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Leite, Luis (1942-1999 )

Luis "Louie" Antonio Bravi Teixeira Leite, prominent Portuguese mineral dealer, was born July 5, 1942 in Lisbon, Portugal, the son of José Rodrigues and Gloria de Jesus Bravo Teixeira Leite. A small mineral collection given to him when he was 12 years old kindled his interest in mineralogy. In 1959 his family moved to Lourenço Marques, the capital of Mozambique (at that time known as Portuguese East Africa, a province of Portugal until achieving independence in 1975). There he completed high school, and went on to study paleontology and archeology at the Museum of Science in Livingstone, Zambia. During eight years spent primarily in Mozambique he worked variously as a professional alligator hunter and safari guide, a mud-logger for Gulf Oil Company, a geological assistant at Dr. Alvaro de Castro's museum in Lourenço Marques, as curator of the mineralogical museum in Lourenço Marques, and as archeological assistant at the Instituto de Investigação Cientifica de Moçambique.

Luis moved to Pretoria, South Africa in 1968, where he opened a mineral specimen business called Mara Gems and Minerals (named after his wife, Mara Prinsloo, whom he had married in 1967). He traveled extensively on mineral collecting trips through Rhodesia, Zambia, Angola, Morocco, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and especially Brazil and South-West Africa (later renamed Namibia) where he stopped regularly to buy minerals from the Tsumeb mine. One mineral which he recognized as new was named leiteite in his honor in 1977.

In 1976 he returned to Portugal and eventually opened a restaurant called the Vila Real de Santo António in Lisbon (1979-1982), then established a mineral shop in Lisbon (1983-1985), a business dealing in rare postage stamps, and a big-game park (1992-1996). He also served as honorary curator of minerals at Lisbon's Museu de Faculdade de Ciencias. He remained a dealer in minerals after the closure of his Lisbon shop in 1985, and was a regular dealer in Tucson during the annual mineral show, operating first out of the Desert Inn and later out of the Executive Inn until shortly before his death. He had an eye for color, and his stock was always heavy in attractive, well-crystallized colorful minerals. He died on March 2, 1999 in Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil and was buried in the mineral trading center of Governador Valadares in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. During his lifetime he assembled and sold at least three personal collections of fine minerals, the most recent of which was bought by the Australian collector Albert Chapman.
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WILSON, Wendell E. 2022
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at

Luis Leite

41 x 58 mm,
317 Central Street, Pretoria address (1968-1976)

47 x 57 mm,
315 Central House address (1968-1976)

36 x 54 mm,
315 Central House address (1968-1976)

36 x 54 mm,
315 Central House address (1968-1976)

16 x 33 mm,
315 Central House address (1968-1976)

36 x 78 mm,
A label for a specimen from Leite’s personal collection.

41 x 56 mm,
“Vila Real de Santo António” label from Leite’s store in Lisbon (1983-1985).