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Joan Abella Creus
(1968-    )

Joan Abella Creus, a gemmologist with the University of Barcelona and the Federation for European Education in Gemmology, was born in Sabadell in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, on December 13, 1968. He developed an interest in mineralogy at the age of eleven, when his father bought him a small collection of minerals. He also made the acquaintance of Joan Andrés Rovira, who became his mineralogical mentor and inspired his family to take an interest in mineral collecting as well.

In November, 1981 he attended the Expominer Show in Barcelona, an international mineral show where he came into contact with enthusiasts and professional mineralogists and dealers from around the world. The following year he took part in the show as a dealer and has continued to do so each year since then. In 1983 he took part in the Mineralexpo of Sant Celoni, the oldest show in Spain and one of the most important for mineral collectors, where prizes are awarded each year. Around the same time, Abella joined the Grup Mineralògic Català ("Mineralogical Group of Catalonia"), the leading mineral club in Spain, founded in 1975. In October 1985 he established the Club de Joves Mineralogistes de Sabadell ("Young Mineralogists Club of Sabadell"), a group of approximately 30 young men involved in various activities related to mineralogy; it was disbanded in 1989.

In 1984-1985 Abella initiated a study of the Bellmunt del Priorat mining district in the province of Tarragona, Catalonia, which culminated in his first article, "Mines de Catalunya. Bellmunt del Priorat", published in the journal Mineralogistes de Catalunya by the Grup Mineralògic Català in Barcelona in 1989. At the Mineral-Expo de Sant Celoni Show in 1985 Abella was awarded his first prize, for a beautiful galena specimen which he had self-collected in the Eugenia mine at Bellmunt del Priorat.

On October 5, 1985 Abella organized the Mineral-Expo Sabadell Show, which proved to be a big success with the public, and he was therefore entrusted to organize another four shows in that city. The following year he began collaborating on a seven-year series of articles for the Sabadell magazine Quadern, writing about subjects related to mineralogy.

In 1989 he reorganized the public mineral collection of the Unió Excursionista Sabadell (UES), which was inaugurated on February 23, 1990 by the mayor of Sabadell; the new collection was christened the "Miquel Crusafont Museum" in honor of a celebrated paleontologist from Sabadell. For the next three years he also collaborated with the UES to organize excursions to various mineral deposits in Catalonia and published a series of articles in their magazine under the general heading of "The Mineral Kingdom." In 1994 Abella co-authored Minerales y Piedras Preciosas ("Minerals and Precious Stones"), published in Madrid.

Abella is a tax consultant by profession, but his principal interests is the study of mineralogy, especially the minerals Catalonia, and also collecting books on mineralogy and minerals, with a special preference for the native elements. His many field studies at various mineral deposits have resulted in the discovery of several species new to Spain; articles on these finds have appeared primarily in Mineralogistes de Catalunya, including:

--"Noves dades mineralògiques a Catalunya (1991-1992)" (New mineralogical information in Catalonia (1991-1992) vol. V nº7 year XVI july 1992.
--"Paragènesi singular a la mina "Linda Mariquita" El Molar Tarragona" (Paragenesis singular at the Linda Mariquita mine from molar Tarragona) Vol. VII n º 1 1997.
--"Mina la Cresta, Bellmunt del Priorat" (La Cresta mines, Bellmunt del Priorat) Vol. VIII nº1 2000.
--"La mina Balcoll de Falset" (The Balcoll mines of Falset) Vol. II nº7 2005.

Also an article published in Bocamina magazine:
--"Bellmunt del Priorat, un Yacimiento Histórico en Cataluña" (Bellmunt del Priorat, a Historical Deposit in Catalonia) n º 7 April, 2001.

--"La Zona Minera del Molar-Bellmunt-Falset: les explotacions de Coure, Plom i Plata i els interessos comercials fenicis al Baix Ebre" (The Mining Zone of the Molar-Bellmunt-Falset: the developments of copper, lead and silver and the commercial Phoenician interests in under Ebro) was published with archaeology instructor Núria Rafel in the Revista de Arqueologia de Ponent (Ponent's Archaeology Magazine), n º 13 2003.

Abella has also collaborated on various mineralogy books including:

--Atles d'Associacions minerals en làmina Prima (Atlas of Mineral Associations in Thin Sheets) by Professor Joan Carles Melgarejo (Edicions Universitat of Barcelona, 1997).
--Minerales de España ("Minerals of Spain") by Joaquín Mollfulleda (Edicions Carroggio, Barcelona, 1999).
--Minerales y Minas de España (Minerals and Mines of Spain) with Miguel Calvo, Diputación Foral de Àlaba, 2003.
--Els Minerals de Catalunya (The minerals of Catalonia) with Eugeni Bareche, Grup Mineralògic Català 2005
-- And as co-author (with Professor Joan Carles Melgarejo of the University of Barcelona) of a book on the mines and the minerals of the Priorat area, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain (currently in press).

Several specimens collected by Abella have won prizes at the Sant Celoni mineral show in Barcelona, including:

--Best Specimen (1985) for a galena from Bellmunt del Priorat, Tarragona.
--Best specimen (1999) for a native Silver from the Balcoll mine at Falset, Tarragona.
--Best specimen (2000) for an acanthite from the Balcoll mine.
--Best specimen (2005) for a gem-quality inesite from Gualba's mines, Barcelona, Spain.
--Best specimen (2006) for a magnificent millerite from the Eugenia mine, Bellmunt del Priorat.
--Best specimen (2008) for a falena from Bellmunt del Priorat.
--Best specimen (2009) for a čejkaite from the Eureka mine at La Torre de Cabdella, Lleida, Spain. Only the second known occurrence of this species in the world.

Abella's best find of all is probably the native silver from the Balcoll mine at Falset, Tarragona. It is among the finest silver specimens ever found in Spain. The earliest records of the exploitation of this mine go back to the 14th century; Balcoll silver was minted into coins in Barcelona.

In February 2008, at the Sants mineral show in Barcelona, Joan Abella Creus debuted his newest book, Minerals i Mines de la conca minera de Bellmunt del Priorat (Minerals and mines of the mining basin of Bellmunt del Priorat), a unique work on a Catalonian locality never before described. It consists of three parts: the first is a well-illustrated discussion of the history of mining in the area from the proto-Iberian epoch to the present day. The second part describes most of the important mines as well as the beneficiation methods used. The third part is a description of the minerals that have been found there, accompanied by 100 specimen photos of minerals from his collection.

In 2008 Abella created a blog dedicated exclusively to mineralogy: "Minerals Abella",
It includes the article "Plata antropogénica?" (Anthropogenic silvers?) , describing how acanthite specimens can be used to create man-made wire silver specimens. That article was translated immediately into several other languages.

One of Abella's most significant contributions has been to increase the knowledge of the natural mineralogical patrimony of his country, by having found, analyzed and published information about a variety of mineral species that had not previously been known from Spain. Examples include xanthoconite from the Balcoll mine in Falset, Tarragona, hopeïte from the La Cresta mine at Bellmunt del Priorat, natronambulite from the Joaquina 1ª mine at Bellmunt del Priorat, arsenuranylite from the Eureka mine at La Torre de Cabdella, Lleida, Spain, and čejkaite from the Eureka mine at La Torre de Cabdella, Lleida, Spain.

In 2015 the IMA approved the new mineral species Abellaite, discovered in the Eureka mine, Castell-estaó, La Torre de Cabdella in Catalonia, Spain, by Joan Abella i Creus and named in his honor. It is the first new mineral species discovered in Catalonia.
Joan Abella Creus can be contacted by email at:

And he has a blog at: ______________________________________

Ibáñez-Insa, J., Elvira, J.J., Oriols, N., Llovet, X. and Viñals, J. (2016) Abellaite, IMA 2014-111. CNMNC Newsletter No. 29, February 2016, page 200; Mineralogical Magazine, 80, 199–205.
"Persones d'ahir i d'Avui" (Today and yesterday persons) Hierro, Cusco, Gamell, 2008, fundació Ars, Sabadell.
"Casa meva és casa Vostra" (My house is your house), Josep Gamell, 2009, Vallesana de Publicaciones, Sabadell.
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The Mineralogical Record - Joan Abella Creus Joan Abella i Creus
The Mineralogical Record - Joan Abella Creus Native silver from the Balcoll mine, Falset, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain; 3.9 x 2.8 cm.
The Mineralogical Record - Joan Abella Creus Joan Abella i Creus (left) with eminent oncologist and mineral collector Joan Massagué i Solé.
The Mineralogical Record - Joan Abella Creus Native silver from Branndorf, Freiberg, Saxony, Germany 7.1 x 4.7 x 2 cm. Ex Wallace Mann Collection.
The Mineralogical Record - Joan Abella Creus
The Mineralogical Record - Joan Abella Creus 45 x 66 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Joan Abella Creus Copper, 8.2 cm, from the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan. Ex Uli Burchard Collection.
The Mineralogical Record - Joan Abella Creus Abellite, 1.5-mm view, from the Eureka mine, Castell-estaó, La Torre de Cabdella, Catalonia, Spain (the type locality). J. Abella collection; photo by Matteo Chinellato
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