Hello everyone! My name is Sandro. I was born in Rome where I live with my delightful wife (Ambra) and two wonderful daughters (Aurora and Ilaria). I'm an aeronautical engineer and work in the field of technical and scientific research. For ten years I was employed at CIRA (the Italian Aerospace Research Centre), where I took part in several international projects on Aeroacoustics (in particular, the noise prediction from helicopter rotors and aeronautical propellers). Then, in 2001, I moved to INSEAN (the Italian Ship Model Basin), focusing my research activities on both Hydroacoustics and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics). But I don't want to be too much tedious...
My interest in minerals started when I was only fourteen and became a real passion exactly in the summer of 1980, during a holiday in the Aosta Valley, in the heart of the Italian Alps. In that occasion, I met an old and expert collector (Nazzareno), who introduced me to the "true" collecting of minerals. He had a collection of more than 2500 specimens and made me aware of the real beauty and meaning of the minerals' world. First of all, Nazzareno was a researcher. He knew very well "his" loved mountains and had the opportunity of going in search for aesthetic and stunning alpine specimens day-to-day, in a lot of famous and classic localities which simply represent the history of the Italian (and probably Worldwide) Mineralogy. To my knowledge, he was one of the first to find gold in the Valley (I remember he had an old framed feature story from a local newspaper, reporting his original findings) and traded hundreds of specimens with many French dealers and collectors, living beyond the frontier between Italy and France. Thus, he had specimens from all over the world and a great knowledge of minerals. Above all, however, Nazzareno was a good man. He died by cancer in the 90's and I'll be always grateful to him for his kind friendship and his capability of injecting into me such a great enthusiasm for minerals.
I really think to feel love for minerals means to be lucky, because this feeling make a man richer from an inner viewpoint. To me such a luck was double, since the
minerals gave me the opportunity to find two very close friends.
I met Maurizio just at a Mineral Show in Rome when I was only nineteen and I was there as an exhibitor for the first time, We were in tune right away. His kindness and helpfullness impressed me, as well as our natural, total agreement on practically any matter! Also about minerals we had exactly the same taste: miniature size, isolated crystals on matrix, absence of any damage. We were always in competition to find some specimen for our own collections ...and, since then, this matter is not changed at all!. For a long time, Maurizio and I met only at the yearly Mineral Show in Rome, but after some years we began to see each other rather often, far from minerals and with our wives. At present, we all share many interests and take any chance to spend time together... This marvelous friendship is very important to me.
It was Maurizio to introduce Stefano to me. He is a famous freelancer in the field of Architecture and a real hard-working. If necessary, he can even work twelve hours a day! And the only way to distract his attention from work is... to talk about minerals! Other than professional qualities, however, Stefano has deep human gifts: he is very open-hearted and always available to share his happiness with you, especially if you need it. Moreover, his wild enthusiasm for minerals is all-involving! I believe I was very lucky to meet him...
Both these friendships have somehow improved my feeling and awareness of collecting minerals, insomuch as I suspect my own collection would make no sense now, without the possibility of sharing my pleasure with Maurizio and Stefano. As if they were become a part of my collection itself. No doubt, the most important and loved specimens!
During more than 30 years, my love for minerals have been giving the opportunity of meeting a lot of nice and often energizing people. Surely I can't list here everyone, but some
exception should be done... First of all, my dear friend Vincenzo (in the picture on the left).
He is the President of the Gruppo Mineralogico Romano, (the Roman Mineralogical Group) a no-profit and cultural association whose main aim is to promote
the scientific and collectible interest on minerals.
Thanks to his continuos and generous effort (and those of his co-workers) every year in Rome we have an exciting Mineral Show, which involves hundreds of dealers and collectors.
The show always takes place in the first week-end of December and draws the attention of thousands of visitors and fans. It is the most important show in Italy after the
well-known Bologna Mineral Show (usually occurring in the second half of March) and in the last years has certainly become a point of reference in the context of the national
initiatives concerning both minerals and fossiles. All dealers and collectors should be very grateful to Vincenzo and the whole Roman Group for their activity. Nowadays, I don't know
many people available to hardly work for others and for some emotional aim, without thinking of money...
Another person I've no doubt to include in this list of mineralogical relevant people is Josef Kirchler. I knew him at the end of the 80's, during my first trip to the Aurina Valley, in the border region between Italy and Austria. Actually, I cannot define Josef as a real friend of mine. We live too far from each other and I cannot talk of a true friendship, even though I often met him and any time I've the opportunity to reach that lovely region in the north of Italy I try to see him (the right photo shows -from left to right- Stefano, Josef and I, in 2005). So, why am I talking about him ? Well... I can assure I've seen a lot of collections in my life (starting from the marvelous, original one of Nazzareno) and nowadays the Web gives the chance of looking at wonderful specimens from important museums and private collections too. However... believe me! Josef has probably the most extraordinary and stunning collection of alpine specimens all over the world! For more than 40 years he searched for minerals in a wide area of italian and austrian alps, by joining his love for crystals with his deep knowledge of mountains and capabilities as a rock-climber. The result is not as an astonishing collection, as rather "the collection" of alpine specimens. There, you can see crystals you couldn't even imagine in your best dreams! Moreover, Josef has realized an out-and-out private museum (open to the public) where you can enjoy most of his incredible minerals through some displays and lights which could make turning pale any Mineralogical museum. The proof of the pudding! ...Thank you Josef for providing us with the opportunity to admire the most incredible treasures of the earth!
In the relevant group of acquaintances and friends I've found through my love for crystals, I cannot forget Fabio and Paolo (on the left and on the right, respectively, in the picture below), two researchers living in the area around Rome, who for a long time contribute to keep the level of many national and international Mineral Shows at the top through their presence and professionality. Both of them graduated in Geology at the University of Rome, have a deep knowledge of the world of minerals and in particular the rare specimens coming from Lazio (a region in the centre of Italy), where in the past Paolo even discovered and identified a new species: the Stoppanite. Their scientific interest urged them to collect in a sistematic way Oxides (Paolo) and Nesosilicates (Fabio) and to organize a lot of different research campaigns, both in Italy (the Elba island, Monviso and Adamello on the Alps) and all over the world (China, Vietnam, Morocco, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Congo). In those occasions, they realized geophysical prospectings and sometime financed some dig activities just aimed at finding specimens for collectors. It is not a case if many minerals entering the collection during the last ten years come from this sinergistic and very nice couple of friends.
I've to point out some aspects of this website. Its main aim is simply to provide all the other collectors (or anyone interested in minerals) with the pleasure to look at my loved specimens. I really believe that such an emotion should be shared anyway with other people, just as any other emotion which makes our life worthy to be lived! I spent a long time to achieve this result, which could be probably improved under many and different points of view. I've never been a web designer, and I've no specific experience in HTML, Java, ASP or any other element I used in these pages. Then, be patient if something will not work perfectly! Furthermore, I'm not a professional photographer and all the pictures you can see here derive from an home-made work realized in my (very limited) free-time. They could be probably done better... but I do my best! Last but not least, I'm aware my English is very poor and no doubt many errors will affect the pages of the site. The only use of the Italian language, however, would have limited the dissemination of the site in a unacceptable way. Then I thought it was worth trying anyway!
As I've already said, this site has been conceived and realized for anyone interested in minerals, to share the pleasure of looking at my collection. Thus, I'll be happy to receive any comment, advice, suggestion from who will enjoy visiting these web pages. You can contact me in the following way:
Telephone: 0039 347 6151536
Fax: 0039 06 5142135