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Book Review: Collector's Guide to the Balmat Mining District

This past March saw the release of a new book, titled "Collector's Guide to the Balmat Mining District." The book provides comprehensive coverage of the Balmat District, which includes Edwards and Fowler, in upstate New York. This district is one of the most famous mineral-producing regions in all of New York State, having produced exceptional minerals since the mid-1800s. The district is located in the far-northern part of the state, near the Canadian border.

The book, published by Schiffer Publishing, is authored by several experts in New York State Minerals: Steven C. Chamberlain, Marian V. Lupulescu, David G. Bailey, William F. deLorraine, and George W. Robinson. It starts with a history of the talc and zinc mining of the district, then explains the geology of the region, and then proceeds to discuss the individual minerals of the deposit, which is the bulk of the book's contents.

Some of more noteworthy minerals this district is famous for include Calcite, Lazurite, Magnetite (in rare cubic crystals), Phlogopite, Pyrite, Sphalerite (in fully transparent examples), and Tremolite (especially the Hexagonite variety).

This book provides the most comprehensive coverage of this famous mining district. Aside from its rich and detailed background and history of the district, it also provides many quality photos with a good selection covering all the important minerals in different habits. It is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in New York State minerals, especially the upstate region of the Adirondacks.

Mineral Explorers: Complete Second Season

I recently watched the second season of Mineral Explorers, a television documentary of mineral exploration and inside glimpses to to the mineral and gemstone hobby. The second season is now available in a three-disc DVD set consisting of seven episodes. The series is produced and narrated by mineral dealer Thomas Nagin, the owner of Crystal Springs Mining and Jewelry Co. The footage of this series is sharp, information, and well-done. In addition to providing a glimpse at the specimen mining operations at some of the mines, it also provides excellent footage of three dimensions mineral close-ups of quality mineral specimens.

Mineral Explorers fills an important void in mineral education, by providing an interactive presentation of important mineral discoveries. It provides the ability for those interested in the hobby, especially children, to develop an appreciation of how minerals are mined and brought the market.

The first DVD in the set includes the Peruvian localities of Mundo Nuevo and Pasto Bueno, both high up in the Andes. Mundo Nuevo is well-known for its large and splendent Pyrite crystals associated with Quartz, and Pasto Bueno produces Rhodochrosite and tungsten minerals.

The second DVD delves more into the mineral hobby, featuring stories from the road, and some background on the great Tucson show and Arizona copper minerals. There is also an episode on Southern California, documenting some of the famous gem pegmatites of the region and visiting some renowned collectors.

The third DVD is on Spain and Portugal, with an episode going behind the scenes at the the most famous Pyrite locality in the world, The Mina La Rioja in Navajun, Spain. This locality produces the perfectly shaped cubic type of Pyrite well-known by all collectors, and the footage show how these incredible crystals are found and pulled out of the ground. The episode on Portugal concerns itself with the Panasqueira Mine, one of the most important ore mines in Europe today, with a special focus on the mineral Apatite so famously produced from this mine.

Click here for a link to the official trailer for the second season on Vimeo.

Click here to order the complete DVD set of the second season.