Fans of aesthetic mineralogy will no doubt recall the beautiful book on the Smale collection published in 2006. Now we have a second volume about the collection that is even more spectacular (if that is possible) than the first.
The book begins with a brief but interesting autobiographical preface by Smale in which he recounts his sailing adventures and his travels and residences in places like Brazil, Pakistan and China—sources of many of his finest specimens. Then comes a section depicting the specimens that have previously been shown in his Mineralogical Record “ads” over the years (not really “ads” but what we call “featured collection pages” where collectors share their favorite specimens with readers one at a time—like a slow-motion article). But the page size is larger and the images are all presented full-page size with only a half-inch of space at the bottom for the caption data and historical provenance information. The large size allows the reader to really get up close and personal with these specimens, easily studying every surface detail.
Of course he has acquired many specimens not yet shown in his Mineralogical Record pages, and a selection of those comes next.
There is not much point in raving on endlessly about these specimens, as all are of the highest caliber, but they include numerous limpid blue aquamarines, a big Tsumeb azurite, crystalline golds, coppers and Kongsberg silvers, delicious tourmalines, a Sweet Home rhodochrosite with a purple fluorite perched on top like a cherry, a breathtaking N’Chwaning rhodochrosite, a glowing Little 3 mine spessartine on white albite, a Schlema proustite crystal cluster, a Saramenha euclase crystal, an iconic Tsumeb wulfenite, and numerous specimens from his “Chinese Virtual Museum,” to mentioning only a few—164 in all.
Publisher Gloria Staebler of Lithographie, Ltd. must be congratulated for the first-class production quality. The book has a sewn hardcover binding with a cloth spine and a cover photo showing a jeremejevite crystal group. The paper stock is smooth, heavy and elegant, and the color reproduction of Jeff Scovil’s photographs is excellent—all at a remarkable bargain price.
For those building a reference library documenting the elite mineral specimens of our day, this book has to be acquired.