Обложка книги


Zenz, J. Agates II. Haltern: Bode Verlag GmBH, 2009.
656 p. 24 by 28 cm, 2220 photos in colour, weight 3.5 kg.


The book is available in German and English.

Four years ago a tremendous success of Johann Zenz’s «Agates» (see Mineralogical Almanac 10/2006) induced an «agate boom» that was followed by an «update» – «Agates-II», the 656-pages volume also considerable and beautiful. The new book is noticeably refreshed by the scientists’ and collectors’ personalities’ data, and also it contains plenty of additional new information. The head of the publishing house Rainer Bode designed the book and is an author of many photographs.

This time Johann Zenz started with the problem of agate origin, however notified in advance that he will only describe agates from gas bubbles in igneous rocks. What happens between gas bubble and agate amygdaloid formations? After considered in general the modern ideas on silica sources, methods of its transportation into agate chambers and prechalcedony silica forms, the author concludes that «the answer is the following: scientific world does not know how an agate is formed». It was also summarised to the point: «If the problem of genesis will be solved some day, then the scientists should fill the gaps in what is known as scientific method».

Then the author introduces the readers to 50 agate collectors from Western Europe, USA, Argentina, RSA, Morocco, Poland, Bulgaria, and Japan. These articles are as well interesting as the agate photographs illustrating. Many collectors developed a strong interest in agates in their early years, and some of them turned to agates when there was no place to dig for other minerals left in Europe. It is interesting that the collections are tent to be limited by 300 or 500 samples: the collecting process comes down to not expansion of a collection but to its renewal. Among the agate collectors there are professional geologists and mineralogists, writing articles and collaborating with museums and scientific institutions.

Next chapter is devoted to the centuries-long history of lapidary art in picturesque Idar-Oberstein, where since the times of sway of Rome rough semiprecious stones were simply collected on a roadside and sent to Rome for processing.

In Idar-Oberstein they worked both with agates and jasper. The book contains the «jasper» chapter, and also flint is considered here. The ambiguous term «jasper» is discussed in detail. The quotation by Raphael E. Liesegang is interesting: «The problem with jasper is extremely difficult because this term can also refer to absolutely genetically different to agates, material. It is supposed to be a mineral occurred due to vitrification of a sediment rock affected by magma.».

The most extensive part of the book is dedicated to agates and agate deposits. This, in fact, is an update of «Agate-I». A number of new, never mentioned before, agate localities were added; specifically agates from Greenland and Antarctica were first described here. Two pages with Russian agates contain quite a few localities including Golutvin and Staraya Sitnya; however all the data obtained from the western literature are rather insufficient, and there are only three photographs. (However, there is another image of a «tubular agate from Dalnegorsk» – actually cross-cut pseudostalactitebearing agate from Sergeevskoye deposit, on p. 158). And this is our fault: there are not enough publications on Russian agates; and agate specimens, usually inadmissible fractured, are rather rare at the western mineral shows.

The topical agate genesis problem was assigned a special place in the part «Agates with inclusions» written and illustrated by Pat MacMahan (Arizona, USA). In particular, there were mentioned membrane threads in agates. However, chalcedony specimens – «angel wings» (p. 521) which look like pseudo stalactites overgrown on such threads, are described as formed due to silica sedimentation in geysers. At the same time these chalcedony pseudostalactites are present on a number of images in this book, however agates containing them are described as «tubular», «plume» etc. Despite denoted tendency to genetic interpretations, the general approach to the «agates with inclusions» was reduced to the limited description of their structural features.

The final chapters are devoted to rather spectacular agate images in UV light and landscape «agate pictures».

The photographs of agates and lapidary pieces are excellent. Design and printing are supreme. The book is highly recommended to all collectors particularly to agate fans.

Boris Kantor




Marco E. Ciriotti, Lorenza Fascia, Marco Pasero. Italian Type Minerals.

Pisa: Plus-Pisa university press, 2009, 357 pp.



Good news for all the mineralogists and collectors: the numbers of the books devoted to the minerals first discovered in one or another country have grown.

After the fundamental publications on the mineral species of the former USSR, Canada and Switzerland it is the turn of Italy to tell more about its rich mineralogical heritage – thanks to the newly-published book by a triumvirate of authors: President of Italian Micromineralogical Association, systematic collector Marco Ciriotti and professional mineralogists Lorenza Fascio and Marco Pasero.

The team of the authors fulfilled a huge amount of work collecting different sorts of material, and organizing its uniformity and systematization. As a result the detailed review on all the 264 minerals discovered on the territory of Italy since 1546 until 2008, and also on 28 mineral species first discovered in other countries but named after Italians and after Italian regions and Institutes, was published.

The authors of the new book did not try to reinvent the wheel, and used the Swiss model to structure their work in a similar fashion to Philippe Roth’s book on the minerals first discovered in Switzerland and named after Swiss Individuals (Roth Ph. Minerals First Discovered in Switzerland and Minerals Named after Swiss Individuals, 2007). This is a case when following a format is appropriate – the common structure of reviews of this sort is helpful to the readers The short preface contains a glossary of terms (“mineral species”, “type locality”, “holotype”/”type specimen” etc.), guidance on “how-to-read-this-book”, information on the mineral first discoveries distribution in the world (the absolute number and number per square unit of each country). In particular, the authors inform with pride that Italy takes 4th place after the USA, Russia and Germany by the new mineral discoveries and 3rd place after Switzerland and the Czech Republic by their concentration per square unit.

Here, in short, are described the minerals that could have been included in this review but were excluded because they represent complex cases concerning the uncertainty or impossibility of determination of type locality or Italian nationality of the person after whom the mineral species was named. For example, the Grimaldi family name is extremely common in Italy, however there is not 100% proof that Frank Saverio Grimaldi, the former chemist of the American Geological Survey, after whom the mineral grimaldiite was named, was Italian; this is the reason why the authors excluded this species from the review.

Another debatable case cited by the authors relates to the type locality of ferrohexahydrite. According to them in most of the literature and Internet sources the type locality for that mineral is North-Eastern Tatarstan with reference to the 1962 paper by V.V. Vlasov and A.V. Kuznetsov (ZVMO 91, 490–492). Along with that the Italian Alfani in 1935 described this phase in Vesuvius fumaroles and named it “ferroessaidrite”; this could give Italian priority to this mineral. However, the authors during the process of writing found out that the Soviet scientists V.A. Karnitsky and O.I. Nekrasova in 1930 described ferrohexahydrite from Nikitov skoye mercury deposit. This fact convinced the authors about the “Russian” origin of ferrohexahydrite and hence the reason for excluding this mineral from the list of minerals first discovered in Italy.

We should mention, however, that Nikitovka deposit is not Russian but Ukrainian and that this deposit was mentioned in 1989 by Igor V. Pekov in his review on minerals first discovered in the former USSR (Pekov, I. Minerals first discovered on the territory of the former Soviet Union, 1998, p.84) as the type locality for ferrohexahydrite, with reference to the publication of 1930. Therefore, in our opinion, the dispute about priority presented by the Italian authors is interesting , but its “final” resolution looks a little bit strained.

The preface is followed by two substantial, informative chapters. The first chapter includes the catalogue with the detailed characteristics of 264 mineral species first discovered in Italy until the end of 2008 (i.e. to the moment of publishing).

Every mineral species description is placed on a separate page, where the readers are provided with the information on chemical formula of the mineral, its position in Strunz-Nickel classification system (9th edition), data on symmetry and unit cell param- eters. Also the detailed geographic location of the type locality, origin of the name, its official IMA status and IMA number, short description of the mineral properties and conditions of its occurrence and distribution are given. In the “Remarks”, in general, there are data on the mineral belonging to certain classes, groups of minerals and relationships with close mineral species. In the “References” there is a list of necessary literature. The next chapter on 25 mineral species first discovered in other countries but named after Italians is similarly constructed. Also there is information on the rarest mineral species named after Italian administrative units and institutions. Thus, the name “museumite” pays respect to the Museum of the University of Florence in which the specimen containing the new species was housed prior to the discovery, and also to all the museums – for their contribution towards keeping old rare specimens. Mutinaite is named after “Mutina” – Latin name for Modena town, where the scientists who discovered this mineral, worked. And finally, terranovaite was named after the Italian Antarctic station in the area of Terranova Bay, where the mineral was found.

The description of each mineral from each chapter is accompanied by various high-quality illustrations. In the majority of cases, there are colored photographs of representative samples and their beautiful aggregates; and also black-and-white SEM images. Additionally, there are pictures of the people the minerals were named after, photographs of the type localities (unfortunately, mostly of a very small format), interesting historical drawings, reproductions, crystal sketches etc. All this enrich the book, its artistic value and is simply pleasant for the readers.

However, we regret that the authors, for a few minerals, gave photographs not from the type locality and even not from Italy. There are, for ex., the photographs of cuprorivaite from Oregon, USA and bonattite from Tolbachik volcano on Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. Being aware of the fact that it is better to present the photograph of the mineral not from the type locality rather than not to give any at all, we nevertheless consider these photographs inappropriate to the general logical idea of the book. Perhaps the authors should have apply more persistence to finding specimens from the type localities and photographed them.

Also it is a pity that there is no information on the storage location of the type specimens. In all previous similar reviews this sort of data was quite important and useful part of the new minerals information.

On the other hand, a pleasant surprise was the information on the newest mineral species, prior to all, from La Fossa crater (Vulcano island), such as: adranosite, eolosite, brontesite, demicheleite-(Cl), etc. Although these minerals were approved by IMA, there are no scientific papers with their description published so far. As known, the IMA rulesdoenot appreciate the distribution of the information on the newly approved species prior to the official publication. However in this case the authors of the book obtained the permission for preliminary publication from both the authors of new species and the chairman of CNMNC IMA, because the official papers on the abovementioned minerals are in print.

The appendix in the final part of the book is quite useful. It contains data on the Strunz-Nickel classification of the minerals discovered in Italy, chronology of the mineral discoveries, distribution of the new mineral species in geographic regions of the country, and also by the authors-discoverers. It is good to mention that discovery and research of the number of Italian minerals involved contribution by Russian scientists. Thus, the new members of the cancrinite group from Sacrofano caldera – alloriite and biachellaite were described by Russian mineralogists under senior authorship of Nikita V. Chukanov.

At the end of the book there is a rather vast reference list of literature and Internet-sites.

In general, despite of the single defects mentioned above, the reviewed edition by Italian authors makes a very favorable impression. This is a complete, high-quality work that deserves all the kinds of respect. It is assumed that this book would be interesting for not only specialists but also all amateur mineralogists. For the author of this review who is, a rare in Russia, collector- systematic kind, it will surely become a handbook on Italian minerals.

Anatoly Kasatkin



Kolisnichenko, S.V., and Popov, S.A. The “Russian Brazil” in the Southern Urals.
The Minerals of the Sanarka, Kamenka, and Kabanka Watersheds. An Encyclopedia of Ural Stone (“Russkaya Brazilia” na Yuzhnom Urale). Chelyabinsk: “Sanarka”, 2008. 528 p.

565 color photos, drawings of crystals, paintings.

In Russian.



This magnificent weighty volume is the fruit of creative partnership of a scientist and a local mineral connoisseur who have been actively investigating the nature of “Russian Brazil” for many years. This mineralogical paradise, whose gold, euclase crystals, and pink and crimson topazes have always attracted prospectors, scientists and collectors, counts today at least 227 mineral species and varieties, of which 38 were first discovered there by the authors. At least 70 local minerals are of collectors’ interest; in particular, topazes of exotic colors, talc crystal aggregates, sagenite rutile, good kyanite, and rarities like seligmannite and nadorite. More than one hundred mineral occurrences and deposits have been discovered here within an area of as little as 800 square kilometers; 35 of them are described in the book.

The main part of the book (more than half) contains detailed description of minerals include information on localities, history of finds and other useful information and accompanied with a lot of photographs, crystal drawings and morphological specifications. Also book contains much other valuable information based on “Russian Brazil” history and geological structure, the origination of its name etc.; and for sure we can classify this book as a specialized encyclopedia.

At the same time, this encyclopedia has its own distinctive features, firstly, the balanced combination of texts and illustrations. It is marked by abundant photographs of local landscapes, in particular those where the mined production is a part of the landscape. There are numerous photographs of field work, which is evidently the authors’ favorite occupation. It can be seen that local amateurs and youth clubs have been also involved in the field searches. All this as well as detailed historical descriptions makes the “encyclopedia of Ural stone” also what is commonly described as “a very readable book”.

The mineral photographs are worthy of special comment. They are solid photos made in adequate perspectives, mostly with no artistic fad. The photographs taken “in situ” are especially valuable as they convey a tangible idea of the discoveries to the reader. The photograph of the huge morion crystal reclined to a birch trunk (p. 323) reflects credit on its author’s inventiveness and taste. The two photographs of wavellite specimens (pp. 254–255) taken in the same quarry show both the spherulitic structure so common for this mineral and a radial aggregate with a matrix core. Radial aggregations of beryl crystals such as that shown on p. 233 are not at all common in the mineral world.

For whom is this book intended? An encyclopedia is encyclopedia: for a specialist, it is a source of exact reference data; it may serve, too, for a first taste of the subject or its deep study. Besides, being excellently printed, this book would make an excellent gift.

Boris Kantor 


Dolgov V.S., Sereda M.S., and Kozlov A.V Mineraly Zlatoustovskogo Urala (The Minerals of the Zlatoust Urals)

Zlatoust: “FotoMir”, 2007. 207 p., 60 color photos, bibliography (148 reference).

In Russian.



The Zlatoust Urals are a mineralogical paradise. Numerous famous pits and mines are concentrated here in the picturesque South Ural taiga; the specimens from them channeled off all over the world and are now enchased in the best mineral collections and museums. Each pebble and even chips on the surface of a “trakt”, local ballast road, attracts your attention here.

The mineralogy of the Zlatoust Urals is exclusively rich and varied. It needs and deserves a full and detailed description which would include masterpieces of photographic art. The author team of this book, made up of a geologist, an experienced mineral collector, and an editor, did its best to use the book’s limited volume for short descriptions of 75 deposits, pits, mines and localities, List of 178 mineral species including localities and other short information, and to compile an names origination of local minerals. Special pages are dedicated to one notable curiosity of the Zlatoust, natural aventurine (“zlatoiskr”) and its varieties. The book also includes the history of investigation of the Zlatoust Ural that began in the seventeenth century, as well as its geological peculiarities; these sections are among the most interesting and informative ones. The authors did not withhold prominent personalities of researchers: a reader will find here short biographic sketches of 65 geologists and mineralogists from Russia and many other counries who participated in study of the Zlatoust Urals at diferent historical times.

As the result of the authors’ hard labor, a valuable summary is now available that collects much important information dispersed in numerous old publications hardly accessible now and nearly forgotten at the present time. The book is of considerable interest for specialists, collectors, naturalists, science historians and mineral amateurs. If I had such a book some decades ago when trying to make a search for the old pits, I would have been happy and much more successful.  

Boris Kantor  



Ottens, Berthold, China: Mineralien, Fundstellen, Lagerstätten (“China: Minerals, Localities, Mineral Deposit”).

München: Christian Weise Verlag & TU Bergakademie Freiberg, 2008.

550 p. 23 x 28 cm , more than 1000 color photos, bibliography of 96 titles, weight 3 kilo.

In German



The publication of American Mineral Treasures and the runaway success of this multi-authored work by the American enthusiastic team have marked the beginning of a new style of mineralogical literature. Huge and weighty tomes of excellent printing quality depicting mineral treasures of different countries have appeared rapidly. The demand for such publications is supported by those mineral amateurs who cannot afford a rich and expensive collection but are willing to pay for a beautiful and informative volume which is pleasant both to see on your shelf and hold in your own hands. A mighty feedback plays a role too: as an infrastructure element of the mineral market, good books promote the market itself. These luxurious tomes even look as if they outdare the present increasing financial and economic crisis…

Unlike the American one, the book on China has been written by a single author who also illustrated most of it. I had made acquaintance with him all the way back at MÑŒnchner Mineralientage-1990, and Ottens seemed to belong to that sort of people who enjoy presenting others with any joy. Berthold Ottens is well known now as a prominent mineralogical traveler and a serious collector, a well informed specialist in minerals of Deccan, India. He is the author of numerous publications marked with competency, novelty and the clarity of thought, qualities that ensure comfortable reading.

B. Ottens was one of the first Europeans to “open up” China. Dramatic changes have happened there during a pair of recent decades. G. Unland, the Saxonian minister of finance (and the Rector of the Bergakademie Freiberg), notes in the Preface that yet in 1980, many rickshas were still seen in the country’s capital and very few automobiles, people were dressed in the same clothing, and newspaper often replaced glass in a window. Nobody could even think of minerals… The entire world is now flooded with Chinese products from children’s toys up to cars, and each Almanac reader knows what the market of Chinese collection minerals is today. Terry Huizing gives more detailed information in his article (see Mineralogical Almanac vol. 10, 2006).

B. Ottens visited China more than forty times, and he is now an international-class expert in Chinese mineralogy. He found a mineral market in China as early as his first visits there. However, the Chinese dealers were jealous to conceal the localities of the specimens for sale or even knew nothing of them. The Chinese tradition attached no importance to the place where the mineral had been found; besides, it was felt that information about locality would destroy a certain aura or mystique, and could even be of some danger for business. As the labor became meaningless without this information, Ottens decided to gather it himself. He traveled through numerous deposits and occurrences and accomplished a real scientific feat in discovering this vast country’s exclusive mineral treasures for the world.

However, Ottens was too modest to confine the subject to minerals and deposits. An important place in his book is occupied by excellent reviews of Chinese geography and basic moments of its history. His information about the Chinese, their national and domestic traditions, of their everyday life and culture, and of those colossal changes that happened practically in front of his eyes is of great interest. He has written in detail of how the mineralogical business is being done in China today. He is well versed in these topics. It is known that Ottens is supporting one of the village schools in China. In his book, he has even made an attempt to familiarize the Western reader with some Chinese words.

In a separate section, the geological history of China and its unusually variegated geological structure are detailed.

Then, in a special section, it is developed that a distant trip is not necessary to make acquaintance with Chinese mineral treasures. Quite near, in the Freudenstein Castle, in the ancient mining capital of Freiberg, is stored the very rich mineralogical collection of Dr. Erika Pohl, an inveterate Swiss collector. It includes a special selection of 2000 top class Chinese specimens and is now at the disposal of the Freiberg Mining Academy. A short preface for this section consisting of 250 excellent photographs is written together with Dr. A. Massanek, the curator of the Mineralogical Museum of the Freiberg Mining Academy.

The largest part of the book is made up of descriptions of Chinese minerals and deposits in the alphabetical order of their names. Each description includes geographical location with a reference to the composite map at the end of the book, and a description of the local minerals and the mining industry that exists or existed here. In the Appendix, the localities’ geographical coordinates are specified.

The last part of the book is a concise and excellently illustrated “Mineralogy of China from A to Z”. In total, about 140 of the most important mineral species and 70 localities are detailed in the book.

There is even a detailed description of typical fakes, skilled as wekk as naive, of some popular minerals.

Conciseness and accuracy, the typical features of the texts by B. Ottens, apply fully to his new book. Another feature is a sort of “user-friendly interface”: the general parts are read easily and with a real pleasure, and the entire composition of the book is such that each reader would easily find there what is needed at the moment, let it be the pages about a given deposit, a geographical point, or a mineral species. The book is composed for maximal convenience in use.

There are many splendid photographs in the book, beginning with the scheelite on the cover (J. Scovil). All the photographs of the E. Pohl collection are very good. Despite the necessity of taking some pictures under ambient conditions, the many author’s photographs are excellent; as examples, the pyromorphite with a network of twinned cerussite (p. 174) and the “iron rose” with quartz crystals (p. 266) can be mentioned as being first quality, as well as many others.

The printing and layout are perfect.

The Mineralogical Almanac team congratulates Mr. Berthold Ottens and the Christian Weise Verlag on the publication of this outstanding book and recommends it for both specialists and collectors as well as for a wide circle of readers who are partial to the beauty of nature.

Boris Z. Kantor, boris_kantor@mail.ru


Bariand, Pierre, "Mémoires d'un Minéralogiste sans Frontièrs".

Saint-Julien-du-Pinet: du Piat, 2008. 144 pp. 17 x 24 cm, 200 color photos.


In French


Pierre Bariand and his wife Nelly Bariand (the author of most of the book’s photos) are well known both in professional circles and among amateurs and mineral collectors. This new book by Pierre contains his own impressions, and there are many of them, as he worked in Iran and Afghanistan, Brazil and South Africa, Mexico, United States, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece… He has made many outstanding finds of minerals including the largest known crystals of cumengeite and his scientific researches on them. P. Bariand is now the curator of the Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC) mineralogical collection in Paris, one of largest in the world. It should be specified that the UPMC is the natural science part of the whole University Paris /Sorbonne affiliated institutions. The Bariands also successfully labor also in the world-known mineralogical magazines «The Mineralogical Record», «Lapis», and «Le Règne Minéral».


«Mémoires» is a unique publication. It describes in detail the history of the UPMC mineralogical collection beginning with Napoleon’s edict establishing, in the Sorbonne, the first faculty of natural sciences in its history and where R.-J. Hauy held the chair of mineralogy, up to the present times. Searches for minerals in some of the world’s most famous deposits, research work, the Tucson mineral shows, etc. – all these are here. P. Bariand has written fascinating descriptions of his journeys to Iran, Afghanistan, Brasil etc., and his finds of wulfenite, caledonite, plattnerite, unique crystals of hydromagnesite… A considerable part of the book is dedicated to exciting stories of how the silver from Kongsberg, aquamarine from Minas Gerais, Afghan kunzite, wonderful plumose trillings of cerussite from Tsumeb, classic dolomite from Navarra, unequalled scalenohedrons of rhodochrosite from Hotazel as well as many other notable specimens, found their ways to the UPMC mineralogical collection.

The quality of printing of the publication is excellent.

This book is a rich source of both knowledge and pleasure for everyone interested in minerals, travels, history of science and museums and, surely, for the mineralogists.

Boris Z. Kantor, boris_kantor@mail.ru



Kobyashev, Yu.S., and Nikandrov S.I. The Minerals of Urals (mineral species and varieties).

Ekaterinburg: “Kvadrat” publishing house, 2007. 311 p., 120 color photos.

In Russian.  


The most its part is devoted to the inventory of 1108 mineral species and varieties known in the Urals. The international (English) names of minerals, basic chemical features (formulas, isomorphism, situations in the mineralogical systematic, contents of main components), deposits and localities, the author(s) of the first find in the Urals, dates of finds, and original names given by the first find author are introduced.

The authors have made a laborious work to match the literary sources and systematize the immense information accumulated for 300 years of studies of the Ural mineralogy, to correct and upgrade the current summaries and reports, and to eliminate numerous various readings in the mineral species nomenclature. Now this is the freshest summary information corresponding to the beginning of 2007; therefore, this inventory is a very valuable up-to-date reference source for the Ural minerals.

The second and not less interesting part of the book deals with “The Minerals First Discovered on the Urals”. The short outlines are gathered here of discovering and naming of more than 90 mineral species whose type localities are located in the Urals. A reader who takes interest in the history of mineralogy would find here a lot of new information and even surprises. For example, the authors’ studies have shown that a few minerals (vauquelenite, phenakite etc.) have been discovered in the Urals earlier than it is indicated in the authoritative “Mineralogische Tabellen” by H. Strunz. The basis of this chapter forms the material of Igor V. Pekov from his book “Minerals First Discovered on the Territory of the Former Soviet Union” (Ocean Pictures Ltd, 1998) which he gave the authors for this publication.

The third part of the book, “The Mineral Objects in the Urals”, contains information of about 200 Ural localities (deposits, mining enterprises, pits, outcrops) where not less than two mineral species were established new in the Urals. The authors included in this list also a few objects (e.g., the Kurzhunkul’ and Sokolovskoe Deposits) located beyond the Russian Federation boundaries but connected geologically with the mountain system of the Urals.

In the final part, one can find a rich reference list of 1 134 titles in Russian, German, French, and English languages.

The book is illustrated with the photographs of specimens from the V.A. Pelepenko’s private mineralogical museum who was much assisting the publication. The Pelepenko’s specimens are well known for their high quality and beauty; however, the design cannot be found the best one for such a sort of publication: the photographs are panoptic only, with shadow imitations and no backgrounds, their contrasts and color saturations are too low.

There is no doubt that the new book by Yu.S. Kobyashev and S.N. Nikandrov will be useful for specialists in mineralogy and very interesting for the mineral amateurs and collectors.  

Boris Z. Kantor, boris_kantor@mail.ru


Frishman, N.I. Ametistovyi Bereg (The Amethyst Coast).

Murmansk, St. Petersburg: “Russkaya kollektsiya”, 2007. 96 pp. 16 x 23 cm, about 200 color photos.

in Russian


In times gone by, Kola amethyst was the dream of every Soviet collector. The “Samotsvety” Ltd people determined reserves, keeping them jealously out of the hands of mineral amateurs; however, a small part of the material happened to fall to the collectors’ lot. Later, it suddenly turned out that there were a lot of good amethysts in the world, and moreover, they were not difficult to obtain at all; so the amethyst deposits of Cape Korabl’ sank into comparative oblivion. But not in Nikolai Frishman’s eyes; he, together with a group of young enthusiasts and associates, continued time and again his endeavors to reach the deposit and to study it thoroughly.

The reader will find here, as well, the detailed history of the study and exploration of the deposit, which is closely bound up with the historical peculiarities of the Russian North and the activities and way of life of the Northern countrymen, monks, and churchmen. The book contains a vivid and concise geological history of Cape Korabl’ with explanations of technical terms as well as the mineralogy of the Cape, down to the level of micro inclusions in quartz crystals.

The book by Nikolay Frishman is not at all a scientific, it has been designed as a highly readable book and it excellently fulfills this aim of being composed as a literary work with descriptions embedded of the quaint local culture and nature and the various stories from the author’s own experience.

Boris Z. Kantor, boris_kantor@mail.ru


A.A. Danilov Pietre Dure by Valerii Ryumin.

Khabarovsk: "Priamurskiye Vedomosti" Publishing House, 2007. – 64 pp., ill.


(in Russian)


The Pietre Dure technique is not very often nowadays: it is very difficult and laborious. However, today there are professional artists who make real art pieces out of gemstones. Valerii Gennadyevich Ryumin is one of them.

This Ryumin’s album contains 36 artistic works made by the Pietre Dure technique. The author used natural gems from Far East deposits. The main themes of Ryumin’s work are nature of Khabarovsk region, taiga and its wild life, the Tiger being the most popular "Hero" of his works. In the text of this book Valerii shared his skill secrets.

The book is recommended for all who is fond of gem carvings.