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Gerhard Niedermayr

Gerhard Niedermayr, longtime curator of minerals at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, was born in Vienna, Austria, on June, 16, 1941, the son of Franz and Maria Niedermayr. He studied Mineralogy, Petrography and Geology at the University of Vienna beginning in 1959, eventually writing his dissertation on the sediments of the Wienerwald-Flysch, and receiving his PhD in 1965. Beginning in 1964, while still engaged in his studies at the University, he worked half-days as a volunteer in the Department of Mineralogy and Petrography of the Natural History Museum Vienna. In December 1965 he began his civil service career at the museum as curator of the mineral and gemstone collection, and from 1980 on he was also head of the State Gem Institute. He retired in December 2006 but continued to work as a very active volunteer for the museum.

Gerhard married Lene Amden, a fellow mineral collector, in 2003. He has two children by his first wife: Michael Niedermayr (born 1966) and Susanna Niedermayr (born 1972).

During his active period and far beyond he was especially interested in Alpine and Alpine-type minerals as well as minerals from pegmatitic parageneses. In the local collector community he is also well known for his meticulous listings of new mineral discoveries in Austria. Later in his career he became an expert in gem identification, with a focus on inclusion diagnostics. His books on mineral occurrences, more than 500 scientific papers and articles in miscellaneous journals, his countless lectures and excursions have inspired a generation of professionals, mineral collectors and laymen. Often as leader of an excursion group, he visited many famous mineral localities and deposits world-wide, including occurrences in Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Namibia, Kenya, Nepal, Madagascar, Norway and Greenland, always bringing home interesting mineral specimens and gemstones for the museum´s collection. He had excellent relations with other curators, mineral dealers and collectors all over the world.

For the period 1994-2010 he was chief editor for the German collector´s magazine Mineralien-Welt. Gerhard Niedermayr was an honorary member the Austrian Mineralogical Society, a correspondent of the Geological Survey of Austria, an honorary member of the Austrian Gemmological Society and was honored by many Austrian collector´s associations. The Friends of the Natural History Museum Vienna awarded him the Golden Badge of Honor, and the National Museum in Prague decorated him with the Barrande Medal. In 1998 a new cadmium-copper-sulfate mineral from Laurium, Greece, was named niedermayrite in his honor.

Gerhard Niedermayr passed away on July, 17, 2015 after a short illness. He will be remembered by his friends and colleagues not only as a scientist and great supporter of mineral collectors, but for his good humor and cosmopolitan outlook. One of his philosophies of life was "A rolling stone gathers no moss."


HAMMER, V. M. F. (2015) [Obituary] Died, Gerhard Niedermayr. Mineralogical Record, 46 (6), 800-801.
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The Mineralogical Record - Gerhard Niedermayr
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