Smithsonite, or zinc carbonate, is a favorite among mineral collectors for its range of pleasing colors and often well-developed, botryoidal form. Most collectors agree that smithsonite’s most striking color is the saturated, robin’s-egg blue of the lustrous, translucent specimens from Magdalena, New Mexico.
Smithsonite is also interesting for its unusual historical connection, which is rooted in “calamine,” a mineral that scientists initially believed to be zinc oxide. But in 1803, English chemist James Smithson demonstrated that calamine was actually a mix of three zinc minerals—an oxide, a carbonate, and a silicate. Smithson’s success in chemically differentiating oxide and carbonate minerals was a major advancement in qualitative mineralogy. In 1832, calamine’s zinc-carbonate component was formally named “smithsonite” in his honor. But Smithson’s legacy was destined to go much further.
James Smithson was born in France in 1765 as James Lewis Macie, the illegitimate and unacknowledged son of British subject Hugh Smithson, the first Duke of Northumberland. Smithson eventually adopted his father’s name, became a naturalized British citizen, and in 1786 earned a degree in chemistry from Pembroke College (University of Oxford).
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Volcanoes and Emeralds
I've had the privilege to give lectures worldwide at shows, club meetings and retreats. I've also done videos and DVDs including Russian Gem Treasures, shot in Russia and another associated with the Smithsonian about American gem mines.
THE MAGIC OF MARBLE
Sculptors and architects have an abundance of natural stone materials to choose from alabaster, travertine, granite, limestone and soapstone to name a few. But one medium has always stood out - marble. For the last 2,500 years, marble has been chosen for many of the greatest works of sculpture and architecture, from the Parthenon of Classical Greece to Michelangelo's Pietà and Washington D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial.
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The Silver of POTOSI
Triumph, Tragedy & El Tío
CURVED RIDGES SHAPED TIPS
Complex carving with curved ridges and shaped tips can be daunting.
Many of the digging locations for this marcasite are on private property. It was allowed at one point to collect with the owner's permission, but a few rockhounds ruined it for the rest by trespassing, trampling newly-grown crops, and opening and closing gates not allowing cattle to get to their water sources. As a result, this material hasn’t been dug for a few decades.”
From Gems to Fossils, Dig Them at Home
ON THE ROAD WITH THAT CAMPING COUPLE
The Pleasures and Perils of Competitive Exhibiting
Competitive exhibiting offers lots of opportunities to earn awards through venues like club shows, county fairs, trade shows and Federation shows. Since 1995, I've been involved in competitive exhibiting from three perspectives: administering, judging and exhibiting. Here are my suggestions for best practices.
ULTIMATE Gift Guide FOR ROCKHOUNDS
What to Buy for the Rock Lover in Your Life
FOSSIL LEAVES MAY REVEAL CLIMATE IN LAST ERA OF DINOSAURS
Richard Barclay opens a metal drawer in archives of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum containing fossils that are nearly 100 million years old. Despite their age, these rocks aren’t fragile. The geologist and botanist handles them with casual ease, placing one in his palm for closer examination.
THE DROP WITH STEVE AOKI
We're sure that we have all been listening to a lot more music as we have navigated these past few months as it's a way to transport ourselves to another level even when our environment may look way to familiar at this point.
Ants in Action
A world behind glass at the National Zoo
Take Fresh Peaches To a Whole New Level
In probing the relationship between humans and nature, two major exhibitions question the very foundations of design practice.
Everett Raymond Kinstler: An Artist's Artist
On May 26, beloved portrait painter Everett Raymond Kinstler passed away peacefully in Bridgeport, Connecticut, surrounded by family and friends.
'எங்களாலும் பறக்க முடியும்' பகுதி - 11
LINDSEY ADELMAN - Evolving the craft of lighting
New York based Lindsey Adelman has long been obsessed with illumination in all its forms. Her work treads the porous border between sculpture and design - taking inspiration from such diverse sources as Eva Hesse’s Rope sculptures, the pattern, colours, and bodily ornamentation of The Maasaiand the films of David Lynch.
WONDER WOMAN 1984 12A
back in time NO MORE WAITING FOR GADOT…
Mono Material Demand in Food Packaging
Global flexible packaging and lidding films supplier KM Packaging is meeting the demand for mono-material food packaging with mono polymer structure lidding films.