Taking their cue from the various supplements published by the Mineralogical Record which have showcased the mineral collections of museums and private individuals within a particular geographic area, Brazilian specialists Carlos Cornejo and Andrea Bartorelli have assembled a remarkable set of chapters devoted to collections in Brazil — totaling an amazing 702 pages, in English (there is also a Portuguese edition).
The book begins with a Preface by the authors, then a thoroughly illustrated 66-page historical Introduction by the senior author reviewing the history of Brazilian mineralogy and the development of private and public collections in Brazil. This portion alone makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in Brazil.
Next comes the main body of the work consisting of 71 individual chapters devoted first to the collections of 27 private individuals, followed by a dozen museums, then the collections and reminiscences of seven mineralogists (including a memoir by Mineralogical Record chief editor Wendell Wilson), then a dozen chapters on various Brazilian mineral dealers, a three-chapter section on Brazilian meteorite and tektite collections, and concluding with 11 chapters on prominent gemstone cutters and jewelers. Plenty of people pictures and collecting scenes give a human backdrop to this treasury of Brazilian mineral specimens.
As might be expected, the number of superb tourmalines, beryls, brazilianites, topazes, quartzes etc. is legion — and most of them we have never gotten to see before because they are still in Brazil. There is a freshness to seeing such a huge array of specimens (over 2,000 of them), nearly all of which we haven’t seen in earlier publications. And aside from the great stories and personalities that have been a part of Brazilian mineralogy, there are also plenty of jaw-dropping rarities, even for readers who thought they had seen everything.
Take, for example, the lustrous and beautifully formed 17-cm V-twin of translucent green magnesite (from Brumado), the 3.5-cm cluster of well-formed xenotime crystals (from Novo Horizonte), the perfect 3.6-cm crystal of parisite-(La) (also from Novo Horizonte), the 2.8-cm thumbnail cluster of triangular gold crystals from Minas Gerais, the 6.9-cm crystal of tapiolite-(Fe) (from Paraiba), the 10.2-cm group of ludlamite crystals (from Amazonas), the foot-tall cluster of kyanite crystals, a 2.5-carat fancy red diamond crystal, gem euclase thumbnails (from Ouro Preto) and some beautiful clusters of Sicilian sulfur (yes, there are a few non-Brazilian specimens scattered throughout), not to mention the fabulous antiquarian library of geologist Paolo Levy, a truly incredible chapter filled with spectacular Brazilian trilobites (yes, there are a few fossils here and there as well), and some amazing Brazilian opal specimens.
At 5.5 pounds this big book will make a real dent in your chest if like to read in bed, but it’s the perfect getaway during the current pandemic to turn many, many hours of boredom into a delightful escape filled with wonderful minerals and interesting people.