EURO MINERAL & EURO GEM which was to
take place June 21st to 24th at the COLMAR Exhibition Grounds.

_________________________________________________________________

After building, for 30 years, an incredible success story, and making EURO MINERAL & EURO GEM the 3rd largest such event in the world, this situation is particularly painful. I truly believe that my team and I have done excellent work that we can continue to be proud of. I bitterly regret not being able to continue our project, which we remain convinced is the only way for the event to survive and thrive in the long term.

The Town of Sainte Marie aux Mines must now face an enormous challenge: receiving you with the level of quality and comfort you expect, while respecting all current regulations.

Due to this cancellation, MINERAL Concepts is obligated to lay-off 4 full-time employees.

We hope, in the interest of the entire community, that this event will be a success.

Warmest regards,
Michel SCHWAB - Manager
and the whole MINERAL Concepts sarl team
Brigitte SCHAEFFER, Flore COTTEL, Eric JACOB, Luc SPATZ


So it seems we're back to SMaM...

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