The awaited Bologna Mineral Show was held between the 26th and the 28th of March at the FuturShow Station of Casalecchio di Reno, very close to the town of Bologna. Long since I attend as a visitor this important show which is undoubtedly considered the most important show in Italy by all minerals fans. I have to admit that in spite of the usual presence of many well known collectors and dealers, with their impressive exhibitions (the best, in my opinion, those by Riccardo Prato and Marco Tironi), the show seems to give some clear signs of worsening. The new site in a very nice building which, however, was conceived and relized for very different events, has provided again (as in the last edition) many logistic difficulties, above all for the visitors coming out from the Bologna area. The most relevant problem, however, stands in the increased presence of trinkets and household and gift items which does not concern the world of minerals and inevitably reduces the space of the exhibitions of interest to the collectors. Then, the general feeling is about a somehow limited and doldrums show, for which the economical and logistical effort (especially for the people living far from Bologna) can become unbearable and, even worst, unjustified in the next future.

In any case, from the Bologna show I came back home with two new specimens, very fine and always appreciated among the collectors. The first one is a green tourmaline coming from the well known locality of Paprock, in Afghanistan. The specimen consists of a large crystal with a flat termination, which is 2 cm tall and is vertically placed on a rocky block, sawed on different sides (many collectors do not like this feature, but it is often very useful to suitably reduce the matrix and place the specimen in an optimal way). In spite of the relevant thickness (9 mm), the transparency and the clearness of the crystal are excellent. A very interesting (and quite uncommon) feature of this specimen is the presence of a further (polychrome) and smaller crystal, exhibiting a prismatic termination with a brilliant purple color. The piece is free of any damage and very similar, both in color and shape, to the best tourmaline I have in the collection coming from the Elba island (TO000), even though, of course, the size is very different. In conclusion, a top level specimen, which could enrich any collection.

Also the second specimen acquired at the Bologna show comes from Asia, and in particular from the Apoaligun Mine, in the well known region of Skardu, Pakistan. It is an awesome Beryl placed on a large matrix of microcline including a lot of mica elements and some opaque, very small crystal of spessartine. The position and the transparency of the beryl are perfect, as well as its flat termination and the attractiveness of the specimen as a whole. Moreover, the crystal is affected by an evident, summary cleanliness, so I expect that a further, suitable cleaning treatment should point out its own features of brightness and transparency. The crystal is 3 cm tall and exhibits a thickness of 1 cm; as already said, the matrix is quite large, but all in all well balanced and allows to classify the specimen in the range of quite large cabinets. Both these specimes have been purchased by two Asian dealers and the final prices (after an exhausting negotiation!) were quite reasonable, congruent with the market ones. Unfortunately, I visited the show during the first day: the word discount was not very well accepted by all the exhibitors and my two Asian friends were not an exception!

Concerning the prices in general, the chronic tendency to somehow overestimate the aesthetic specimens has been fully confirmed, and in some cases the quotations were simply crazy. In particular, I was shocked by a small cabinet specimen of Barite from Perý (very similat to the BA858 piece of my collection), constituted by a group of brilliant and thin crystals with a pattern like spokes radiating from a centre. Actually this was an aesthetic specimen (in my opinion not comparable, anyway, with mine), and in the past I had seen specimens like this in a range of price oscillating between the 50 and 150 euros. Well: it was priced 600 euros! Not talking about a floating crystal of Calcite from Kazakistan (same tipology as the piece CA150), priced 450 euros or a miniature (!) from Thomas Range including a very fine topaz with a pointed termination and a rather deep color, priced 520 euros! I recognize that the beauty has its own price and the dealers have to make their business, but I really believe a lot of quotations are completely unreasonable. Furthermore, the competition offered by the Web is a concrete reality and in my opinion the overestimation of some minerals (rather common on the market) appears as a loser strategy...

Besides to the two new entries coming from Bologna (which I really consider two top-level specimens), the collection was enriched by some minerals acquired through the Web. I refer to a nice specimen of Copper and an Indian Stilbite, obtained through some auctions (the first on the Wendel Minerals website - see the Links section - and the second on the well known e-bay site of Gargoti Minerals). The Copper comes from Arizone (the Ray Mine, Bisbee) and exhibits a very nice aesthetics, due to both the common tree shape and the very vivid and clear color. On the other hand, the Stilbite is really a nice specimen! It consists of a perfect, doubly terminated bow, 8.5 cm tall and vertically placed on a small matrix, coming from Aurangabad. I'm always charmed by these Indian zeolites (very common on the market and somehow snubbed by the collectors) for their relevant aesthetics and variety. In general, compared to the rarer green Apophyllites or the attractiveness of the electric blue Cavansite and Pentagonite, I agree these specimes coming from India may play a secondary role, but in some cases to pay a better attention to Stilbiti and Heulanditi too can provide you with a notable satisfaction...