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Luiz Menezes

Luiz Alberto Dias Menezes Filho was born in São Paulo on October 5, 1950. He graduated with a degree in Mining Engineering from the Escola Politécnica of the University of São Paolo in 1973. Among his professional activities as a mining engineer, he worked at the Jacupiranga mine as engineer in charge of the mining and stone-crushing operations (1974-1975); as engineer in charge of the apatite processing plant (1976); and as apatite production manager and supervisor in charge of the mine and of ore processing (1977-1982). In the central office of Serrana S.A. de Mineração in São Paolo (1982-1988), he was manager of the Apatite Department; manager of the Engineering and Mineral Development Division; and statutory director of Serrana S.A. de Mineração.

Luiz first began collecting minerals at the age of ten. In 1961 he founded the Clube de Ciências Campo Belo, which became the Associação Brasileira de Mineralogia in 1965 and merged in 1968 with the Associação Brasilieira de Gemologia, creating the Associação Brasileira de Gemologia e Mineralogia; Luiz held several positions in the senior management of these three groups. From 2002 to 2005 he was Chairman of the Associação Amigos do Museu de Mineralogia do Instituto de Geociências da Universidade de São Paolo.

In 1981 visited the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show for the first time. From 1982 to 1985 had a room at the Executive Inn satellite show in Tucson selling specimens of rare minerals which he had collected at the Jacupiranga mine. Finally, in 1985, he established his own part-time mineral company, Luiz Menezes Comércio e Exportação de Minerais Ltda., and quit his day job to work full-time as a mineral dealer in June 1988. Helped and encouraged by his wife Luisa, Luiz expanded the business rapidly. He first hired his cousin, Edson Endrigo, to help out at shows, and later his brother Carlos signed on. In 1992 he moved to Belo Horizonte, by which time he was selling at four major mineral shows in the United States and two in Europe every year. In 1998 Luiz and American mineral dealer Bryan Lees joined forced to created B and L Mining (BLM for short, after our names, Bryan and Luiz); they went to work at the Morro Redondo mine, searching for tourmaline, but unfortunately the productive zone of the pegmatite had already been mined out.

Luiz Menezes helped discover 12 new mineral species: almeidaite, bendadaite, carlosbarbosaite, cesarferreiraite, correianevesite, guimarãesite, lindbergite, menezesite, pauloabibite, quintainite-2H, ruifrancoite and lanthanite-(Nd). At the Jacupiranga mine in the mid-1970s he collected the type specimens of the species that would be named in his honor, menezesite, approved by the International Mineralogical Association in 2005. Menezesite is the first known naturally occurring heteropolyniobate.

Most of the minerals that Luiz sold he obtained either by self-collecting or by purchase them from local dealers, mainly in the pegmatite provinces of southeastern Brazil. His stock included large numbers of fine specimens of rutile, hematite, rutilated quartz, xenotime, and fantastic crystal groups of apatite from the Sapo mine. Quartz was his favorite mineral species.

Luiz assembled a very beautiful personal collection of Brazilian minerals; it was sold to a new museum of mineralogy in Sete Lagoas, near Belo Horizonte.

Luiz was the author of many articles on minerals, of which the most important were "The Jacupiranga Mine" (Mineralogical Record, September-October 1984); "Brazilian Beryl" (a chapter in Beryl and its Color Varieties, Lapis International #7, 2005); "The Sapo Mine" (Mineralogical Record, July-August 2009); and "Brazil's Great Apatite Localities" (a chapter in Apatite, the Great Pretender, Lithographie #17, 2013). He also provided much information on Brazilian tourmaline and beryl mines for the book Minerals & Precious Stones of Brazil (2010). His last publication was an article about his friend, Brazilian dealer and collector Álvaro Lúcio, printed in the July-August 2014 issue of the Mineralogical Record.

Luiz Menezes passed away on the morning of July 9, 2014, after a struggle with cancer that lasted ten years. His wife Luisa, his brother Carlos and his four daughters intend to continue running the business that Luiz founded.

BARTORELLI, A. and CORNEJO, C. (2010) Minerals & Precious Stones of Brazil.
BARTORELLI, A., CORNEJO, C., MELANSON, F., LEES, B., McDOUGALL, R. and MELANSON, W. (2014) Died, Luiz Alberto Dias Menezes Filho, 63. Mineralogical Record,45 (5), 500-502.
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The Mineralogical Record - Luiz Menezes Luiz Menezes (A. Bartorelli photo)
The Mineralogical Record - Luiz Menezes 39 x 57 mm; a label from Luiz Menezes personal collection
The Mineralogical Record - Luiz Menezes 40 x 57 mm
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