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Victor von Zepharovich

Victor Leopold von Zepharovich, prominent Austrian mineralogist and author, was born in Vienna on April 13, 1830, the son of Daniel Ritter von Zepharovich, Court Secretary at the Imperial Ministry of Finance. He enrolled at the University of Vienna in 1848 to study Law, but his interest in mineralogy led him to attend lectures in that subject by Wilhelm Haidinger, and after two years he abandoned his study of Law and enrolled at the Schemnitz Mining Academy. Graduating in 1851, he returned to Vienna and served at first as a volunteer working with the Imperial Mineral Cabinet, but soon joined the Royal Imperial Geological Institute (K. K. Geologische Reichanstalt) as a geologist working under Haidinger. That position lasted until 1857, when he joined the faculty at Krakow University in Poland as Professor of Mineralogy. In 1861 he transferred to the University of Graz, Austria as Professor of Mineralogy, where he helped found the Styrian Natural History Club. In 1864 he moved to Prague and joined the faculty of Charles Ferdinand University, where he again was Professor of Mineralogy; finding Prague to his liking, he remained there until his death on February 24, 1890, at the age of 59.

While in Prague Zepharovich revised, enlarged and arranged the University's mineral collecting according to Dana's System of Mineralogy. Under his management the collection grew to include over 10,000 specimens and 3,300 crystal models. (The collection is now held at Charles University in Prague.)

During his career Zepharovich published over 100 papers on mineralogy and 22 on crystallography; he described seven new species (two of which remain valid today: diaphorite and syngenite). His largest and most important work was the three-volume Mineralogisches Lexicon für das Kaiserthum Österreich (vol. 1 in 1858, volume 2 in 1873, and volume 3 posthumously in 1893), still a valuable reference work on all of the then-known minerals in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and their respective localities. He was given the title of Oberbergrath in 1866, and Hofrath in 1883, apparently allowing him to use the honoric "Ritter" (equivalent of "Sir" in England). His student, Emanuel Bořickı, named zepharovichite in his honor in 1869, but it was later discredited as wavellite.

KORBEL, P. (1990) The 100th anniversary of the death of Victor Leopold von Zepharovich. Abhandlung Geol. B.-A., 49, 159-161.
American Journal of Science: 3rd Series, 46 (1893), 482.
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Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Victor von Zepharovich Victor von Zepharovich
The Mineralogical Record - Victor von Zepharovich 82 x 83 mm,
Label from the Royal Imperial Geological Institute in Vienna, where Zepharovich worked from 1851 to 1857.
The Mineralogical Record - Victor von Zepharovich 79 x 107 mm,
Label from the University of Graz (the "Joanneum") where Zepharovich worked from 1861 to 1864
The Mineralogical Record - Victor von Zepharovich
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